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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Street harassment

One of the more unintentionally funny videos to come out recently is from Hollaback!, a feminist group devoted to ending the sexual harassment of women on the streets. To that end, they used a hidden camera to take this video of a young woman in a t-shirt and jeans walking around the streets of Manhattan for ten hours and having various men make various overtly or vaguely sexual comments.

At the end of the video it says that the verbal street harassment involved "people of all backgrounds." But if you listen to the voices on the video, they're almost exclusively black or Hispanic. (They wouldn't have bothered to include that disclaimer if the evidence of the tape didn't indicate otherwise.)

It's a little funny that while "Hollaback!" is a shortened form of "holler back," this young woman does nothing of the sort. And one has to wonder what sort of reaction she, or other women, would get if they actually hollered back at the men who make such comments.

Personally, I don't see these men as being all that harmful. Some women -- though not the women of Hollaback! -- actually find it flattering. None of those men were about to rape the young woman; she was never in any real danger. The fellow who walked alongside her for five minutes was a little creepy, but even he, at least on a public street, didn't really represent a danger to her. Most of the men were merely obnoxious-but-harmless morons.

Nonetheless, it would be interesting to see the fallout be if all those women who protest about wanting to "take back the streets" -- as if the streets ever belonged to them in the first place -- changed their slogan to "take back the streets from loudmouth black and Hispanic men," which, given the evidence of this video, would not be inaccurate.

(No one is suggesting that white guys never harass women, and the video did capture one white guy who seemed to say "good evening." But for most white guys to act as forward as the young black and Hispanic men on this video, they need to get drunk first.)


Taylor Leland Smith said...

I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure a good half of the shots were from 125th Street in Harlem. At one point she walks passed a "Jimmy Jazz". Only one I know of is on 125th in Harlem.

One shot was on the corner of 125th and Madison. I used to live there, and I actually got harassed by prostitutes on that corner all the time. I don't just meet solicited for business, I mean I couldn't go to the soul food shop on that corner without having my ass grabbed or something. I'm not complaining, just really unsurprised this type of thing happened on that corner.

Also, I do recognize one of the shots as being a dirtier part of Brooklyn.

I think your observation is right. Only minorities behave this way. I have a hard time believing this type of behavior would happen nearly as frequently outside of places like 125th Street.

John Craig said...

Taylor --
I'm certainly not saying ONLY minorities act this way; but they're certainly far more likely to act this way.

This video has actually gotten a fair amount of publicly this past week, and there's been some backlash from people who say that it makes minorities look bad. The maker of the film then said that there were white guys who called out to her too, but that they were out of the frame or had their catcalls drowned out by sirens etc. I have to wonder about that. (There were platy of seemingly disembodied voices on the video as it was shown too.)

Anonymous said...

John, it's interesting that you mention the racial dynamics of the video because that aspect of the video is what the conversation has moved on to. Shocker, I know, as anything that shows a disproportionate number of blacks or Hispanics engaging in negative behavior must be denounced as "Racist!"

The New Republic had an article today asking why the videos producers systematically excluded video of white men catcalling this woman. Never once did TNR suggest the truth -- that black and Hispanic men are far, far more likely to catcall a woman on the streets than white men. As expected, the usual contingent of Leftist Useful Idiots were agreeing that the video was racist.

Notice too that the Liberal media is asking why the producers didn't show more white men harassing the woman. We don't see any Asian men harassing the woman in the video, but the media is not as bent out of shape over the lack of Asian men. As always, the media only looks at race as black vs. white with white always playing the bad guy.

Of course, John, you, I, and any reasonable person know that the video has only one white man and no Asian men because white and Asian men are far less apt to engage in that behavior.

With all that said, I didn't find most of the examples of harassment in that video all that harassing.

- Frank

John Craig said...

Frank --
You've summarized it perfectly. The possibility of a disproportionate number of cat callers being black or Hispanic never seems to occur to the kind of people who write for TNR. They're so brainwashed that reality never seems to intrude into their brains.

The funniest thing about this whole episode is how it pits two liberal sensibilities against each other. The feminists had to trawl through Harlem and Times Square and other places with more minorities in order to run up their numbers and report how horrible it is to be a woman in NYC. But once they did that, they ran up against another liberal sensibility, that which refuses to countenance the possibility of any racial disparity in obnoxious behavior.

Seeing them clash this way is priceless.

And I agree, the guys in the video, with the possible exception of the guy who walked alongside her for five minutes, were harmless.

Anonymous said...


I always enjoy seeing the various victim groups that the Left has gathered under their big tent at each other's throats. We also recently saw it when Bill Maher and Sam Harris spoke uncomfortable truths about Islam. Good luck to them trying to keep the Utopia thay think they're creating from crashing in on itself.

By the way, John, I recently came across your blog and I greatly enjoy reading your keen insights.

- Frank

John Craig said...

Frank --
thank you very much.

Yes, seeing the various groups try to out-pc each other is always a pleasure.

Maher is commonsensical every now and then, though he should never have been allowed to get away with calling that old show of his "Politically Incorrect." He was always far more politically correct than otherwise.

Steven said...

John and Frank,

Another interesting liberal contradiction is that they have a lot of unrestrained contempt towards Christian conservatives for their conservative social and moral positions and at the same time bend over backwards to defend Muslims and Islam, which is probably even more illiberal. It seems that while Muslims are a minority in the west and they (the liberals) don't have a real taste of what Islam is like, their wish to defend a minority is the overwhelming consideration.


