Let’s talk about street harassment

10 Nov

By now, I am sure you have seen this video of a prissy white woman walking the “streets” of New York for 10 hours and being subjected to “harassment”. Those words are in quotations because it turns out that the majority of the people saying hello and other inanities took place on one street in Harlem. Princess has rightly been called out for racism and hysteria, forcing Hollaback to issue an apology. “Gee we had no idea targeting men of color would make us look racist”. Oh whatever. Nice backpedal there, assholes.

I’ve written about street harassment before, specifically from the racism angle but today I want to talk about something bigger than just the racial element, although that’s still a big part of it. What the Hollaback video, and indeed the entire organization and all that is represents does is contribute to a climate of fear. And not just run of mill, my Spidey senses went on alert fear, but full on hysterical, run away screaming fear.

 

screaming

 

 

Fear of what?

Of men. And of black men in particular.

 

Leibowitz,_Samuel_&_Scottsboro_Boys_1932

Same shit, different feminists, right?

Interestingly enough, I had a feminist email me asking me to address the issue of street harassment based on her personal experiences. Originally, Lexi wrote to me that it was fine to use her full name, but I sent her back an email asking her to think that through carefully. Clearly, Lexi has never been the target of a social media harassment campaign by feminists, and had no idea how graphic, violent and vitriolic that kind of attack can be. I strongly suggested that she choose to limit her identity, and she agreed, asking to be called “Lexi M”. This is important, because even though Lexi has no personal experience with online harassment, she knew that it exists and it’s real.

 

So let’s talk street harassment. Does it happen? I don’t mean men saying hello or “hey baby, lookin’ good” – I mean full on terrifying street harassment that makes you concerned for your safety?

 

In my personal experience, it is exceptionally rare. I am fairly well travelled, and I have spent extensive periods of time (months at a time) in Greece, Germany, the UK, China and Australia. I have briefly visited Thailand, Japan and Mexico. In Greece, men made an odd hissing noise, the sound my mother used to make when the kitten would climb up the curtain, and it took me a while before I stopped reacting, but all I ever received from the men I looked at was a smile. Maybe a wave.

 

greek

That’s it.

I was never even approached for conversation by an unfamiliar man in Germany, Japan or Australia, much less harassed. Mexican men often smiled or whistled, but in no way did I ever feel threatened. Thai people are affable and friendly to everyone, both men and women alike. Again, nothing even approaching harassment.

In China, if someone came up to me and started discussing my hair, clothing or any aspect of my appearance, it was invariably a woman. The first few times, I was rather taken aback until I grasped that the comments were always in the spirit of friendly advice. It is not at all unusual to have a Chinese woman say “you are only a little bit fat” and then have them launch into hair, makeup and diet advice. “You are only a little bit fat” is a Chinese woman’s way of saying “with a little more effort, you could be perfect!”. It is 100% a compliment, and I took it as such. It was never meant as an insult and it was certainly not harassment. I don’t think I took a single bus ride without having someone talk to me, proud to show off their English skills. It could get tiresome, but as a guest in another country, I prided myself on never being rude. I certainly never felt harassed.

ira-manchester-bomb

 

The UK was probably the closest I ever came to experience anything that could be even remotely considered harassment. I spent a semester in Manchester. In 1996 the IRA detonated a bomb in the city center, essentially destroying an entire city block. When I went, the city was busy rebuilding into a modern metropolis with shiny glass buildings and all the same stores you find in any large metro center around the world.

mancity

 

Since I wanted to experience more of the “real” Manchester, I chose to live in a working class suburb called Levenshulme which was about an hour’s brisk walk from the Manchester Business School. The walk put me into daily contact with the regular people of Manchester and Fridays after work when the guys hit the pub, I would get chatted up.

 

Chatted up.

 

I got comments on my appearance and lots of men said “hello”. And that’s it. No one threatened me. No one pushed my boundaries. No one made me feel uncomfortable. No one acted like an asshole. For the prissy bitch in the video, this would undoubtedly have constituted harassment. For me it was a little Guinness inspired boldness that was a bit silly and bit funny and more than a bit flattering.

 

No matter what city I was in, no matter what country, what I never, ever felt was fear. This likely has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up with three brothers and all their friends. Coming home to find a bunch of teenage boys I had never met before sitting in front of the TV or running around the backyard was perfectly normal. Men and boys feel a lot like home to me. They don’t scare me. I am very familiar with the way boys and men are and how they talk and wrassle and take the piss out of each other, just as any man who grows up with three sisters will be very familiar with the ways of women.

 

I don’t fear men automatically and efforts to teach me to be afraid inevitably collide with my lived experience of men as just people with shorter hair and bigger arms than me. They are what they are. No big deal. I have no personal lived experience with men of color as I grew up in very white towns in Northern Canada but they are men first and no more threatening to me than any other man.

 

Here’s how I see it: if I see a rough looking woman on the street ahead of me I have no illusions about what kind of violence she might be capable of and I will cross the street over to where the men are. I need some clue other than gender to trigger a fear response. I would rather get on an elevator with a group of men in construction vests than a group of women who look like they slept in a dumpster. I am not generally a fearful person and it takes a strong signal to get me to react with fear.

young-archer-girl

I have also been hunting since I was a very young child. I shot my first duck when I was around 4 yrs of age and I have been chopping the heads off chickens since I was 8. The idea of helpless women is not one that I have ever been taught to embrace. I enjoy throwing knives and target shooting with a bow and arrow. I walk through my life entirely confident in my ability to defend myself. I suspect that demeanor is detectable, too, and I simply do not attract predators. Predators generally prefer the weak and fearful.

 

Let’s go back to Lexi M. She described episodes of street harassment that were breathtaking in their violence and cruelty. I have never experienced or witnessed or even heard anyone in my life describe anything even remotely similar. She recounts a time when a man threatened her as a young girl saying he would “rape her so hard her mother would bleed.”

