Street Harassment


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This morning, my girlfriend got dressed up for Halloween. The outfit is demure, not that it should matter, but it seems relevant to mention.

On her way to work, some people called out their car window at her. She seems resigned to this kind of thing, but I've been seeing a lot of media about street harassment lately, and I got to wondering.

I guess I'm just too cynical.

I feel like the the only change would be effected by making a(*&^les somehow not be as*&$es.

It may be defeatist, but I really do believe that this kind of behavior has to be anticipated. I think it has a lot to do with my social status as a child... I take it as given that you need to avoid people for that kind of reason. It's the same impulse that has kids throwing rocks at other kids because of how they look and act, only the rocks are judgments.

The idea that you could ever wring contrition out of the kind of bully who accosts strangers strikes me as extremely naive.

I understand that this logic is regarded as contributing to the status quo, and I feel badly about this. But at what point do we leave the truth behind in pursuit of the ideal?


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I posted about this in one of my commie threads three minuts after you posted.

Forgive me, if it looks like I am trying to belittle your girlfriend's experience (I'm not), but I thought I'd cross-post to add to the discussion:

Best example of the racial and class biases of liberal feminism that I'm likely to see this week:

You won’t believe how many times this woman gets harassed in 10 hours.

The Problem With That Catcalling Video

For women's liberation through socialist revolution!


I just read that second article after you posted but before I returned here.

Just confirms the mediated push to address this issue, which is ultimately a good thing, I think. This behavior should be shamed, but...

And here's my cynicism again -- the target of that shaming is a population literally incapable of feeling shame. That's the impetus of the problem, their lack of shame, their lack of empathy.

It seems to me that when the rain starts to pour, you can open an umbrella and protect yourself, or you can rattle your fist at the heavens and beseech the gods to stop the rain.

After a lifetime of exposure to jerks (much of it less insistent than what a woman has to deal with on the street daily) I feel that expecting any change to come, even with publicity, is folly.

And I suppose I'm here looking for someone to convince me otherwise. Hope, anyone?


I think the only viable approach is for the people(men) who aren't actually jerks to not just not participate, but to actively call out the harassment.
The real jerks won't be affected by distant kinds of shaming, but they might be by people on the scene telling them it's not ok. Harder with the ones in cars, of course.


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Hope? Humans are humans. Even if men got trodden down in the dirt, women would act as the new bullies. Change isn't written in our DNA, Mythic Evil Lincoln. All we can do is surround ourselves with good people, to give us a counter-image to the s@&~ that happens in public.


Mrs Gersen used to jog around our neighborhood in Houston, and got catcalls all the time, and mostly just ignored them. Sometimes she'd share the goofiest ones when she'd get home: "I ususally get some kind of 'big booty' comments, but today this one dude just yelled 'You want some dick?'" She seemed amused at their mindless idiocy, rather than necessarily being creeped out.

When I worriedly asked, "Do we need to find someplace safer for you to jog?" she explained that she always stayed along main sidewalks with plenty of people around. Basically, she seemed to feel that it was more or less irrelevant if any of them were "potential rapists" as long as no one was in a position to ever have to find out. Barring that, the catcalls were harmless noise that she could tune out or laugh at, depending on how lame or absurd they were.

To address the Doodle's article, our neighborhood in Houston was apparently very unlike NYC; we had a more or less even mix of black, white, and Hispanic, with a sprinkling of South Asians. She said the black guys were the most vocal about the booty comments, but the Hispanic guys tended to have some of the funniest lines.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

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This is a really excellent comment, that while directed at a specific question, does a good job of explaining why its a problem.

full comment:
"Imagine, for a moment, that a significant portion of the population believed, based on your looks, that if they encountered you in public, you owed them a dollar. These people are total strangers to you, but they believe fervently that any time they see you in public, you are obligated to give them a dollar. They're willing to make polite conversation with you in the hopes that you'll willingly give them the dollar, but if you don't they're willing to follow you down the street and bug you about it until you fork it over. And if even that doesn't work, they're constantly scheming for ways to pick your pocket or steal your stuff in order to get the money that is rightfully owed to them by you and everyone who falls into the category of people like you who have spurned their dollar-seeking advances over the years.

