Taking your dog for a walk is an everyday task that should be enjoyable, or at least straightforward. But for women, there is a mental checklists they complete before heading out into our streets and parks, especially during winter evenings. Kelly Robinson, who runs Basic Bxtch dog treats, tells us why she’s running regular women’s-only dog walks in Blackpool.
Lead. Yep. Poo bags. Yep. Treats. Yep.
Checking the time so that you’re not out too late. Changing your normal route to make sure that you’ll be in a well-lit, ‘safe’ area. Making sure that you’ve told people at home where you are going and when to expect you back. Having your phone fully charged in case of an emergency. Tying up your hair in a style that can’t be easily grabbed. Planning a different route so as not to build up a pattern of a regular journey, to avoid any potential stalkers.
Shoes on. Coat on. Go.
Or, if you’re like me and you can’t be arsed with all that planning, you just do a quick walk up and down the street until your dog’s done a few wees and a poo, or you just stick them out in the back garden for a bit.
Reclaim Blackpool and local female-owned dog treat company BasicBxtch (known for shoving testicles onto sticks) have teamed up to create a series of women-only evening group dog walks around the Fylde Coast. We call them Good Boy! And aim to reclaim our parks in the dark with fairy lights, glow sticks, hot chocolates and cheeky treats.
People ask permission before approaching to stroke your dog, but some men still think it’s ok to go ahead and grab your pussy.
When out with your dog, your priority is to keep them safe, so you’ll often let things slide that normally you wouldn’t put up with.
Aright to be fair, that’s the extreme, and there definitely aren’t sex offenders hiding out in every bush, or kidnappers waiting along every dark alleyway, but many of us experience unwanted attention, or have that feeling of vulnerability when out alone with our dogs because attacks too happen against lone women, especially at night.
Man, woman, or in between, all dog owners know that unease when your dog does a Mr Whippy when there’s people around. You’re suddenly the star of the show, as people watch to see if you’re going to pick it up or not. For many women, you can’t even bend down without someone looking at your arse, even if it’s in two sets of leggings and a pair of gravy-stained joggers.
Amplify that strange hyperawareness, by about, I dunno, I’m rubbish at maths, but let’s say 50 times, that feeling is standard operating level for women out with their dogs alone in the evening.
When out with your dog, your priority is to keep them safe, so you’ll often let things slide that normally you wouldn’t put up with. Inappropriate comments, fellers trying to engage in unwanted conversation, or ignoring your request to not stroke your dog.
You don’t want to be impolite, cause a scene, and risk getting your dog hurt, so you put yourself at risk for a quiet, non-confrontational walk.
Even having ‘big dog privilege’ comes with its own crap. You’re ‘safe’ because you’re less likely to be approached, but then you’ll get the d*ckhead pipe up with stuff like, ‘Ooh, who’s walking who?’ which would almost never be said to a feller with the same dog.
The micro-misogyny of comments like this that are regularly made towards women, are brushed off with, “Oh I’m only joking, love”, “I’m just being friendly”, or, ‘“Cheer up, smile”.
But these teeth aren’t for smiling… this bitch bites back!
WhatsApp ‘Good Boy!’ and your name to: 07738 411891 to keep updated with future walks, All self-identifying women and non-binary babes welcome, dog-savvy kids are also welcome to come along, but anyone under 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult. Dogs are the responsibility of their people.
Main photo by Elizabeth Gomm, taken on the first Good Boy women’s dog walk in the summer.
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