Has anyone out there heard of the Hollaback campaign? It is a movement to end street harassment, and I for one say where have you been all my life! I had never heard of this campaign until the other day I saw this little video on a gossip blog. The video is a little under two minutes long, and it shows a girl who walks around various streets in Manhattan for about ten hours. Needless to say, she deals with a lot, and the video is very short, so I can only imagine how she felt at the end of that long day! The video is disturbing, yet unfortunately if you are a woman, the video will probably feel very familiar. What really disturbed me was the comment section for the video. Wow, I can assume some of the comments are standard troll type comments, but I have to assume some are honest opinions, and a lot of very negative comment from women, which really blew my mind. Women were commenting that by a man simply saying hi, and have a nice day is perfectly innocent, and that normal woman like the attention! My thought on that is it is fine for the "normal" woman to want sleazy attention, but it is also okay for us freaks to walk down the street and not want sleazy attention. For most of my adult life I have been reamed when I have spoken up in frustration at street harassment. I've heard it all, "you should appreciate it now, cause one day you'll be old, and no one will be looking at you"(?), "oh it must be rough being complimented for being pretty"(?!), "I think you're a little oversensitive"(?),and one of my faves, "it's just the way it is"(?). Those are just the comments I can think of off the top of my head. Anyway years ago I stopped saying anything because I felt like I was offending people by having a problem with pervs, and I felt very isolated, because I have had a lot of those types of comments from other women. When I'm walking down the street, and some guy says something generically pervy, something that is one of his "classic lines", it doesn't make the woman feel attractive, or special, as he will be repeating the same line over and over and over to anyone of the female persuasion.
What bothers me the most about street harassment is the bully mentality. You see it a few times in the video where this girl who is alone, is walking by a group of five or more men and they're all being creeps. That is just not okay. But, judging by the comment section, it's just part of being a woman, and not to mention, how else are these poor guys going to meet women!
I thought street harassment was bad in Seattle, but the city I live in now, where racism and sexism prevail, it's really bad. When the weather permits I like to walk to my Co-op and avoid the bus. Well there is one stretch of road that is very mill like. There is very rarely any normal traffic, it's mostly trucks with freight(?) and what not, and there have been a few times that I have felt fearful in a Deliverance kind of way, and I walk a whole different way home to avoid what I will now call Perv stretch. I've learned to make jokes and make light of it in my head so I don't explode, but the real truth is that it is scary, and tiresome, and dammit I walk to get to places, not so men can leer and tell me to smile, than call me a bitch or the c word when I don't do what they want. If I could have an open and honest dialogue with men who do this stuff, I would ask them if they have a mother, sister, aunt, any female in their life that they care about and respect, and how would they feel if they knew this female that they care for feels so unsafe and picked on just foe walking down the street?
I wonder what it is about our culture that is so against change and progress, and more importantly why are we so resistant to fair and equal rights roe EVERYONE.
Anyway wow I babbled enough, I guess I have some pent up frustrations! If you have the time, check out the video, it's very interesting. It is hollaback street harassment on YouTube, and they also have a very informative website, hollaback.org. I for one am a supporter!!