After a lifetime of this, you'd likely be super-annoyed and out of patience with these people, wouldn't you? You'd (rightfully) suspect anyone who tried to chat with you in public of just trying to get their dollar out of you. You might even be afraid of most or all strangers, because you know that they're going to harass you until you hand over your money, and some of them may even get violent. But you'd still have to go out in public sometimes, to work or to buy groceries, and every time you did, someone would try to chat you up or put their hands on you in order to get their dollar. And every one of them would probably say, "why is that guy so angry and nervous? I'm only asking for a dollar, and that's not very much money, and if I take it out of his pocket without him knowing, he probably won't even notice that it's gone." Because they wouldn't be thinking about the thousands of times before that someone has asked you, pestered you, forced you to give up your dollars. They'd only be thinking about themselves, and their need to have their wallets filled by dollars from people like you.

I realize that this may be hard to imagine, but this is the reality of life for many women. A substantial portion of the population believes that they have a right to a woman's attention, and if they don't get it, they get offended, mean, and sometimes even violent. You're just one of many, many men who believe that any woman you like owes you something. It's exhausting and sometimes terrifying to be on the receiving end of that. If your goals involve, in any way, getting this woman to like you or making her happy, your current actions are diametrically opposed to achieving that. And if you're not concerned with the comfort and happiness of other human beings with whom you interact, I suggest that you get some professional help to determine why you view women you like as walking ATMs of attention for you." posted by decathecting

And another good post from reddit in response to the video Doodlebug linked.

full comment:
"Between the original video and the parody one, I see a lot of the same reactions, generally from men. "But that's not catcalling! Lots of people just wanted to say hi or good morning!" "She gets more compliments in 10 hours than I get all year." "How am I supposed to get to know someone if I can't even say hello?" "Ok, maybe being talked to is annoying, but come on...harassment?" and "Oh, yeah, it must be REALLY HARD being attractive." I get it. I understand that when you haven't experienced something, it's hard to understand. So I'd like to give to a brief explanation as to WHY it feels so awful to be shouted at every few minutes while you are just trying to exist in this world.
Let's pretend you have something lots of people want. Maybe you're famous or rich or powerful. In fact, let's go with something lots of people on reddit understand: let's say you're a whiz at computers. You've always been great at them, and when you hit college you finally decided to make it your career.
Of course, people know you're a whiz. When you were in high school, your parents always had you fix their computer, and maybe they made you go over to your grandparents house and teach them how to do simple stuff on it. It wasn't a big deal, and you liked using your skill to make other people happy. It made you feel good to be acknowledged for your talents, too.
But as you've grown, your social circle has widened, and now that it's your career path, everyone knows that you're a whiz. And the requests start coming more often. Your friend thinks he has a virus. Your cousin who you never speak to is having an issue getting his printer to work. A facebook "friend" wants to make a wordpress site and heard you were good at that. Your brother in law just can't get his wireless router set up.
It starts to really grate on you. You recognize a pattern...someone whom you don't talk to that often will send you text, email or facebook message, and it always starts off nicely with the "how are you"s, but within 3 or 4 minutes of small talk they will get to what they really want. You realize that the more you do for people, the more they want; and if you accommodate everyone, you would never have any time for yourself. So you decide to start being more assertive and tell people (nicely) "no."
Well, that was a f!!$ing mistake. There is now hostility in your family because no one can understand why you were so rude to Uncle Joe, it would have just taken you a half hour to set up his new monitor, why would you be such a dick about it? And now you've been unfriended on Facebook by several people, your boss is pissed and you're worried now about job prospects down the line.
You obviously handled that poorly, you think. But you're still unwilling to spend 5-10 hours a week doing favors for people who seem pretty ungrateful, so you just change the way you deal with requests. You don't sign on to social media much anymore, and emails keep getting "lost." You try to ignore as many requests in as many ways as possible, thinking that if you don't say no, people won't get angry. Weeeeell, that was a lost cause. People are just as mad as before. In fact, it seems that the only thing that will make people happy is to do what they're asking...no one seems to care how this impacts you, because they just want what they want when they want it.
This starts to color all of your other interactions. Now, every time an old friend randomly wants to reconnect with you, you get a knot in your stomach. You read emails knowing that at the end of all of the sucking up and small talk, there's a good chance for an ask at the end. And because you've had so many hostile reactions when you tried to stand up for yourself, all of these reactions are now colored with that. Maybe your old middle school crush really is just trying to say hi, but you've been through this before and you know the odds are on the fact that she wants something from you. This is now the way you look at most people. It wears you down. You don't understand why people can't respect your right to just be left alone, and why you can't find a space that is free from all the asks. You know your dread at seeing a simple facebook message seems unreasonable, but damn. If people only understood how many you get, and what it has led to. It's become a big thing in your life somehow, and you f@*&ing hate it.
Now, this little comparison isn't really the best, because it doesn't deal with the actual scary s~@& that women get constantly...being followed in the streets, sometimes with people in cars. A guy walking down the street and putting his arm around you while he starts a conversation. The touching. The slurs of "slut," "c&#@," or "whore" when you ignore someone. The threats. The occasional actual violence.
So yeah, I guess some people see someone saying, "Mmmmmm...good morning, mami!" as a nice greeting. But when it is constant, when it is colored with years of experience, when you JUST WANT TO WALK DOWN THE STREET AND LIVE YOUR LIFE....it is gross. So gross. Someone earlier mocked the fact that it was only 100 example of harassment in 600 minutes. When you have random strangers (an ALL men) talking to you every five minutes, when it seems like they all want something from you and there is no good way to respond to it, a simple twenty minute stroll just becomes exhausting.
Sorry for the length of this, and I doubt anyone will read this novel I've just written, but I wanted to explain why this feels the way the way it does for people who simply can't sympathize. I hope this maybe helps a couple of people understand why even "innocent" interactions feel very charged for the women who experience them." by snazzypantz