 

Who the fuck says that to a preteen girl? Yes, that would have triggered a fear response in me, followed quickly by a strong desire to nock an arrow and take the fucker out. That’s straight up psychotic and unequivocally harassment. Based on my entire exchange with Lexi, she is not lying. Nothing about her came across as attention seeking or deceptive. She finds a lot in my posts to agree with and lots to disagree with, so I would ask you to give her the benefit of the doubt with me.

 

How often does that kind of horrifying harassment happen? Genuine question to my readers. I know that Hollaback would like women to think it happens all the time, or that saying “hello” or “looking good” exists on a continuum of abuse that ends with rape threats, but I don’t believe it. Sure I am familiar with men, I am not generally fearful or hysterical and I am capable of defending myself, but I find it impossible to believe I have walked thousands of miles through cities around the world and just by a stroke of pure luck never encountered this kind of harassment.

 

Bullshit. The person who said that to Lexi was a monster, and while monsters do indeed exist, they are rare. The whole point of feminist harassment campaigns is to create fear. To make women think men are monsters. Feminists turn the truism that all men have the potential to be monsters into an imagined reality that men are likely to be monsters, ignoring the fact that women can be monsters too and that a tiny risk factor is being amplified beyond all proportion.

 

Why is it being amplified?

money

Follow the money.

 

How many jobs depend on the widespread existence of rape, harassment, abuse and evil, evil men? How many feminist journalists and domestic violence shelter workers and feminist campaign managers and campus sexual assault managers would be out of a job if the truth that crime is declining and has been for decades was the loudest truth in the media?

 

rape-rates-usa-ncvs

 

Feminists accuse their critics of hyperbole when they are compared to Nazis but I am more and more convinced the analogy is apt. The whole street harassment conversation is designed to foment fear and hatred of men, and men of color in particular. We’ve seen it before. Is it so far-fetched to think we won’t see it again, if we give these women they power they crave? Thank god the Republicans wiped the floor with the “war on women” bullshit Democratic candidates, but it is a mistake to think this battle is over.

 

Let’s be clear: street harassment does exist. Lexi’s stories are evidence I will accept, without reservation. She’s not lying. I also think they are quite rare and treating men who are performing the social requirement of making the first move, which a whopping 93% of women in one survey expected and wanted as on par with genuine harassment is just a way to pathologize behaviors that women demand men perform.

date graph

 

Check out how street harassment plays out when women think the man is rich and handsome.

 

 

What the fuck?

 

Does anyone else see the problem here? When feminists control the cultural narrative around things like domestic violence or rape or street harassment the same result invariably comes about: men are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

 

It’s a no-win situation. Men are wrong no matter what they do. Women are always helpless victims who are right to live in fear. Both men and women are crippled while the professional feminists collect their paychecks and plan for …..

 

…. plan for what?  Where does this end?

 

I, for one, have no intention of seeing where it ends. It ends here. It ends now or as close to now as I can get. I will fight for men to get out from under an intolerable banner that proclaims them all violent, woman-hating animals and I will fight for women to gain the confidence and courage to see themselves as adults capable of navigating the world without cringing in fear.

 

Yes, there are monsters in the world.

 

man-woman

 

Our best defense is one another.

 

#WeForAll

 

Holla that back.

 

Lots of love,

 

JB

59 Responses to “Let’s talk about street harassment”

  1. Liam November 10, 2014 at 22:27 #

    No offense to your feminist friend, I don’t know her, so this is pure speculation, but…

    In the story you related, what comes before? Was it a polite interchange, or had she just told him to f*** off?

    Not that it makes what the guy said okay, but I do think there’s a huge difference between an angry posturing in response to bad behavior and someone just randomly, unprovoked, saying he wants to rape her so hard her mother would bleed.

    The sounds so much more like an anger response (over the top, to be sure) than something that would be said randomly to a woman on the street.

    Like

  2. Jeffrey Deutsch November 10, 2014 at 22:37 #

    Hey, at least the harassment is getting more and more genteel all the time!

    Like

  3. judgybitch November 10, 2014 at 22:42 #

    I’m not sure. I had the impression from her email that she was very young and it was very frightening. Let’s see if she chimes in here. She doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would be hostile, but I will let her speak for herself.

    Like

  4. That_Susan November 10, 2014 at 23:34 #

    I agree that there’s a lot more harm done, to men, women, and children by spreading a culture of fear — a lot more harm than most men, women, or children are EVER likely to experience in terms of harassment, rape, or violence of any kind.

    Fear culture is currently causing, or at least greatly contributing to, an obesity epidemic here in the U.S., especially among inner-city kids. Many feel that “good parents” aren’t supposed to let their kids play out in the neighborhood or walk places. Thankfully not all parents feel that way, but we have to be careful because some people get alarmed at the normal sight of children being outdoors without an adult hovering, and think they need to get the authorities involved. Instead of calling the cops on their neighbors for letting their kids out, why not use their energy to make their neighborhoods places free from fear?

    While feminists are certainly some of the people propagating this fear, I don’t think it’s just feminists. It seems like the same mentality that causes wealthier people to just keep moving further and further away from the center of town. There’s this sense of hopelessness about anyone ever being able to trust their fellow man — and here I’m not saying that anyone needs to be blindly trusting and stupid — just that I think trusting in people’s basic goodness should be our default, because most people are good and are not lying in wait looking for men to beat up and mug, women to rape, or children to kidnap.

    Like

  5. slacker November 11, 2014 at 00:08 #

    What! blatant racism from feminists, that never happens! Gee, its almost like Feminism is a rich white woman’s club. Oh wait that’s what its always been.

    Another thing, is there a longer version of this video anywhere? I have only seen this two minute long version. If she really wondered the city for ten hours and only got two minutes of footage I fail to see how this is a big deal.

