You’ve most likely seen the video – ’10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman’ – and heard some of the conversation surrounding it. According to the Hollaback website, the clip sought to highlight “a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces” and came about after the creator was inspired by his girlfriend — “who gets street harassed all the time.” Considering it has now been seen by over 31 million of your fellow humans and has spawned countless parodies and articles, it’s safe to say the issue has well and truly been highlighted.

So much so, that some people are fed up with the whole fucking discourse. Either that or videos, like the one that was released this morning called ‘Catcall Experiment,’ showing that ‘it’s not as bad’ in Australia and NZ make people think it’s not an issue, or at least not one that we need to be talking about.

Feeling constantly harassed by strange men is just one of those things – not unlike how it can be hard for a person without a penis to understand spontaneous boners – that can be *hard* to get without living through it. 

This is in all likelihood preaching to the converted but if you, or a guy or gal you know, doesn’t see a problem with men hollering at women in the street their reasoning can probably be found below. Skip ahead and Choose Your Own Adventure:

>’I’m not like that, I am polite and would never call out to women on the street’/’I am a girl and I don’t mind it’ 

Great. As long as you’re not also saying that that implies it doesn’t happen and that women shouldn’t be annoyed. G R E A T.

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

But if you are — well, that’s just, like, your wrong opinion, man. Sure, Not All Men catcall women but some definitely do. Sure, there are men who genuinely want to wish (predominantly female) people a good day or try and respectfully have a crack but Not All Women want that.
Feel free to skip to the end to find out all of the fun ways catcalling makes women feel unsafe.

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

>’It’s a compliment, women should be grateful…’

It’s to be expected that not everyone understood what the big deal was, especially since the video itself and any later iterations are not without their problems. SNL bro Michael Che summed it up when he tweeted ‘i just saw the catcalling video & i am disgusted‘ with this attached:

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?


What even is street harassment? Like, the answer to the title ‘Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?’ is in the title, because if it’s harassment you can’t defend it. But where do we draw the line and when does it become offensive, disturbing, upsetting and, as is characteristic of harassment, repetitive?

‘The Cumulative Effect of Street Harassment’ talks to that: “I’m pretty sure you [referring to a male interviewer] have witnessed it, but you may not have recognised it as street harassment. We have been socialised to believe that interactions between men and women are about men being predators and women being prey. We’re so used to seeing these dynamics where a man is approaching a woman, and is being somewhat insistent about it, and we see women kind of smiling.”

And why are comments basically always about looks? Because that’s all you know about a stranger, what they look like. As much as it would be a welcome change if you were there yelling ‘dammmmmn, what a fertile mind and kind spirit you have’ it would seem disingenuous. That whole vibe of constantly having your looks assessed and commented on since birth is finally starting to change for women, which is a great thing for everyone because it does not make for happy and/or healthy individuals to spend so much time considering their own appearance. 

When considering ‘complimenting’ people (usually women people) that you don’t know, treat yo’self to this quick questionnaire:

“If you find yourself wanting to compliment a random woman you do not know and who is not asking for your opinion, ask yourself this: why does your opinion on her appearance matter?

Why do you absolutely need to express that opinion, even knowing that it might make her uncomfortable?

Why is it her responsibility to deal with that potential discomfort or “get over it,” but not your responsibility to keep your opinions to yourself unless they are relevant or solicited?

And, most importantly – if complimenting people matters so much to you, why not compliment a female friend who knows and trusts you? Hell, why not compliment another man?”
via ‘Why You Shouldn’t Tell That Random Girl On The Street That She’s Hot’

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

>’…If someone gave me compliments like that I’d be psyched.’

Would you? Really and truly?

People were giving shit to a commenter on our FB who copied a comment from the Buzzfeed story about it, which asked men to consider it from a different angle:

              Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment? 

The analogy is not perfect – are they ever? – especially considering a lot of gay men or men who ‘look feminine’ get frequently harassed by ‘straight’ men (which is a whole other article best left to someone more knowledgeable than I)((Enter: Michael Kimmel)) but it reminded me of a great article on public bathroom’s (what a wild and unexpected leap of topic!). ‘The Private Lives of Public Bathrooms’ spoke to the idea that in public bathrooms are single-sex spaces that reinforce gender separation and difference. Studies showed that women were generally relaxed about using them and felt safe upon entering. That old joke that women go to bathroom’s together – well, why the hell not, it’s a space where we can talk to other females in the line, retouch, host popular television segments from et cetera.

In the article Professor Moore, a senior lecturer at the Royal Holloway University of London’s Centre for Criminology and Sociology said of single sex bathrooms: “This shines a light on what it means for men and women to be exclusively in the company of their own sex. For women this is often liberating; for men it’s often anxiety-inducing.”