Sara Marie wrote:
"Imagine, for a moment, that a significant portion of the population believed, based on your looks, that if they encountered you in public, you owed them a dollar. These people are total strangers to you, but they believe fervently that any time they see you in public, you are obligated to give them a dollar. They're willing to make polite conversation with you in the hopes that you'll willingly give them the dollar, but if you don't they're willing to follow you down the street and bug you about it until you fork it over. And if even that doesn't work, they're constantly scheming for ways to pick your pocket or steal your stuff in order to get the money that is rightfully owed to them by you and everyone who falls into the category of people like you who have spurned their dollar-seeking advances over the years."

I used to live across from the homeless shelter in Troy, NY. This paragraph accurately describes my situation every time I'd step outdoors.


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Wow, I feel bad for females. They're going to be awfully alone if every time someone approaches them to actually engage in social conversation, possibly because they've piqued their interest, possibly just to be pleasant, they think that said person has a nefarious ulterior motive. Maybe it's just me, but the best way you get to know someone is by actual human interaction face-to-face, and that's seemingly not going to be possible with that kind of paranoia. Sad, really.


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lorenlord wrote:
Wow, I feel bad for females. They're going to be awfully alone if every time someone approaches them to actually engage in social conversation, possibly because they've piqued their interest, possibly just to be pleasant, they think that said person has a nefarious ulterior motive. Maybe it's just me, but the best way you get to know someone is by actual human interaction face-to-face, and that's seemingly not going to be possible with that kind of paranoia. Sad, really.

It's a seriously tough issue to navigate because the answer lies in major cultural changes that would take generations to implement if we started working full-effort on it today.

Our culture doesn't accept the idea that women should approach men to initiate a relationship, at least not as a matter of course. Guys learn from a young age that if you wait for a woman you like to come talk to you that you better get used to being lonely. It just won't happen. Guys must take the initiative in getting a woman's attention if they don't expect to be alone. Sure there are exceptions to this, but it holds true as a general rule.

So, if we really want to fix the issue with men over-pursuing women, then we need to address the cultural necessity for men to learn that behavior in the first place.


lorenlord wrote:
Wow, I feel bad for females. They're going to be awfully alone if every time someone approaches them to actually engage in social conversation, possibly because they've piqued their interest, possibly just to be pleasant, they think that said person has a nefarious ulterior motive. Maybe it's just me, but the best way you get to know someone is by actual human interaction face-to-face, and that's seemingly not going to be possible with that kind of paranoia. Sad, really.

But what if you don't want to get to know someone?


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In Seattle we had a brave woman who took video of her attacker. In this case it was a groping incident..

What was alarming was the comment section of the news site. Keyboard warriors arguing with her about ruining this creeps life. She had gone to the police dept and they basically said they could not do anything so she posted it on twitter and other media and somehow magically the Police assigned a detective to her case. A week later the perp was identified as a repeat offender..

Funny how none of the keyboard warriors never showed up to eat crow.