    Like

  6. slacker November 11, 2014 at 00:11 #

    oops I meant wandered.

    Like

  7. Goober November 11, 2014 at 00:38 #

    You’re damn right there are monsters in this world. And do any of these feminist harpies know who is going to end up protecting them from those monsters?

    Men.

    Men like me. My Dad. My brother, and my friends.

    Probably likewise, men with guns, and who carry guns, like me and the aforementioned men.

    Amazingly enough, these women are the same people who are advocating to have my right to keep and bear arms reduced or eliminated.

    Who’s going to protect you then, sweetheart? Your overarching faith and confidence in government? Your strong, empowered nature? Your career?

    Fuck every single one of these bitches. More than willing to accept all of the benefits that living amongst men grant them, so that they can bitch and complain about the fact that everything isn’t perfect.

    Filming her video on a camera designed and created by a man, walking on a sidewalk poured and finished by a man, on streets laid out and built by men, in the shade of buildings erected by men, and posting it all on an internet that men created.

    We’re such bastards.

    Like

  8. Mark November 11, 2014 at 01:28 #

    This whole video may well actually illustrate another element of female privilege. I’ve lived in bad neighborhoods consistently the last five years and the things people say to me, a male, when I walk through are not nearly as nice as what they say to her, and often include unambiguous threats of violence.

    It’s also worth noting that men are “harassed” by women very regularly. By feminist standards, every time a clerk, cashier, or stranger calls you ‘baby’, ‘honey’ or ‘sweetey’ you’re being harassed, right? Then I am “harassed” by women every single day. I must have PTSD!

    The only differences, when a man hears a woman call him ‘honey’ or something in passing, he doesn’t see it as harassment. Because it isn’t, it’s just her being informal, an so men take no issue with it.

    If we are honest, all the hysteria about ‘street harassment’ shows is that many women are a great deal more sensitive than pretty much all men.

    Like

  9. b g November 11, 2014 at 01:37 #

    …and chauvinistic pigs too ;-D

    Like

  10. insanitybytes22 November 11, 2014 at 03:07 #

    Something that kind of made me laugh about that first video, she spent 10 hours in densely populated urban area actually looking for trouble…and all she could come up with is four minutes of questionable “harassment.” Ten hours! I can find trouble in about 12 minutes, tops. In all seriousness however, this is good news. Women not only have the freedom to walk around, they’re relatively safe while doing it. It’s sad that the narrative being presented would try to hide that truth from women and instead attempt to convince us that we’re supposed to walk in constant fear.

    I think street harassment is fairly rare, the genuine kind that could scare you. Lewd comments and poor manners are more common, but even that is not really done with the intent to frighten you.

    Like

  11. Emma the Emo November 11, 2014 at 03:17 #

    Likewise, I found most men to be non-threatening and non-violent, but there is always a dangerous minority. You might come in contact with them if you live in a “ghetto”-like area like I did&do, and they seem normal to begin with. They don’t have to be black. I had one guy be friends with me, then threaten me with violence and maiming if I dated other men. Another guy threatened several of his neighbors with fire-setting, because they always did something he didn’t like (to be fair, they were annoying, so his threat didn’t come out of nowhere). Also, when we lived on the first floor, someone attached lewd images to our window, expressing desire to meet up for sex, but that was more icky than scary.

    On the other hand, most people in the “ghetto” area here are harmless alcoholics, people with mental problems, (former?..) drug-users and foreigner families with kids.

    Like

  12. Jack Strawb November 11, 2014 at 09:27 #

    ” plan for what? Where does this end?”

    That’s the beauty, so to speak, of utopian projects. if you claim to want to end rape, for example, something that is impossible to accomplish, you can nonetheless justify any means whatsoever, and there is never any end to your campaigns against rape. If you make rape the most heinous of crimes, something that is beyond language to describe, than no measure to prevent rape is too radical or to oppressive.

    Like

  13. Jack Strawb November 11, 2014 at 09:28 #

    Please, dear lady, institute a comments section to your wonderful website that allows for editing. Best, Jack.

    Like

  14. Master Beta November 11, 2014 at 09:57 #

    Last girl in the video is a keeper

    Like

  15. Spaniard November 11, 2014 at 10:25 #

    Let me enlight you, Judgy Bitch, about culture of verbal harassment in Spain.

    Shouting a complimment to a lady in the street is known as “piropo”, from the Greek “pyropos”: “pyrós” (fire) and “ops” (eye). So, lierally means “fire in the eye”. Actually shoud be “fire in the word”. Anyway…

    Nowadays it is very old fashioned and lost custome. Young ladies and even mature ladies don´t like it anymore.
    The filthiests “piropo” (and funniest) I heard in my life, was from a crew of workers in the street to a curvy lady walking by. It was: “Te la metía hasta en el bolso” (I would love to put my c…k even in your purse”.

    Well, quite OTT. 🙂

    Like

  16. Deen November 11, 2014 at 10:38 #

    It’s like some Emperor’s New Clothes scenario. I have some full-on feminist friends. They rave about street harassment, making it seem than no female can set foot in public without a volley of unwanted attention (which is likely, in many cases, to lead to sexual assault).

    But when I, genuinely interested in what women face, ask my wife, her friends, my other female friends – who are either only ‘feminists’ if you make them think about it or not feminists at all – well, their experience of ‘street harassment’ is NEXT TO ZERO.

    The odd drunk sports fan. The odd greeting. A bit of ‘eh guapa’ in Spain. Once in a blue moon. Here and there. And never threatening. The worst my wife could trawl up was that ‘North African men’ would ‘talk to you’ in France but even then nothing that a young women couldn’t handle…

    Radical Feminism is a mindfuck cult. And what do cults use to recruit? Groupthink and FEAR.