The article continues: “Men, on the other hand, were on edge. Moore goes so far in the study as to say that for men, public toilets are ‘nightmarish spaces.’ The anxiety they reported was centered around ‘watching’—being watched by other men, or being perceived to be watching other men—and that this watching was linked to the possibility of sexual violence.

The theory Moore lays out is that, in public, the gender hierarchy makes women the ones who are watched (under the ‘male gaze,’ as it were). But in the bathroom, sans women, men worry about being the object of another man’s gaze, a feeling they don’t often confront in other places. This can make them fearful, even if there’s no real threat present.

And from this anxiety is born the famous urinal rule.” 

‘If guys don’t talk to women on the street they’d never meet any.’


Okay, this one sounds more than a little hysterical and sad.

Best case scenario, realistically, when a man does speak at a women they don’t know on the street: they strike up a conversation and make a genuine human connection, become lifelong friends and speak at each other’s weddings OR they’re both into it and end up having a sex.

A quick poll of people within communicating distance shows that romantic/sexual relationships rarely begin with a ‘heeeeeeeey beautiful.’ The human race is fursure not going to die out if you don’t say ‘heeeeeey beautiful’ and, if anything, we’re suffering pretty hefty overpopulation (we’re currently adding one billion people to the planet every 12 years) and could well afford to have a few more men not so wholly consumed with getting their dick wet.

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?
At this point it’s worth noting that for the most part, it’s more than obvious that men who holla at women are hoping for the latter. Even if they haven’t quite worked out the logistics of what happens post-catcall.



We all know there’s an ulterior motive. What are we all, if not meat sacks drawn towards fucking things (except for chill asexuals) and making babies to create a squishy new thing in our own image?

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

We all get it, but we also all read the news and statistically most women have had experiences in the past that were on the negative end of the spectrum, so the compliments don’t come across that way. 

For the most part the whole thing is annoying for women and dejecting for men. Say you’re a gal, you’re in public minding your own business thinking about stuff (maybe your boyfriend/girlfriend, maybe what you’re going to torrent later – maybe you just found out your dad has cancer). Either way, you are in the zone, just you and your brain. Then some dude wants to Step Up 2: The Streets. He wants you to acknowledge whatever it is he has decided he wants to say to you. You’re either into it or you need to find a way to deflect. Depending on your mood, recent similar experiences, tolerance to strangers, your personality, your fears this will range from polite to firm. He may be bummed but it’s over and you both move on with your life. Where was the positive in all that, though? If we all know cold calling is a dud sales technique why does this sound viable? How many women enjoy this approach and how can anyone tell which do? It’s not easy and so, how many ladies are you willing to piss off before you find one who is into it?

 
>’Men can’t help it, it’s how they do.’

Ah, that old chestnut: That men are simply following their nuts when they’re looking at chests. 


Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment? Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?


Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

To be fair, he or she who is without an appreciation of a great Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment? rack/a solid Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?chest region, let them be the first to throw a stone. (Horny people who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones.) But Jesus H. Macy, there are ways to recognise this without being completely gross. 

How can you tell if behind the smile is a big fuck-off ‘DO NOT DISTURB’?

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

Obviously some people genuinely cannot read social cues and they’re going to harder to get through to, but if someone is willing to listen Alyx Gorman wrote a great article on ‘How To Talk To Women On The Street’ a while back. Creeps are not born, they’re made. 

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

Tone. It. Down. 


>’Women are unfair. If he was rich and/or hot they wouldn’t care.’

This is not a good look. This says that the person responding is a) angry at women and b) not above trying to guilt women into sleeping with them. “Boohoo, I think i’m ugly and poor and that must be why women won’t sleep with me and now I’m projecting.” Nah, breh, it’s because you think like that. You basic af.

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment? Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?
Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment? Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?
 

>’The way she was dressed, she was asking for it.’

  
There’s something way off about a person who insists on imposing themselves on another person – that includes unwarranted attentions and their opinions on how that person chooses to dress. When the above comes out of someone’s mouth, they’re not just thinking or saying they don’t agree with what she’s wearing, but perpetuating the idea that she deserves to get hurt for it.

>’That chick was ugly, she’s lucky she got anything.’ 

This. This attitude is the reason women are scared and fucking fed up.

WHY DO MEN APPROACH WOMEN ON THE STREET?

In an Atlantic article called ‘Why Men Can’t Take Compliments’ a study mentioned throughout found that “Men often see compliments as “face-threatening acts,” or “acts intended to embarrass or patronise. What was meant as a nicety could be seen as a way to assert control.” One time a dude at work said “you look pretty today,” to which I politely responded “thanks, so do you” only to have a *scoff* “oh alright, just trying to give you a compliment.” And here I was trying to return a compliment to a bro.