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BigDTBone wrote:

It's a seriously tough issue to navigate because the answer lies in major cultural changes that would take generations to implement if we started working full-effort on it today.

Our culture doesn't accept the idea that women should approach men to initiate a relationship, at least not as a matter of course. Guys learn from a young age that if you wait for a woman you like to come talk to you that you better get used to being lonely. It just won't happen. Guys must take the initiative in getting a woman's attention if they don't expect to be alone. Sure there are exceptions to this, but it holds true as a general rule.

So, if we really want to fix the issue with men over-pursuing women, then we need to address the cultural necessity for men to learn that behavior in the first place.

you are correct, Big. Which is exactly why I said what I said. it's seemingly a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation: you approach her, she is in mode as above, and you don't even get a chance to interact and be social with said gal. That is the sad part.

The catcalls I do find rude and rediculous. And unnecessary. But if a girl is walking down the street and I say hello just to be pleasant (unlike the catcallers in the video for the most part), and I get, what is known in today's society, as "bi$%^faced", I'm not going to be happy just for trying to be pleasant.


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lorenlord wrote:
Wow, I feel bad for females. They're going to be awfully alone if every time someone approaches them to actually engage in social conversation, possibly because they've piqued their interest, possibly just to be pleasant, they think that said person has a nefarious ulterior motive. Maybe it's just me, but the best way you get to know someone is by actual human interaction face-to-face, and that's seemingly not going to be possible with that kind of paranoia. Sad, really.

I can't think of a single time in my life I've every struck up an actual friendship or any kind of relationship with a random stranger passing on the street. Whether that was me trying to start a conversation or them doing it.

Strangely, I'm not awfully alone. I've made friends at work, in school, among my neighbors, through shared activities or shared friends, sometimes even with people I see regularly in stores. You can even go to bars and other places people specifically go to meet people.
The key is we have some other reason to interact.

Approaching women on the street who are on their way somewhere is not a good way to actually make friends. In fact, it's pretty much labeling you as someone to avoid, someone who does have an ulterior motive. You can generally tell what that motive is by the fact that the same people don't make the same overtures to men or even to older women.


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lorenlord wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:

It's a seriously tough issue to navigate because the answer lies in major cultural changes that would take generations to implement if we started working full-effort on it today.

Our culture doesn't accept the idea that women should approach men to initiate a relationship, at least not as a matter of course. Guys learn from a young age that if you wait for a woman you like to come talk to you that you better get used to being lonely. It just won't happen. Guys must take the initiative in getting a woman's attention if they don't expect to be alone. Sure there are exceptions to this, but it holds true as a general rule.

So, if we really want to fix the issue with men over-pursuing women, then we need to address the cultural necessity for men to learn that behavior in the first place.

you are correct, Big. Which is exactly why I said what I said. it's seemingly a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation: you approach her, she is in mode as above, and you don't even get a chance to interact and be social with said gal. That is the sad part.

The catcalls I do find rude and rediculous. And unnecessary. But if a girl is walking down the street and I say hello just to be pleasant (unlike the catcallers in the video for the most part), and I get, what is known in today's society, as "bi$%^faced", I'm not going to be happy just for trying to be pleasant.

Do you say hello to everyone who passes by in the street just "trying to be pleasant", or are you looking specifically for "a chance to interact and be social with said gal"?

In which case, you're part of the problem. The woman walking down the street, not making eye contact or other signs of interest, has her mind on other things and isn't interested in dealing with advances from random strangers. Bear in mind you're probably not the only one looking for that chance with her. She probably has to deal with several every time she walks down the street. Never knowing from the first seemingly innocuous greeting whether you'll be the one following her down the street asking why she won't talk to you or whatever other creepy thing.
If you want to be social with women you don't know, look for a location where women go to do that.


thejeff wrote:

Approaching women on the street who are on their way somewhere is not a good way to actually make friends. In fact, it's pretty much labeling you as someone to avoid, someone who does have an ulterior motive. You can generally tell what that motive is by the fact that the same people don't make the same overtures to men or even to older women.

I was referring to the first story by Sara Marie. The example of the "every person you owe a dollar to that you see IN PUBLIC". Work, school, stores, bars, and other places are perfectly fine for interaction, and not what i was referring to. I wouldnt expect someone to, nor have I ever, strike up a conversation with a random person on the street besides commenting on the weather or to be polite. But in public covers many different situations, and I was commenting on that part of it. If this girl in the vid acts like that in those settings as well, then yes, she will be a lonely person with that look on her face.