    Like

  17. Spaniard November 11, 2014 at 10:39 #

    Funny what you say about Germany.
    I remember when I was in Friburg, and I approached a Teutonic lady in a shopping center.
    She told me: “Oh, you made my day!! German men do not approach, they are too shy”.

    Like

  18. Magnus November 11, 2014 at 11:23 #

    My favorite “hypergamy prank” is the guy walking up to a woman, trying to chat her up. Her response is “I’m not interested, I have a boyfriend”. At the same time a guy dressed as a hobo comes up and ask for a little money. The guy trying to pick up the girl pulls out a huge stack of cash and starts counting, handing the hobo something like 100 dollars.
    Guess how the girl’s attitude changed. “give me your number and I’ll call you”
    Guy toss the stack of cash at her and calls her out before leaving.

    Like

  19. Magnus November 11, 2014 at 11:24 #

    Issue is of course that these hollaback campaigns etc try to brand ALL men as this, even though it’s just a small subset of a sub set of people

    Like

  20. Aphrodite November 11, 2014 at 11:31 #

    I have experienced harrassment, but never really on the streets actually. It happened once in a club and once in a train station. By ‘it’ I mean ‘an uncomfortable situation’ for me. However, none of the men I perceived as dangerous. It were just situations of misunderstandig, according to me. In the club, a man came dancing behind me, while laying his hands on my hips. It didn’t feel good to me. Nevertheless, everyone else in the club was doing it, so I decided to ‘go along with the crowd’. And even though I didn’t like it, I never had the least impression that young man was doing it to harrass me. He just wanted to have some fun, I guess.
    Another incident happened in a train station, full of people, with a young man from Sri lanka. Our eyes ‘locked’ accidently. And we started talking. Because of that I missed my train. And we decided to sit on a couch. He started telling me how beautiful I was. Then he stroked my face and wanted to kiss me. The situation totally baffeled me. ‘What should I do?’ You would expect I went away immediately. But I didn’t. Why not? Because of the crowd of people. When there are lots of people, the situation is expected to be safer for women. Well, people who say this are wrong. At that moment, I was too embarrassed to do anything. I didn’t feel afraid, I felt embarrassed, because I didn’t know what to do.
    Thinking back of this incident, I can’t say I loathed these men. In my eyes, they seemed quite helpless themselves, instead of threatening. ‘How much experience did the Sri Lankan man had when it came to dating?’ I tought. ‘Probably none.’ I experienced the same sort of approach of other men who, seemed to me, had no clue how to catch the attention, or how to seduce a woman…but I’m dwelling too much. Point of my story is: I never felt threatened by a man, or assumed that his intetions were vile, ’cause he approached me.

    Like

  21. Master Beta November 11, 2014 at 12:18 #

    Maybe it was the generosity that changed her mind.

    Like

  22. Paul November 11, 2014 at 12:57 #

    Can I comment without having to fill in my name and email every time?

    If someone has a problem I always think they should try and attempt to provide a solution. That way they really think about it and may actually manage to improve things rather than just moan about it.

    Bearing that in mind I’d love to see feminists try and construct a social interaction flow chart that shows a step by step guide on how a man should approach a feminist woman he does not know. The chart must be acceptable to every mainstream feminist and at no time during the interaction is the woman allowed to be offended or feel threatened and the man must not break the law. As laws vary by jurisdiction let’s pick say a state subsidised university in California.

    No mind reading or knowledge of psychology or feminist theory can be required of the man. The chart should progress all the way through to a week after the first sexual encounter. Obviously there will need to be lots of cut outs where woman says no and the man backs off, or man backs off himself for some reason.

    If I had a million dollars to spare I’d set it as a real challenge like http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Prize_Problems

    My money would be safe!

    Like

  23. That_Susan November 11, 2014 at 13:52 #

    I can’t speak for feminist women. But I’m a fairly outgoing person myself, and one of my favorite things about taking the bus at various times of my life when I’ve been car-free has been the opportunity to observe different people and strike up friendly conversations with those who are receptive.

    It’s pretty easy for me to detect from people’s facial expressions and body language whether or not they enjoy talking to strangers. Some people literally never want to talk to any strangers they meet on the bus. My fourteen year old daughter currently feels like this, so she wears her headset and listens to her music and doesn’t make eye contact with people.

    I think if you see a young woman, feminist or not, with a headset on and off in her “zone,” this is usually a sign that she doesn’t want to be approached. Other indications would be that they don’t smile at you or make eye contact — or maybe that they’re reading a book, working on their laptop, or chatting on their cell phone.

    I’m a physical person and enjoy giving hugs — I don’t mean to complete strangers on the bus, but I mean to friends, both close and casual. Very occasionally, I’ve encountered someone who pulls back and isn’t comfortable with that degree of physical contact. So I’ve learned to be more sensitive to any signs that someone would rather keep a little more physical distance between us. For example, if I give a friendly side-hug and I feel them go rigid, I drop my arm and don’t try to initiate that kind of contact with them again.

    My younger daughter is somewhat like me in this respect, and from an early age I’d see her sometimes walking around the park playground, hand in hand or arm in arm with some new girlfriends that she’d just met. But occasionally, she’d go up and put her arm around another kid who was clearly uncomfortable — so I had to talk with her about the fact that not everyone likes that degree of physical closeness with someone that they’ve just met, and point out the signs that the other child had shown her about wanting more space.

    Everyone has differing space-needs, in terms of both physical and conversational contact, so if you have a hard time picking up on those vibes, maybe you could get a book about body language to help you assess what you’re observing.

