So recently in the news a video made headlines. A woman walking around, silently, in New York is harassed more than 100 times by men of various creeds, and creepiness.
Video can be viewed here at Hollaback Awesome Street Harassment Video
Now the video does have some faults, but basically in a crude way it shows how women are treated simply walking down the street.
Video did cut out white guys making it look like men of color did the majority of harassment, they did apologize and this fun article shows that in the end it didn't matter:
A Hollaback response video
I have heard people say, "well some of the comments were nice, or not nasty." That is besides the point. As a person (any sex or race) it is your right to walk to work, the public transport, a store etc..etc... without being harassed whether the person harassing you thinks that they are. Just like sexual harassment this type of street harassment is subject to the victim's point of view. Just because you think telling a woman, "hey lady why don't you smile!" is a compliment doesn't mean that to her it isn't unwanted attention.
Here is a great article detailing the definition of street harassment: What is Street Harassment?
As a woman (especially a plus size woman) I know what it's like to walk down the street and be told to smile, even if you don't want to and if you don't comply to be told you must be a bitch or "too good" to smile at some ass hole who decided the street was a appropriate place to a) pick up a date or b)to talk to a strange woman. Or sometimes worse, decide to call me fat or ugly...Why? Just cause.
It doesn't matter what we do as women, keep our heads down, smile, wear boring baggy clothes, wear sexy clothes, talk back, ignore.....The comments, leers and rude gestures keep coming. This is why many women travel in packs; safety in numbers my friend, safety in numbers.
Women should be concerned, it's not like guys cat call other guys. In fact if a man said to another man, "hey dude, lovin that wife beater style, yo!" He would get his ass kicked. In fact a recent twitter account has been created to show what I mean. #dudesgreetingdudes
Men like to say that they would be fine if women turned the tables and I have two responses to that. 1) I have done it and men get just as embarrassed or become very mean, quickly or 2) they enjoy it because sadly most men are sexist pigs who would love nothing more than to have a strange women compliment his package size or "hotness".
As a woman I have this to say to men, "do not approach us on the street, in our cars, at the supermarket, with our friends, with our family, with our children. It's not appropriate and we don't appreciate it." The rules to this are acceptable social situations where women like to have said attention. Bars, meet ups, single's activities, a date, speed dating etc.. We have had it ingrained in us that if you approach, most women will automatically assume you are a rapist/mugger/beggar/creeper/stalker/asshole and will avoid you like the plague.
I had one guy tell me it was his first amendment right to say what he liked to a woman. Well here's a fun tip for you. The first amendment is Freedom Speech, not Freedom to be a douche bag.
The Amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791. The Amendment states:
- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Obscenity (which is defined as "the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the [subject or work in question], taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest" and (2) "depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, contemporary community standards, sexual conduct defined by the applicable state law" and (3) "the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value". Some subsidiary components of this rule may permit private possession of obscene materials at one's home. Additionally, the phrase "appeals to the prurient interest" is limited to appeals to a "shameful or morbid interest in sex), child pornography laws, slander, immediate intent to do violence, threats, offensive speech (defined as speech might be unprotected if it either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly inflicts severe emotional distress or if the other person perceives it as such), copy rights (or the works of others), and commercial speech.
So actually street harassment is forbidden by the first amendment the moment a woman takes it as a threat, offensive or as an obscenity, so be real careful what you say when calling out to a woman and using this as your argument.
Basically if you wouldn't want someone saying it to your mother, daughter, sister, aunt or grandma keep it to yourself. Or better yet if you don't know the lady keep yourself. 9 times out of 10 I don't take comments from strangers as compliments, I take them as unwanted and intrusive. So please help stop street harassment for everyone
Some Street Harassment Facts
Interesting Jezebel Article