There is a Home Depot within walking distance of my apartment. While I like supporting such an equality-minded business, I have a really hard time going there because every time I do, this is the experience that I have in the parking lot. Not just once, not twice. Every time. It is degrading and makes me feel like I’m running a gauntlet. Yet no one stops these men from milling around in the parking lot (and they are milling, not going to their cars or anything) and harassing any woman who walks by.
I was thinking about writing an open letter to Home Depot, but I decided to do this instead. I had the preliminary sketches for it in my notebook when Ampersand (whose comics I adore) posted a more generalized comic about street harassment, and so I sat on the idea, wondering if it was worth doing anyway. I didn’t want to seem like I was ripping off what was a really good idea. But I decided after a bit that adding to the dialogue is important no matter what, that recording these experiences is important no matter what.
I do hold businesses responsible for making sure that all of their customers have an enjoyable experience while on their property. I don’t know if this happens at any other Home Depot stores, but the experience I’ve had every time I’ve patronized this one in particular has been vile and humiliating. Just because the majority of regular customers are male does not mean a business should allow them the comfort of expressing their misogyny at the minority of female customers who shop there. Female customers will remain a minority at stores like this if their presence is not as welcome and respected as that of the male customers.