I also noticed that they were mostly black and Hispanic. The white guys just happened to be out of shot or drowned out by sirens all the time in a (presumably) white majority city in which they claimed to walk around all neighborhoods.

I have heard, though, that in Italy cat calling is common and a part of Italian culture.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Yes, the hypocrisies abound in liberal thought. The Muslims want to cut the clots off little girls, present them from going to school, and cover them in burkhas; yet the liberals defend them. The liberals here remind me of women with hybristophilia who defend some sociopathic murderer and say that society doesn't understand that he's really a good person.

True, Italy does have that culture. But as I said, I think it's all pretty harmless. I suspect that if you examined this issue more closely you'd find that the women who object to that sort of behavior most vociferously would be the women who don't attract comment on the streets.

Steven said...

yeah, one thing you notice is they are all quite polite. I'm sure some will contend that the racial disapirty here is evidence that black and Hispanic men haven't been as influenced by feminism as white guys and still have their balls.

I'm not sure where I stand on that. Its obviously not cool be rude or lewd but then again they really were mostly polite. Also, I don't think men should be banned from asking for a woman's number in public.

Harassment means repeatedly bothering someone til they feel under pressure by it. One individual isn't harassing her but all of them added up together may add up to an experience of harassment if you are in a bad mental state or something.

The Muslim practices you mentioned are in the most extreme Muslim countries- the burka or girls not going to school are not practiced in most Muslim countries. Also, female genital mutilation is practiced in some non-Muslim countries and curiously not in Saudi Arabia. In any case, Muslim cultures are the most oppressive to women and the top of the gender gap list is dominated by Muslim countries. And the more fundamentalist, the more oppressive to women.

Muslim countries are also very oppressive to homosexuals and intolerant of free thinkers and critics of Islam, as well as apostates. All very illiberal.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Good point, the bar for "harassment" has been lowered so far it's ridiculous. It used to mean someone repeatedly going after a woman after being told in no uncertain terms that she wasn't interested, or someone who leveraged his position of power over the woman to extract favors.

And I agree about numbers, a woman could easily feel intimidated by a whole group of guys making comments at once.

Steven said...

I meant one after the other, but yeah same applies to a group.

Did you see the Bill Maher/Sam Harris run in with Ben affleck?

John Craig said...

Steven --
Oh, okay.

No, but I read about it. Keep in mind, Maher has a couple of competing sensibilities here. He's Jewish, or half-Jewish, so he has that viewpoint coming up against the liberal Muslims-are-just-like-the-rest-of-us meme.

Anonymous said...

it's really “white women taking back the streets from catcalling blacks and Hispanics” – because I doubt that black and Hispanic women would be so un-cool at accepting what is really, for the most part, reasonable, and highly complimentary approaches by men on the street.

This is not universal, here’s an example of the attitude discrepancy from the people I work closely with: a 30ish Hispanic woman, married, commented recently that she wished the work dress code allowed her to dress a little sexier – like a low cut top with a press-up bra (I’m filling in the description based on her gestures and demonstrations). A 52-year-old white woman responded, why would you want to do *that*…. (with obvious disgust). This is not to say there aren’t plenty of white women who dress sexy. But I’d put the Hispanics on a much higher plane there – they love tight jeans and showing off their bosoms.


John Craig said...

Ed --
Agree completely. Black and Hispanic women are in general much more reasonable about that type of thing. Ironically, they're much more like European women that way, whereas American women of European descent can be a little crazy, if they've bought into the more extreme feminist rhetoric.

Steven said...

I don't quite know what you mean. He is anti Islamic because he's Jewish? To be fair to him, Maher has been pretty withering about all the monotheistic religions in the past, hasn't he?

The video is worth a watch. Some really good points are made and its interesting to watch how Affleck reacts.

I like Affleck as a person usually. I often think liberals are pretty nice people, just naive and idealistic on some things, but with good intentions. Their attitude to conservatives is their biggest downside. They are so convinced of their moral high ground. Obviously they aren't a monolithic entity but some are really scornful and full of bile.

Most young people seem to just pick up liberal ideas like a fashion. Did that apply to your kids growing up and where are they with this stuff now?

John Craig said...

Steven --
A lot of Jewish people have a natural antipathy told Muslims because israel is surrounded by Muslim countries, many of which would like to see it wiped off the map.

I saw most of Maher's "Religulous" and while he did make fun of Jewish person, the majority of his bile was for Christians. It wasn't even close to being balanced.

I agree for the most part with you about liberals. I've known plenty, most are harmless, decent enough people, just naive, as you say.

My son was never a liberal, has pretty much despised them since his days of seeing kids who wore Che t-shirt in high school. My daughter is more mixed, belonged to Amnesty International in h.s., but seems to be turning in a more conservative direction these days. Thankfully, both have common sense.

Pam said...

I can't believe a bunch of guys are sitting here talking about cat calls on the New York streets. I am older now, but I was an attractive blonde model that had to walk the New York streets years ago. I didn't go up into Harlem, but I did not appreciate slobbering men calling out stuff. All I really remember is the construction workers saying stuff, and I don't think they were necessarily Black or Hispanic. Honestly, I think the majority of them were white. It is just gross. I am not some flaming feminist. I wouldn't have modeled. Remember the truck driver in Thelma and Louise (they weren't feminists) and what happened to him? Ha, ha...