    Like

  24. Spaniard November 11, 2014 at 13:53 #

    The place of Europe of the most overwhelming verbal harassment to women is Italy. From Rome to the south.
    Italians go in crowds to attack blonde female tourists. They do not care if they are with girl friends, boyfriend or hubbie.
    The funnie thing is that these blonde women (usually from very femininist North European countries, USA or Australia) LOVE it. And they keep on going.
    I saw something truly unbelieveble (well, not so much) in Rome: a blonde tourist wife with hubbie sitting in an outdoor cafe. Suddenly appears out of nothing a Roman guy. He sits close to the couple and he starts speaking to wifey Hubbie starts to feel uncomfortable and wifey keeps on smiling to the Italian guy. Hubbies starts to get angry and he complains to the guy. Wifey reacts angry to hubbie calling him “insecure” and all that emasculating stuff. Hubbie gets really angry, wifey gets more angry and leaves hubbie in the outdoor cafe on his own and she goes with the Italian guy God knows where.
    Hubbie cannot believe what he is seeing and he leaves just to the opposite side.
    Yes, this lady suffered a heavy nasty unbeareble harassment from Mediterranean macho pig.

    Like

  25. Spaniard November 11, 2014 at 14:08 #

    I always wonder what if hubbie, instead of reacting uncomfortable first, and then complaining, and then angry , if he would react cool, and calm. and leting the Italian guy talking and talking to wifey, what would be the behaviour of wifey?

    I guess: “You have no blood in your veins, you are not a man, you cannot protect me, I need a REAL man… like this one! (pointing to the Italian), I go NOW! Goodbye pussy!! (then she leaves the scene with the passionate Latin lover) 🙂

    Like

  26. That_Susan November 11, 2014 at 14:58 #

    You’ve made some very good points here, and I’m reminded of what some manoshpere bloggers are currently saying about feminists supposedly wanting “the patriarchy” to silence that awful man who boasts about how in Japan, white males can treat Japanese women as disrespectfully as they want and get away with it; he loves taking video of himself grabbing random women on the street there and pulling their heads down to his crotch.

    As an American, much as I loathe the idea of anyone like that having a significant amount of social influence, I still support free speech. So long as EVERYONE has equal freedom and decent human beings are just as free to voice their disgust as he is to voice his encouragements to white men to go to Asian countries and take out their aggressions on the Asian women, many of whom seem totally taken off guard and unclear about what to do.

    I’m also reminded of Jessica Valenti’s article where she criticized men for not doing a better job of policing and eradicating rape culture. On the one hand, I have absolutely no idea what constitutes a “rape joke” and can’t comprehend anyone laughing about that, any more than I can comprehend anyone laughing about photos of emaciated children in poor countries. And I also see that one reason our society is becoming less racist is that racist whites can no longer just assume that if they’re in a room with only white people, they can make racist comments and no one will ever call them on it.

    So yeah, I do agree that when ANYONE hears someone making derogatory comments about an entire group of people, speaking up and letting them know that we’re not cool with that can have a powerful influence. And of course, the same is true when hearing people bash boys and men.

    As far as those who say that they’ll speak up for others when those others speak up for them (and I’m not saying that I think that’s you, Goober, because I feel pretty sure that it’s not), some of the others are already doing that. As a white person, I’ve seen some very fair and just black people who’ve called out other black people for making racist comments about whites (obviously, since I was there, I can’t say for sure what happens when no white people are present, but I believe that many are the same person in every situation). I personally am not going to wait for everyone else to speak up before I do, ’cause if everyone else did that, we’d never be able to move forward.

    Like

  27. Lexi M November 11, 2014 at 18:20 #

    What comes before is him shouting at me while I ignored him, and he got angrier and angrier. As I was close to my home, I told him, “I’m not interested, so don’t follow me” to which he replied, “You think you have a choice? I’m going to…” I was 12 or 13. I ran home and locked the door. I was a latchkey kid, so by the time my parents arrived home, I’d decided not to tell them. I am not, in general, afraid of men on the street. Most interactions are fine. At worst they are annoying. But once in a while, they follow you, or grab you, and it sucks.

    Like

  28. judgybitch November 11, 2014 at 18:29 #

    Lexi, just out of curiosity, why did you not tell your parents? I would be so upset to know someone had done that to my daughter and she didn’t tell me!

    Like

  29. Goober November 11, 2014 at 18:49 #

    It’s the universal pigeon-holing that I have a problem with, Susan, from both sides. I’m sure you saw my back and forth with Bookoo or whatever a few threads back, calling him out for his AWALT comments.

    I don’t like it. it pisses me off. To say that “men suck” while living among the vast myriad of benefits that men have brought you is just pathetic.

    Yeah, she got ten minutes of film after ten HOURS of walking around town.

    No, that does not mean that society has a problem, or that men are bad.

    This same woman would have no problem at all with men that she was attracted to starting up a conversation with her. In fact, she would expect it. In fact, she would be disappointed in him and probably call him names behind his back for NOT initiating conversation when she wanted him to.

    But a man that she doesn’t find attractive, starting (or attempting to start) a conversation with her? Fucking harassment. The bastards.

    So we’re left in a situation where if we ever want to have a relationship, we have to initiate contact. But if we do, we’d better know beforehand whether she finds us attractive or not, because if she doesn’t, we’re on the hook for harassing her.

    Can you see the “damnedif you do, damned if you don’t” nature of that?

    How does it work, a society where women expect men to start the conversation, but only men she WANTS to start the conversation?

    We’re supposed to be psychic now?

    Like

  30. Goober November 11, 2014 at 19:17 #

    Assholes and monsters are definitely a thing. People fail to understand that simply because you walked around for ten hours, past thousands of people, and found a handful of assholes out there that were threatening and scary?

    That doesn’t mean that society is broken, and that we have some massive, super scary problem that needs to be fixed.

    It just means that some people are assholes.

    That’s all.

    The day that this is front page news is the day that I lose all hope for humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Liam November 11, 2014 at 20:12 #

    Thanks for the reply, Lexi! I guess I’d rather believe that there were extenuating circumstances that made this merely rude rather than predatory and psychotic, but such people do exist, and it seems you ran afoul of one.

    I’m sorry.