And trust me, if women were catcalling men, there would be no video like this. It would meet with MUCH less complaints. it's just one of the many differences in genders. Again, I don't agree with catcalls at all. They meet no societal function whatsoever.Just commenting on said example.


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thejeff,

There's also the problem of mean and women both who pointedly and wilfully ignore the existence of other people, leading to awkward or even potentially dangerous situations. For example, if there's stuff falling onto the sidewalk up ahead from an overhead construction activity, some people get rigidly into the "no eye contact - no acknowledgement" mode so that they'll shove past someone trying to warn them -- I have actually seen this happen.

On a less dangerous but more common note, it's very unfortunate being unable to ever ask directions in public, because people are in such a big hurry not to acknowledge other peoples' existence.

That's just the street. But it should be noted that many people also seem to want to stigmatize speaking to women (or anyone, for that matter) at a convention, at a cafferia, at a bar, at work, etc., etc. (I'm not saying you personally are doing so, only that some do). Which adds an additional layer of difficulties.

In a perfect world, random accostings and catcalls would all cease. Barring that, there should be a way of dealing with them that does not cause basic human interaction in all public places to completely break down.


I think Evil Lincoln said it well. It's hard to shame the shameless.

I would be interesting to see a study of men to catcall. Were they raised in a single parent household? If so did the mother or father have custody? Do they have sisters? Has this ever worked for you?

So many questions...


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thejeff wrote:
Do you say hello to everyone who passes by in the street just "trying to be pleasant", or are you looking specifically for "a chance to interact and be social with said gal"?

If I'm on the sidewalk, and some other guy is on the same sidewalk heading towards me, and there's otherwise no crowd, I'll move a little to one side and tip him a nod, to acknowledge his existence and indicate I'm not a threat. I probably need to stop doing that, because I generally get ignored -- most people (men and women, young and old) stare through me, and try to force me off the sidewalk by not stepping at all to their side of it.

Again, I'm not talking the middle of Manhattan during lunch hour. I get this all over, even in the 'burbs.

At some point, it would be pleasant if people did occasionally try to be pleasant.


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thejeff wrote:

Do you say hello to everyone who passes by in the street just "trying to be pleasant", or are you looking specifically for "a chance to interact and be social with said gal"?

In which case, you're part of the problem. The woman walking down the street, not making eye contact or other signs of interest, has her mind on other things and isn't interested in dealing with advances from random strangers. Bear in mind you're probably not the only one looking for that chance with her. She probably has to deal with several every time she walks down the street. Never knowing from the first...

I usually do say hello or nod my head in a greeting sort of way to anyone i pass that is looking at me, male or female. If anyone says hi, I continue on my way anyways, unless I'm in a situation where a conversation would be warranted and invited.

I wouldn't say I'm part of the problem at all. Being pleasant shouldnt make you part of the problem. If I say hello and they don't reply, oh well, move along. I just thought that you were supposed to not take past bad experiences into the next experience????? But I guess once somene says hello for what is thought of by the girl as ulterior motives, every other person possibly just being pleasant is guilty of doing the same???????


Sara Marie wrote:

Let's say you're a whiz at computers. You've always been great at them, and when you hit college you finally decided to make it your career.

Of course, people know you're a whiz. When you were in high school, your parents always had you fix their computer, and maybe they made you go over to your grandparents house and teach them how to do simple stuff on it. It wasn't a big deal, and you liked using your skill to make other people happy. It made you feel good to be acknowledged for your talents, too.
But as you've grown, your social circle has widened, and now that it's your career path, everyone knows that you're a whiz. And the requests start coming more often. Your friend thinks he has a virus. Your cousin who you never speak to is having an issue getting his printer to work. A facebook "friend" wants to make a wordpress site and heard you were good at that. Your brother in law just can't get his wireless router set up.

Oh... my... God!

Sara Marie has been spying on my life!!! :-O

In all seriousness, best analogy for me I've ever seen -- I refuse to answer the phone or respond to e-mails from "old" friends, because it's *ALWAYS*, "Oh, and I wanted to ask you a computer question."

More on-topic, my limited experience (I am a man, though I don't play one on TV) is that assertiveness and self-confidence doesn't eliminate the catcalls, but makes it easier to ignore them, and reduces some of the worst "stalker" behavior. Yes, some men take assertiveness as an offense and spew venom. But more often than not, I've seen them back down.