Studies seem to repeatedly show that y’all really don’t know what it’s like, being male, middle class and white. Heterosexual men are one of the most depressed groups and especially in Australia we continue to see incredibly high suicide rates amongst men. We’re at this stage in time wherein all the so-disparagingly-called “social justice warriors” are standing up and speaking out about stuff like sexism, homophobia, racism, how these things have manifested since forever and it’s stirring the pot. 

As part of the conversation surrounding feminism is an acknowledgement that young men don’t have it great at the moment either. Sure, most people can recognise the idea of privilege and that men benefit from it, but for every shitty feminine box girls are being shoved into there’s a corresponding masculine box that boys need to live their life inside of.

Short answer: boys are overwhelmingly conditioned to express their ~masculine vibes~ this way.

Explained:

WHAT’S THE WORST CASE SCENARIO FOR WOMEN BEING APPROACHED ON THE STREET?

There’s old mate, he tried to talk to a girl and she blew him off. He doesn’t like that, how she responded, it makes him feel bad about himself or angry at her. He’s probably going to be bigger and physically stronger than the woman and instead of meditating on those thoughts later for a minute he’s holding on to them for a lifetime, they’ve accumulated and he reacts immediately. He calls her a bitch. He says she’s ugly, anyway, and he shouldn’t have bothered. He tries to intimidate her. He follows her. He pulls her into a laneway. He violently rapes her. He strangles her. He buries her body in a shallow grave.

For those who think that it’s hysterical to think in worst case scenarios, it’s really just a case of erring on the side of caution/staying alive. A phobia is an irrational fear of something, whereas a women who is afraid of being sexually assaulted is common sense.

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?
Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?
Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

When Jill Meagher was attacked she didn’t ignore the man who approached her on the street. She was polite. She was friendly. This man was not, as pointed out by her husband in his post ‘The Danger of the Monster Myth,‘ a “monster”. He is a man who had a girlfriend, who had gone out to the pub with his mates that night, who looks like a ‘regular’ guy and who just wanted to strike up a conversation with a pretty girl on the street. 

Certainly i’m coming from a place of privilege and there are places around the world and in our country that are a lot worse (as we are reminded in the comment section we at PEDESTRIAN.TV are a bunch of ‘inner-city greenie cunts’ #humblebrag) but off the top of my head I can think of several instances that happened in Sydney: being 14 and walking along the street with a friend only to have four separate cars full of grown ass men honk or pull over to get their sleaze on and at 14 that shit is confronting. Walking with a group of friends and hearing “yeeeeEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW GET YOUR GASH OUUUuuuuuttt” from a car zooming past; which, to be honest, from the safety of a busy street in daylight was funny. One night recently whilst walking home a young attractive (if you’re into that whole hot Scandi-vibe) man said ‘hello,’ I nodded and half-smiled and continued on around the corner, only to soon after hear him turn around and start following. To be safe I ducked behind a wheelie bin only to hear him come back ‘hello?…’ and then pace back and forth whistling, as if for a dog (rude), saying under his breath ‘where did she go?!’ repeatedly. People muttering angrily under their breath rarely ends well and that one was decidedly not funny.

A friend, when she was 17, got approached by a man asking for directions; she leaned towards his car window to be an upstanding citizen and help him in his time of need, only to see him furiously masturbating from the front seat. I know a girl who was approached on the bus by a boy who told her she was beautiful – long story very short – she ended up needing a restraining order. Another friend got abducted walking home one night, age 19, and only just managed to escape.

In the last 5 days alone a man in the street said to me and a friend “you know what I want to see? I want to see you girls smile, even though there’s no camera around” -___- and at a party a dude who I was passing in the kitchen straight up rubbed my butt. I could go on – most females could – but it’s a fucking bummer.

              Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

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If you still don’t see any issue with catcalling, street harassment, approaching strangers with a view to doing the do, whatever you want to call it, just a reminder that other people who don’t see an issue with it are men who sexually assault and murder women. Did you know the KKK turned up to protest on the side of the cop who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson? Point is, if you’ve got rapists and murderers on your side of the argument, it’s probably not a chill place to be.

It’d be A+ if we would all live in a beautiful utopia – ideally Dinotopia – where we are could all just be ^____^ all the time. Until then, acting like it’s a non-issue or saying women need to lighten up is a bust. As Roxane Grey wrote, “It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away.” Ultimately we’re not going to get everyone to stop yelling bullshit out in the street, it’s a slow burn. But if you get a couple or even start to make the men who get why it’s not a pleasant thing to do the majority…

Look, if Pitbull can get a degree, men can come to accept that women don’t like to be catcalled.

Is It Possible To Defend Street Harassment?

TL;DR Yes, it is possible to try and defend street harassment but it doesn’t endear you to people and you likely won’t get laid.