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Viral video documents New York street harassment

By DEEPTI HAJELA
From Associated Press
October 29, 2014 8:30 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) — A video recording the comments a woman hears as she walks around the nation's biggest city is a testament to the pervasiveness of street harassment women face, its creators said Wednesday.

The comments come continuously as the woman walks through the streets of Manhattan — "What's up, Beautiful?" and "Smile!" — and there's even a stretch when a man just silently walks right next to her for several minutes.

The video, shot over 10 hours one day in neighborhoods all over the borough and edited down to a 2-minute final product, has set off a storm of outrage on its way to more than 10 million views since it was released online Tuesday.

"This is having a very serious impact on the way we live our lives," said Emily May, executive director of Hollaback!, the anti-street harassment organization that put out the video.

The footage, which was shot and edited by Rob Bliss, was captured by a camera Bliss had in his backpack as he walked several feet of front of actress Shoshana Roberts, who was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and walked silently along.

At no point did Roberts make eye contact with any of the men she passed or talk to any of them. That didn't stop the comments from coming. When she didn't respond, one man told her, "Somebody's acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say thank you more!"

Roberts said the number of comments the day the video was shot was nothing out of the ordinary for her.

"The frequency is something alarming," she said.

Martha Sauder, walking on a Manhattan street on Wednesday, agreed that street harassment is a problem and said it happens to her frequently.

"It's inappropriate. It's like an invasion of your space," she said. "I'd like it to stop."

But the video also has faced some online criticisms, among them that the men shown all seem to be minorities. Bliss and Roberts emphasized that the comments came from all racial groups, and Bliss said some interactions that were filmed couldn't be used for reasons like the audio was disrupted by passing sirens.

"My experience, what we documented, it was from everybody," Roberts said.

Another criticism was that some men's comments seemed innocuous: "Good morning," ''Have a nice day."

Some men could have been "genuinely being nice," said Gerard Burke, a Brooklyn resident who readily acknowledged street harassment exists and has seen it happen to women in his family. He said he thought the video shed light on a bigger problem, "but some people just genuinely want to say hello."

That's the problem with street harassment, May said, because when there's a fear that a simple good morning could escalate into sexual comments or actions, there's a reluctance to engage at all.


So what? Now you can't even try and talk to a woman on the street? I get that there are perverts and weirdos but this **** is ****ing ridiculous. They make it sound like every guy is a predator.

John
 

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That's the problem with street harassment, May said, because when there's a fear that a simple good morning could escalate into sexual comments or actions, there's a reluctance to engage at all.
This is the problem in a nutshell. We are in a society now that actively teaches that any interaction with a woman is a potential sexual harassment. While there are those who will catcall and just be assholes in general, what is the point of teaching people that EVERY interaction is sexual harassment? If I'm having a good day and see someone look at me, I'll smile and say Hi, or Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening. That is not sexual harassment, nor even flirting.

Also, the video is heavily edited from 10 hours to 2 minutes. It's pretty damn easy to get 2 minutes of "harassment" out of 600 minutes in a city like New York.
 

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I grew up in a family with 5 boys and no girls. We were all dicks with a macho Dad that was Sergeant during the Vietnam war. I say this because my house was filled with testosterone, fights, comments and all. Until I had my daughter, I had no idea in the slightest how to perceive the world from a females point of view.

Let me tell you, as my daughter grew up and I started to see, it was a shocking eye opener. Even when she was 3 years old, I can tell you stories of gross old men in grocery stores eye balling my daughter in obvious ways. As she got into her teen years, it was unbelievable. I have actually been with her when men make comments and its disturbing. Guys need to learn to shut the **** up. Men need to act like men and leave a lady alone. Walking next to a woman for minutes making her uneasy is sick. If you say good morning to a woman who makes eye contact, there isnt a woman out there thats going to cry foul. However, say stupid **** to her and she has the right to be pissed. Insist that a woman acknowledge you stating she is beautiful is **** for losers. Life isnt witty like in the Hollywood movies. That woman is somebodys daughter, mother, WIFE, sister and men need to remember to respect that. Dont make my daughter feel uncomfortable because if Im around, your ass is getting kicked. Guys really need to grow up and respect a womans space, privacy and right to walk on a street without being ****ed with.

To your point Woodman...I agree that its easy to edit down to get 2 mins of **** especially in NY where there are more douche bags in general. In our area, it doesnt happen often at all thankfully. However, it shouldnt ever happen.
 

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I agree JA. I have a 2 1/2 year of daughter, and I cringe thinking about that kind of **** that she will have to deal with in 20 years. It made me look at it differently too, although I never did any cat calling or any other stupid bull **** like that. I always thought that was disrespectful.

