Influencer Urges Women To Ditch Headphones, But Why Is The Onus Still On Us?

Women are tired of moderating their behaviour just to feel safe.

An influencer who experienced what is sadly a very common occurrence for women – being followed – has warned her followers to not do what she did.

Alyssa, who goes by @Lyss on TikTok and Instagram, had been wearing earphones and watching a video on her phone, oblivious that a man had been following her. It was only after a stranger spotted the man following Alyssa and flagged her down that Alyssa realised what happened.

In a video that’s been viewed more than 440,000 times, Alyssa says the man followed her right into her apartment building, holding something in his pocket. When the other woman got Alyssa’s attention, the man fled, and no cameras were able to capture him.

The influencer says she’s sharing the experience to warn other women to avoid wearing headphones at night, especially while walking alone.

Although the message was appreciated by some, it fell into the problematic trope of relying on women to moderate their behaviour.

@lyss

PLEASE WATCH THIS FOR YOUR SAFETY ##newyorkcity ##storytime

♬ original sound - lyss

The video follows a recent ONS survey, where one in two women said they felt unsafe walking alone after dark in a quiet street near their home. Women have in the past lamented having the onus on them to change how they live their lives in order to feel safe.

Running, especially at night, is one area where women have had to be extra vigilant and modify how, when and where they run.

So, in an effort to keep themselves safe in the small ways they can, women have shared what they do when they’re running at night.

Many women have had to change their running habits.
Nastasic via Getty Images
Many women have had to change their running habits.

Traci Coulter, 48 and based in London, advised sticking to places you know well when running solo – now is not the time to explore.

“I always have a planned route with a familiar feel to it so, I know the way back quickly and confidently,” she previously told HuffPost. “I run on roads, along the Thames and routes I know like the back of my hand. I feel safe and feel like the benefits of running outweigh any fears.”

Kate Oliver, 28, also based in London, suggested running in groups. Last winter, as evenings grew shorter, she ran with her boyfriend and friends.

“We didn’t run together, instead we had checkpoints as they were slightly faster runners,” she said. “They would wait for me at one or two agreed locations during the run, therefore if I wasn’t there, they’d know there was a problem.”

Oliver also avoids sharing details of her night runs on social media that might reveal her route, explaining: “You never ever know, and people can always see where you’re ending up.”

These things might feel like an inconvenience, but they might just keep us safe. Still, we look forward to the day when perpetrators change their behaviour – and women no longer have to.