Lemme Holler at this Street Harassment Trending Topic

Street harassment has become a hot button topic of late ever since this YouTube video “Woman Walking in NYC for 10 Hours & Getting Harassed” went Ebola-level viral and spawned thousands of spoofs, parodies, and reaction videos. As luck would NOT have it, Gothamist had been planning to do this exact same style video as part of our exclusive 5-part series with them. I’ve got the emails and Google spreadsheet to prove it. Instead, someone else got the jump on ’em and Gothamist had to call an audible and I have to say the end result would make Peyton Manning proud. OMAHA!

Gothamist went with “person on the street” interviews to capture why men do what they do and what women endure. I’ve watched the “Woman Walking” YouTube video and I have a few notes:

  1. As part of this social experiment, the woman was not allowed to talk or respond in any way. Uh. What? If “No Means No” then why not just say “No” to each of these advances? I agree that ignoring someone is sometimes the best policy, but in many instances you’re leaving the door wide open for more attention.
  2. Can we take a good hard look at who is catcalling and/or “harassing”? The guys who are watching this video are not the guys who are doing this. The guys IN this video will never watch this video AND if they do, they won’t give a good goddam shit.
  3. There are thousands, nay, MILLIONS of women who would “literally die” if a dude hollered at ’em. I personally know girls who thrive on catcalls and have a LOT of fun with it.

So, what’s my point? I’m not entirely sure you’re gonna end street harassment until it comes with heavy fines or jail time. Is this video for people who witness the catcalling and harassment to immediately report the offenders to the police? Are we supposed to intervene and stop it?

To me, it’s a product of the culture the offenders are raised within. Lemme holla atcha, girl! Let that woman walk for 10 hours in Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, LA and see what kind of results you get. Don’t walk her through the worst parts of town.

I’ve only been harassed / aggressively “catcalled” (is it “dogcalled” when it happens to guys) less than a handful of times. Each time, I blush like a little cartoon lamb, clam up worse than a catch at Long John’s, and either engage because I like the “offender” or politely / jokingly deflect because I’m not interested. I once had a gay man come on REAL strong in 6-inch heels and torn stockings at a Halloween party in 2002. I’m not saying the feeling doesn’t royally suck, I just don’t know what the answer is. I believe there’s progress being made, it’s just gonna be a few generations down the road before we’ve scrubbed the Earth of the scourge of the Earth.

Cue TLC’s “No Scrubs”…

“We hit the streets of New York City to ask men why they harass women with obnoxious come-ons and stupid noises.”


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