I blame it all on popular culture that glorifies the act. Rap songs exploit women in nearly every song, and we'll as hip hop songs. The movies glorify cat calling as well. Obviously if you grow up with respect for others, you don't do this. But with the rise of broken families out there, and the amount of families that don't give a ****, you're bound to see more ****ed up people entering society. The element of "family" just isn't there anymore. Kids cussing their parents out, etc. My parents were never overly strict, but I respected, and still do respect them fully. I am 25 years old and I still don't swear in front of my parents. They wouldn't care, but it's just a respect thing. I've had them slip out before and I felt like I did something wrong.

People don't have respect for each other like they once did. And to me it all start with the upbringing.
 

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found the video:



on an unrelated note, 16 million views in 2 days? that's not fishy at all........

---------- Post added at 01:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:48 PM ----------

i also can't wait for the hundreds of parody videos that will be made
 

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Hate to generalize on this but men seem to be more verbal and upfront with their interest when it comes to this and females often sit back and sometimes just give eye contact, throw signs or tell friends that they have interest in a male. I have been around quite a few dudes that have done that to a female in a public setting I personally haven't approached a female like that.

People have their various ways of trying to get the opposite genders attention if they are not grabbing their ass and being like "hey sexy a$$ bit$% get that a$$ over here so I can holla atcha" then I don't find it too disrespectful as long as they are not crowding their space, they are being respectful in what they are saying and both people are within the right age.

Like I said though females just have different ways of trying to get males attention quite a few of them do it by starring. Others by talking with friends. My ex wife dealt with it in our first unit we were in different platoons but there were quite a few females in that unit and some talk and she came to blows at least three times. My current wife heard talk while we were in Germany together but she is far less confrontational than my 1s wife was. So imo females are just not as upfront as males are in there interest that doesn't meant that those interest = harassment. Once it gets past a certain point then it can.

On that other topic all of my kids are girls none of them teens yet 10,4,and 2 but that convo kinda veers down another path imo. Anyway I guess upbringing does kinda make a difference on a lot of this stuff. I was taught to respect the female and she should also respect me and don't just bring anyone home. The only females that have met my parents are my H.S. girlfriend, ex wife, and my current wife anyone else that i kinda dated in between and i felt that it wasn't going anywhere didn't speak to or meet my parents or oldest daughter. And Derrick you nailed it I don't swear around my parent either its still sir and ma'am around ALL of the elder's with the entire family aunts and uncles. Regardless of my upbringing my issue has always been a short fuse and for various reasons as I got older it's gotten a bit worse.

Anyway the wife and I will teach/guide our daughters on how to deal with this topic at hand over time and at the same time not be disrespectful that way they avoid being in a hostile situation.
 

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I was never a catcaller. I am from Texas, so I am a HUGE flirt, but I can't say I've ever made a woman uncomfortable. My attitude is, flirt, if she flirts back, continue. If she doesn't, back off and leave her be. I never made rude statements in public, or expected them to acknowledge my obscenely heavy handed compliments, but I think that comes with having respect for others and being able to consider how what I say may make them feel. Many, many people do not have that seemingly simple ability, and sadly in groups they reinforce those bad behaviors and teach them to others when women with self esteem problems or other issues respond and allow that behavior.

I work hard to teach my now 9 year old daughter to have self respect and respect for others. Some things she doesn't seem to get, and I hope I can lead by example. When she reaches dating age, I and my wife will try to guide her, but we'll see how that goes too.
 

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No one really speaks to my wife or says anything about my daughter when I'm with them out in public. Of course that has nothing to do with the 9mm I open carry most days...
 

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The guy walking next to hear for 5 minutes, that would concern me a little bit.

Other than that, I didn't see anything that bad. There were people that were upfront and forward. I don't really agree with it, but I wouldn't call it harassment.
 

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That's what I thought too. The guy walking next to her was creepy as hell. Some of them literally just said "Hi" and "have a nice day" though.
 

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I dont know man. Have a nice day is one thing and ok but as a man you must conduct yourself as one and not a "boy". A woman who makes ZERO eye contact with you and is going about her business doesnt need someone "calling her out" and questioning her reasoning as to why "she aint acknowledging her". Its ****ing sexist. Its like Im a man and its your job as a submissive female to bow down to me right now and give me attention. Its not necessarily the context of the comments....its the attitude that comes with the comments. I keep putting myself in my daughters shoes...if it would make her uncomfortable for any reason at all EVEN if the reason is not justified, then it shouldnt be done. If a dude really thinks he's going to get laid or otherwise make progress with a woman who CLEARLY has another agenda besides paying attention to some buttfuck on the street, then he needs to rethink his whole approach. If woman dont like it....dont do it! Ive been married for 20 some years. I was "shown" by my father how to treat a woman in a less than perfect environment. It doesnt matter what we think as masculine turds....if they dont like it, stop rationalising it and DONT DO IT.
 