    Like

  32. Goober November 11, 2014 at 20:56 #

    But not being able to divine the intentions or desires of a woman walking down the street is not a crime.

    Yes, if you’re going up to people reading books or listening to music with their head down on the train, that’s one thing.

    But a woman walking confidently down the road?

    How the fuck are you supposed to know that she’s off limits?

    Or that she’s off limits to YOU, but a different guy is perfectly okay to approach her, because she is attracted to him but not you?

    Should we all take a class on figuring out from facial expressions and body language whether a woman walking down the road will think you’re hot or not?

    Is that even possible?

    Like

  33. That_Susan November 11, 2014 at 21:38 #

    Well, back when I was young and single and would be out walking places, if a man said hi to me and I, for whatever reason, didn’t want to engage, I’d say hi back (and it’s pretty much natural for me to smile and make eye contact) — but then I’d just keep walking, briskly — not slowing down like I wanted him to fall into step with me and start a conversation. I recall one guy who didn’t seem to get the hint; he tried to keep up and complained about how fast I was walking; then he eventually gave up and called after me that I had nice tits.

    Of course, this was only one of a handful of negative experiences in the midst of years and years of being out walking and not being harassed by anyone; I used to be an avid walker. It’s funny, though, how those few negative experiences tend to stand out in our minds. And I see now how the feminist dialog can kind of lead us to place more weight on what really makes up only a tiny portion of most women’s life experiences.

    Like

  34. That_Susan November 11, 2014 at 21:44 #

    Lexi, I’m so sorry about what you went through with that horrid guy! I hope that was just an isolated experience. My teen daughter does a lot of walking on her own (usually with our big Lab– but sometimes not) and she also has done some bus travel on her own. She’s additionally very tall for her age so she’s sometimes encountered older guys or grown men trying to have a conversation with her. She just says, ‘I’m fourteen” — and they immediately leave her alone.

    I’m glad you’re not afraid most of the time; I imagine even just one really awful experience like that at such a young age would make a lot of girls afraid to leave the house, and people NEED to feel safe and comfortable in their own communities.

    Like

  35. That_Susan November 11, 2014 at 21:57 #

    I have a friend who was raped when she was about ten. She DID tell her mom and there ended up being a long, drawn out court case…she got so sick of being questioned over and over, and it was a small town and somehow all the kids at school heard about it and started harassing her, asking her why she was so dumb as to go with that man. Her mom finally listened to her pleas to drop the case because she just couldn’t take it anymore.

    She felt like speaking up about what happened resulted in her being punished more than the guy was. One of the worst things was her loss of freedom. She used to be free to roam the town, but her mom no longer trusted her to be able to handle various situations, so she was cooped up at home a lot.

    I can’t answer for Lexi — but if her parents worked long hours, they couldn’t exactly accompany her everywhere, and it’s possible that hearing about an incident like that might have led them to curtail her freedoms. Scared as she was, she probably didn’t want to end up being jailed in her own home.

    Like

  36. Jeffrey Deutsch November 11, 2014 at 22:50 #

    “Yes, if you’re going up to people reading books or listening to music with their head down on the train, that’s one thing.”

    I’d say that’s not conclusive, either. In my experience, it all depends.

    For example, a good friend of mine — and she’s a firm feminist — says that some people intentionally wear earbuds when they’re more open to possibly being interrupted and wear (much larger and easily visible) headphones when they absolutely don’t want to be disturbed. That’s a pretty fine (in both senses of the term) nuance.

    I think *everybody* should be more aware of body language — other people’s *and* their own. It’s easy enough to miss someone else’s “leave me alone” signals — or one’s own “approach me” signals.

    Also, I think we could all spare a little mercy and benefit of the doubt. Someone can legitimately misread or not read body language and go up to someone who (felt she) was clear about wanting to be left alone without being a harasser or a creep. And someone can legitimately prefer not to be disturbed even by someone whose intentions are friendly without being a man-hating radical feminist.

    Like

  37. Jim November 11, 2014 at 23:30 #

    Ouch. Glad you got away Lexi. Scary shit!

    Let me ask you this….

    Do you think he meant what he said or was he just trying to be a street troll?

    Like

  38. Jim November 11, 2014 at 23:31 #

    Oink. 😛

    Like

  39. Mark November 12, 2014 at 00:39 #

    And maybe men only like large-breasted women so their children will be well-fed as infants.

    Like

  40. Spaniard November 12, 2014 at 10:06 #

    The protocol regarding liberated women is trying to kiss them after a while of talking. Half an hour/one hour as much.
    So, I see nothing wrong about that guy from Sri Lanka.
    When a guy last too much in trying to kiss a lady after a while of talking, usually the lady thinks that guy has no courage, no blood, he is a “nice guy”.
    The protocol says, as well, that when you try to kiss a lady and she avoids you, you should stop. If you keep on trying, that is harassment.

    Like

  41. Chris Wedge November 12, 2014 at 10:11 #

    Breast tissue is actually supposed to mimick the shape of a nice backside – which makes sense when you consider sexual positions of evolutionary ancestors.

    Breast fat has pretty much nothing to do with breastfeeding.

    Like

  42. That_Susan November 12, 2014 at 12:09 #

    I think most women would see it as — if not harassment, then as a real sign of social awkwardness and unsophistication, for a complete stranger whom they’d just been chatting with casually at the bus stop to swoop in and try to kiss them.

    So no, it’s not always seen as harassment — but if it’s not, it’s usually because the guy trying to do it comes across as so completely inept and clueless about life that the woman just feels sorry for him. Either way, she’s not likely to see someone like that as dating material.

    But then, it’s possible that some cougars may get a sense of maternal fulfillment by building up a young man with absolutely no confidence, teaching him how to seduce and please a woman, and so on. I just don’t think that coming across as awkward and clueless is going to make most attractive young women want to date you. I WOULD say that after 30 minutes or so of pleasant chatting, it would be perfectly appropriate to ask the young woman if you could take her out for dinner or a coffee sometime, and get her number if she’s interested.

