La La How The Life Goes On

Cocktober

Posted on: October 31, 2014

If you haven’t seen it, here is the viral video taking The Intertubes by storm. It’s a compilation of the street harassment one woman receives in one day.

The response has been as expected. Women go, “Yep.” Some men go, “What?! This happens?!” And other men lose their damn minds and attack the woman, the video, the organization behind the video, the “racism” in the video, anything they can grasp as a way of discrediting the message.

Among the less-psycho, less-misogynist responses has been, “They were just saying hello! What’s so awful about telling a lady she is pretty?!” The men who offer this as a response usually say something like, “I would love a woman to come up to me and ask me out!”

And that is the root of all misunderstanding here.

Guys, when you imagine yourself in this video, the point is not that you are being approached by hot women you’d love to fuck. Instead, picture yourself in this video being spoken at presumptuously by another man. Physically larger than you to the extent that you know he could take you with a punch or two. A man you do not know but who somehow thinks he has a right to your time and attention simply because he’s got something to say. Ask yourself honestly if you would be all, “oh, he’s just being friendly!” if a guy walked next to you for 5 full minutes, staring at you. I guarantee it wouldn’t get to Minute 2 before some kind of “what the fuck is your problem?” exchange occurred. Right? And why? BECAUSE THIS IS NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR!

But because I’m a woman and some guy I don’t know feels compelled to say something to me, I owe him my time? My politeness? My phone number? I don’t owe a random man on the street anything that you don’t. And that’s the bottom line. This is gross behavior. It is often threatening behavior. If you disagree, please replace the woman in this video with your wife or daughter. Then tell her to lighten up. After all, a strange man twice her size talking about her sweet ass is just being friendly! That guy following her for 10 blocks because he feels entitled to a response from her? Son in Law material! That guy telling her she should “acknowledge me” because he is telling her she’s beautiful? OF COURSE your daughter should acknowledge him. After all, he is a man and he is saying something. This automatically deserves a woman’s “acknowledgement.” Irrelevant that they don’t know each other. Irrelevant that she has no interest in his opinion of her beauty. It’s all irrelevant. He is a man and he is talking. Who does she think she is to ignore him? Well, she’s every bit the human YOU are as a man. Do you feel like you owe some random strange guy your “acknowledgment” just because he’s talking? Do you feel like you owe some random strange guy a “smile” or a “thank you” because he has decided to say something to you? OF COURSE YOU DON’T. And yet, we have normalized this expectation towards women.

A ton of guys get it. And yet the reticence to speak out against it seems to stem from a binary sense that it’s either this continues unabated OR no guy can ever compliment a girl ever. DERP! You know the difference, guys. YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. And it has to do with context and consent. YOU KNOW how you’d like a man to speak to your daughter, and I guaran-damn-tee that it ain’t, ‘Giiiiiirrrllll! Sweet ass!” as she walks down a street alone. YOU KNOW how you’d like a man to approach your daughter. And it ain’t walking next to her silently staring for 5 full minutes because he thinks she owes him something. If you’ve ever tried to attract a woman, YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between randomly harassing some strange lady on the street and offering a genuine compliment to a woman you find attractive in a social setting. We all know the difference. Even the men in this video know the difference. And if you doubt me on that, I simply refer you to the existence of exactly ZERO videos of men catcalling a woman accompanied by her giant, ass-kicking military boyfriend.

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