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Doesn't mean I agree with what's going on. Its disgusting. I was just saying some of them were not over the top.
 

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I dont know man. Have a nice day is one thing and ok but as a man you must conduct yourself as one and not a "boy". A woman who makes ZERO eye contact with you and is going about her business doesnt need someone "calling her out" and questioning her reasoning as to why "she aint acknowledging her". Its ****ing sexist. Its like Im a man and its your job as a submissive female to bow down to me right now and give me attention. Its not necessarily the context of the comments....its the attitude that comes with the comments. I keep putting myself in my daughters shoes...if it would make her uncomfortable for any reason at all EVEN if the reason is not justified, then it shouldnt be done. If a dude really thinks he's going to get laid or otherwise make progress with a woman who CLEARLY has another agenda besides paying attention to some buttfuck on the street, then he needs to rethink his whole approach. If woman dont like it....dont do it! Ive been married for 20 some years. I was "shown" by my father how to treat a woman in a less than perfect environment. It doesnt matter what we think as masculine turds....if they dont like it, stop rationalising it and DONT DO IT.
I have to ask, have you been to NYC? I cannot say I'm a regular or super familiar with the city, but I have been there several times. As a guy, I've had other people talking to me as I was walking down the road. A lot of the times it's someone trying to get you to respond to them and then they're going to try to sell you something. It's a completely different culture then where I live. If I'm in my hometown walking down the street, no one is going to say anything to me. But walk down the streets of NYC and SOMEONE is going to say something to you and it doesn't matter if you're a guy/girl.

I'm not saying it's something I would do, but I don't think it's anything close to harassment.
 

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Doesn't mean I agree with what's going on. Its disgusting. I was just saying some of them were not over the top.
I know how you are 86....grabbin titties and ass as you walk down the street. Dont lie. You too Sonic. Smackin random girls with your pecker on their forehead until they make "eye contact" with your one eye.

Ive never been to NY City. I grew up in Detroit and lived in Chicago, Toledo, worked in Cleveland and been here around TB for a decade. The crazy thing is that those big cities still dont compare to the culture in NY. I totally believe its different. In fact, it almost seems like that type of behavior is somehow more acceptable there.
 

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I can see that. I have never been to NYC. I have been to Chicago, but it's not the same.

In Chicago, the men are too fat and too concerned with their next sausage. They "cat call" at the food carts not the ladies.
 

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Okay, well I DO live in NYC, and as a man, catcalling is ****ing RIDICULOUS. It makes my blood boil and my stomach churn. You have no right to harass a woman walking down the street minding her own ****ing business. Mind your own ****ing business and just keep walking. If you see a girl you find attractive and you want to ask her out on a date, walk up to her, and politely ask her on a date. Don't whistle at her, don't call her sexy, nothing. It's not your place.

My female friends in the city deal with this every day, and I've gotten in yelling fights at construction workers/city workers/stoop sitters/rando's over cat calling a friend of mine while she's next to me.

**** needs to stop. Catcalling is harassment. If you have something to say, be polite, be a gentleman, and ask her out. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut.
 

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Okay, well I DO live in NYC, and as a man, catcalling is ****ing RIDICULOUS. It makes my blood boil and my stomach churn. You have no right to harass a woman walking down the street minding her own ****ing business. Mind your own ****ing business and just keep walking. If you see a girl you find attractive and you want to ask her out on a date, walk up to her, and politely ask her on a date. Don't whistle at her, don't call her sexy, nothing. It's not your place.

My female friends in the city deal with this every day, and I've gotten in yelling fights at construction workers/city workers/stoop sitters/rando's over cat calling a friend of mine while she's next to me.

**** needs to stop. Catcalling is harassment. If you have something to say, be polite, be a gentleman, and ask her out. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut.

Very eloquently said!lol! I agree.
 

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I agree that catcalling is immature but to label it as harrassment? Sorry but I think that is going a bit far. I agree that morons that do what the idiot that hung around the model for 5 minutes did is inappropriate but I still wouldn't label it as harrassment. Is it annoying? **** yeah but they're not touching her or anything. I realize those of you with daughters are extra sensitive because, well, you're men so you have a first hand view of what the intent USUALLY is but when someone says "Good Morning" or is flirty it gets labeled as harassment?

I just don't see it.

John
 
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