    Years ago, I actually did agree to go out with a bus driver who’d seemed really nice. He had my number, and I was looking forward to getting to know him better. But then as I was getting off the bus, he said, “Can I kiss you?” — and I just totally lost all interest in dating him. Not only was he stupid to act so unprofessionally on the job, but it really came across like he was in a hurry to move things along physically, so that when he DID take me out, maybe he could move right to second base or something. Not cool.

    Like

  43. Alex November 12, 2014 at 13:05 #

    i want to see that full 10 hours. i counted about 3 instances of actual harassment, and one of instance of a guy either trolling or being weird. also, winks don’t fucking count. not on their own anyways

    Like

  44. Spaniard November 12, 2014 at 15:57 #

    You lost interest in him cuz he ask you: “may I kiss you?”. Very nice guy.
    He should just try.
    Then… who knows. 🙂

    Like

  45. That_Susan November 12, 2014 at 17:57 #

    I lost interest because he obviously didn’t care about being professional on the job, and I can’t respect someone like that. What would you think, for example, if you were a parent and your child’s schoolteacher tried to kiss you at the end of a parent-teacher conference? Or if your doctor or lawyer, or someone waiting on you in a restaurant, or checking you into a hotel, tried that?

    Well, based on some of the things that you’ve written, maybe you’d be totally cool with all of that — but in the U.S., most of us lose respect for people who don’t care enough about doing a quality job to act professionally.

    Like

  46. Richard Olsen November 12, 2014 at 22:16 #

    I’ve got to say, as a gay male, I have felt threatened at times on the streets. Unlike hysterical feminists though, there’s a good reason for that fear. I have been chased through a park once, by a group of teenagers, just for holding my then husbands hand, walking to a friends place to help them clean up before moving.

    I have had abusive comments hurled at me by “straight” men driving past. In one occasion, it was because I was wearing platform heels at around age 15. I know, I know, platform shoes, mid 90’s, big mistake. What a fashion faux pas! I’ve also had men drive past in the gay areas of Sydney, screaming abuse, not particularly at me, but to any gay men. It can really feel threatening. After all, you don’t know when one of them might get out of their car and randomly beat one of you. I’ve even had police officers hurl homophobic insults while driving past.

    So, excuse me, if I see no problem with people wolf whistling. In comparison, a stranger saying hello, is hardly what I’d call threatening. If they feel threatened by something so innocuous, I suggest that they have a problem with men, rather than the men having problems with women.

    Now, stalking people, that’s just creepy. But then, the other day, I was walking with a friend towards the shopping centre. There are always people in the mall area outside, trying to illicit donations, or convert you to a religion. This young woman tried to engage us both in conversation. We were clearly not interested, she wouldn’t take the hint that we were. I eventually had to tell you clearly, we’re too busy, my polite way of saying piss off, you’re stalking me.

    Like

  47. Spaniard November 13, 2014 at 10:36 #

    Well, the nurse-patient flirt is a classic: “Farewell to arms”, “An American werewolf in London”…

    Like

  48. That_Susan November 13, 2014 at 15:12 #

    I never said that there WEREN’T some people willing to jeopardize their careers or work records by acting unprofessionally — I’m just saying that I don’t have any respect for that kind of behavior. I’m not saying that I can’t respect and sympathize with some of the PEOPLE who are so desperate that they’re willing to put everything on the line to pursue a relationship with someone, anyone, who’s shown an interest in them (though I have less sympathy for the ones who do it not out of desperation but just because they don’t give a shit about their jobs or the image of the company they’re representing, or in the case of people in counseling or caregiving relationships, about the people who are relying on them for help and are often in a very vulnerable state),

    When I used to work in a halfway house for ex-convicts, I became friends with a nurse who lost her job, and for the length of time that I knew her was unable to find another one, because she became involved with one of our clients when he had to spend some time in the hospital where she worked.

    She was a nice person, a very lonely divorced older woman who genuinely loved and wanted to help this man. They ended up marrying and inviting me to the wedding, but the marriage didn’t work out because he was an alcoholic and wasn’t ready to stay sober. I lost touch with her when she moved to another state to live with her mother; she eventually gave up on finding anyone who’d hire her.

    When you reach a certain age, and don’t have good references (she obviously couldn’t use her previous employer as a reference), it’s near impossible to find a good job. I think these situations look a lot more glamorous in movies and sitcoms than they are in real life.

    So on the one hand, I’m obviously able to be a friend to and care about someone willing to totally screw up their career — but at the same time, I don’t see someone like that as a good partner for ME.

    Like

  49. Aphrodite November 16, 2014 at 13:30 #

    You’ve probably seen this video then, referred to by maggie mcneill : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZTHDPdk0Gg

    Like

  50. That_Susan November 16, 2014 at 14:00 #

    That’s an interesting video and a very cute, smart girl. As a white female who used to do a TON of walking by myself when I was younger, I can probably count actual incidences of street harassment on the fingers of one hand. There was only one case where I actually felt a little bit threatened because some guy started following me, yelling “Hey bitch!” but I just kept walking really fast, knowing it was broad daylight, lots of people were around, and I could dart into a shop or something if I felt too threatened. He gave up following me after a couple of blocks.

    The closest I came to being harassed by police was when an officer stopped me to question me about why I was doing my regular afternoon walk on my lunch hour; the company I worked for was located in a part of the city where there was lots of open prostitution and drug dealing…it was the first and only time in my life that I was asked to show my ID while walking out on the street, and I didn’t have it with me, but he was able to verify my information by checking my address, and just warned me that I should be careful because there were lots of prostitutes in that part of town.

