Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ten hours of walking in NYC as a woman

"In August 2014, Rob Bliss of Rob Bliss Creative reached out to Hollaback! to partner on a PSA highlighting the impact of street harassment. He was inspired by his girlfriend — who gets street harassed all the time — and Shoshana B. Roberts volunteered to be the subject of his PSA. For 10 hours, Rob walked in front of Shoshana with a camera in his backpack, while Shoshana walked silently with two mics in her hands."

The comments on YouTube are pretty disgusting. Most along the lines of "but they were just saying have a nice day". So this video also works as "What it's like being a woman on the Internet". Now she's getting rape threats.

Alex Alvarez tackles the Relax, it's a compliment argument:

To anchor this more concretely, consider the behavior of the men in the video. Take a look at how they seek the woman out to wish her a good morning, despite her not having made eye contact or shown any interest in talking to them. Take a look at how they’re not wishing a good morning to any other person, particularly male people, also walking around. The woman is walking directly behind the man filming her (the camera is hidden in his backpack), and not one of the men shown in the video are seen to be greeting him and wishing him a good day. Just her.

Why is this?

It’s because they don’t care, really whether she has a good day or not. What they care about is letting her know that they have noticed her — her hair, her face, her body, her outfit. They want her to notice that they’ve noticed, and they want her to notice them, however fleetingly.

I’ve had men wish me a good morning by looking me in the eyes and smiling, their tone light and pleasant. And I return the sentiment. And I’ve also had men wish me a good morning with their eyes tracking my body, resting on whatever they like the most. I can hear the growl in their voices, like a small, untamed animal living at the back of their throats. And I don’t say anything back.

I mean. Would you?

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