    That was funny; I was never harassed by any prostitutes! I’d smile and say hi to them and they’d say hi back; they didn’t seem to mind my being there as I kept walking and clearly wasn’t competing for their business. All the men slowing their cars down and tooting their horns took a bit of getting used to, but I learned that if I kept walking briskly and didn’t turn to look at them, they’d move along till they found a woman who’d run up to their car and get in.

    Like

  51. cesarbrie November 17, 2014 at 04:52 #

    You have restored my faith in humanity for today. Keep up with the great work, your blog’s awesome.

    Like

  52. Jennifer November 19, 2014 at 04:02 #

    I am so guilty of calling guys sweetie. I think it’s because I am 50 and my sons are in their mid 20s and that is what I call them! One time I called a clerk “Sug” as in Sugar when he helped me with something and I thought, I sound like my grandma!

    Like

  53. That_Susan November 19, 2014 at 14:54 #

    It’s nice to see another 50-year-old woman on here! It is very interesting that at our ages, we can call a young man “honey” or “sugar” and no one thinks we’re being predatory or demeaning. I personally have never gotten offended by a man using one of those casual endearments towards me…

    But maybe if the Internet had been a thing when I was young and I’d grown up reading some parts of the manosphere (link below), I’d be suspicious of all men like many young women are today. Reading that stuff now doesn’t phase me as much because I’ve known so many really good men in my life that I realize the men in this article are just one tiny subset of the male population.

    I also think, in contrast to what the author of the article says, that the world I experience today is in many ways much kinder to me than the one I experienced at 20. It’s true that I don’t get the same amount of male attention while out walking down the street (I also don’t get the same negative attention that I got from some male classmates who thought I was a “dog” and threw spitwads at me) — but I think because I’m less self-centered and think more about how other people are doing, and smile at people when I pass them on the street, I pretty much still see the world smiling back at me and caring about me, too.

    It’s probably true that young, pretty women are going to have some people wanting to spend time with them even if they’re totally self-absorbed and selfish, while the rest of the world has to actually BE a friend in order to have friends — but that’s not exactly a bad thing. The world is much more interesting when we can forget about ourselves and start paying attention to other people and to the world beyond our immediate circle.

    http://www.returnofkings.com/30883/the-awesome-temporary-power-of-young-attractive-women

    Like

  54. Emelio Lizardo November 19, 2014 at 21:24 #

    You ask what the end game is. It’s the removal of men from society. The removal of children from the family to the state. The state definition of relationships.

    Think that’s extreme? Read the California ‘yes means yes’ law. What it does is expropriate from the individual the right to define their relationship with another. It takes away all choice.

    It is, a war on gender itself. Outward sexual identity will be erased.

    With the artificial womb and bio printers that could make a viable zygote, the industrialization of reproduction is in sight. Which the state will own.

    That’s the future consequences of breaking humanity away from its biology.

    Like

  55. karenmcfly November 19, 2014 at 22:09 #

    That is one excellent article! Nice to hear that you have visited Germany and how aptly you have observed that no one talks to anyone here. That’s what Germans go to the US for. Not seriously, but during my studies of English and American Literature and Culture I shared one experience with my fellow students and even lecturers: coming back from the US where people are soooooo friendly and having a culture shock because in Germany people on the streets pretend that other people do not exist. So, I found it very weird when the BBC was reporting on that Hollaback video, claiming that this is what women experience in major cities around the world. Absolute BS!

    Also, I would like to add to the list of countries that you have given: Pakistan, where I traveled for 6 weeks, two years ago. I wasn’t out and about that much as I was with my friend from there, stayed with her family and was never far from a car for security precautions as the current threat from terrorism is felt quite severely there. However, I did have interactions with men and those were 100% respectful and polite. Even on the crowded Sunday Bazaar nobody approached me in any way. Guys didn’t stare at me either. They looked just as many women did and were genuinely happy to see a tourist in their country that is feared around the world these days.

    Like

  56. karenmcfly November 19, 2014 at 22:17 #

    Reblogged this on Ice-cream in Pakistan and commented:
    That is one excellent article by Janet Bloomfield on the sexist and racist hollaback video! Contains basically everything that I have wanted to say for the past few weeks but didn’t find time to. She even includes her experience of visiting Germany 🙂 where she very aptly observed that no one talks to anyone here. That’s what Germans go to the US for. Not seriously, but during my studies of English and American Literature and Culture I shared one experience with my fellow students and even lecturers: coming back from the US where people are soooooo friendly and having a culture shock because in Germany people on the streets pretend that other people do not exist. So, I found it very weird when the BBC was reporting on that Hollaback video, claiming that this is what women experience in major cities around the world. Absolute BS!
    I added to her list of countries this one:
    “Also, I would like to add to the list of countries that you have given: Pakistan, where I traveled for 6 weeks, two years ago. I wasn’t out and about that much as I was with my friend from there, stayed with her family and was never far from a car for security precautions as the current threat from terrorism is felt quite severely there. However, I did have interactions with men and those were 100% respectful and polite. Even on the crowded Sunday Bazaar nobody approached me in any way. Guys didn’t stare at me either. They looked just as many women did and were genuinely happy to see a tourist in their country that is feared around the world these days.”

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Let’s talk about street harassment | Manosphere.com - November 10, 2014

    […] Let’s talk about street harassment […]

    Like

  2. The Sexual Harassment Quagmire: Digging Out With True Equality | My "Male Side" To Gender Issues. Member of NCFM.org Since 1985. - November 12, 2014

    […] The previous four paragraphs were posted as a comment at the end of the excellent JudgyBitch.com piece “Let’s talk about street harassment.” […]

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  3. Was eine Amerikanerin in Deutschland zur Belästigung auf der Straße zu sagen hat | FreieWelt.net - November 21, 2014

    […] is one excellent article by Janet Bloomfield on the sexist and racist hollaback video! Contains basically everything that I […]

    Like

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