The closest I have ever come to on-street violence (many, many years of full-contact Tae Kwon Do in body armor, so I've been kicked in the face a few hundred times) was in Italy. There, the men deemed it perfectly acceptable not just to catcall at women, but to walk up and physically goose them or pinch their behinds.
One woman turned, infuriated, and confronted them. I moved in to help her as necessary, but stayed a good 20' back to see how it played out without intensifying the conflict. The guys backed down, laughed, and said that they were, "Paying her a compliment."

She scoffed, stormed off, and I quietly followed her to her destination a goodly distance away, not wanting to further creep her out, but not wanting to leave her to the creeps.

It sickens me, just as it does EML, and I'd love a solution beyond, "Be ready to pummel men who go too far with a woman."

Why do they even start?

EDIT: OK, this post sounds too much like self-aggrandizement. The point I was *trying* to make was that she was assertive, self-confident, and clearly expressed her disapproval. And the creeps backed off. And I've seen that pattern repeated very, very often. They may say some really creepy or nasty things when they back off, but when I've been a witness, they've always backed down.


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Things change in major metropolitan areas.

Where I'm from, we just don't talk to strangers. Period.

There's too damn many people here. Nothing would ever get done.

For those of you posting from outside the Sprawl, maybe this seems weird do you. Maybe saying "hello" on the street seems like folksy niceness. I assure you, it is positively seething with menace in this context. (That of the video and that where I live)


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I *really* like TheJeff's comments here. (And it's funny, because we usually disagree.)

If you're just the kind of guy who says, "Hi," to everyone on the street, you're not an issue. Amusingly enough, I'm short, overweight, middle-aged, and stupid-friendly. I DO say, "Hi," to *almost* everyone.

But for single women who have not seen me interact with anyone else, I do them the favor of not saying, "Hi," unless they say, "Hi," first. Awareness of THEIR circumstance is everything.

It's a sad commentary about our culture, but I do them the respect of leaving them alone unless they indicate that I seem harmless. (Which is remarkably often. I really do need to work on my image...)


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lorenlord wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Do you say hello to everyone who passes by in the street just "trying to be pleasant", or are you looking specifically for "a chance to interact and be social with said gal"?

In which case, you're part of the problem. The woman walking down the street, not making eye contact or other signs of interest, has her mind on other things and isn't interested in dealing with advances from random strangers. Bear in mind you're probably not the only one looking for that chance with her. She probably has to deal with several every time she walks down the street. Never knowing from the first...

I usually do say hello or nod my head in a greeting sort of way to anyone i pass that is looking at me, male or female. If anyone says hi, I continue on my way anyways, unless I'm in a situation where a conversation would be warranted and invited.

I wouldn't say I'm part of the problem at all. Being pleasant shouldnt make you part of the problem. If I say hello and they don't reply, oh well, move along. I just thought that you were supposed to not take past bad experiences into the next experience????? But I guess once somene says hello for what is thought of by the girl as ulterior motives, every other person possibly just being pleasant is guilty of doing the same???????

Looking at, as in making eye contact, is a sign of at least some receptivity. I wouldn't say that's a problem at all.

Watch the video again, most of the people just saying "hello" or "good morning" or something else harmless on the surface aren't do that. They're throwing out greetings to the pretty girl and ignoring everyone else. They're doing it to someone deliberately avoiding eye contact. Some of them escalate when she doesn't respond.

And you're being obtuse with that last bit, it's not one person saying hello for what might be ulterior motives, it's many people, again and again over years, with enough of them escalating after she doesn't respond - or escalating even more if she does respond. Learned experience. "I keep doing this and I keep getting hurt." "Stop doing it."


As has been said, there is no shaming the shameless. Also, some are so clueless that they are clueless of their cluelessness.

Because of evolution, it is near impossible for a man to not take note of an attractive woman. Civility, however, has not been around so long relatively speaking.


Kirth Gersen wrote:

If I'm on the sidewalk, and some other guy is on the same sidewalk heading towards me, and there's otherwise no crowd, I'll move a little to one side and tip him a nod, to acknowledge his existence and indicate I'm not a threat. I probably need to stop doing that, because I generally get ignored -- most people (men and women, young and old) stare through me, and try to force me off the sidewalk by not stepping at all to their side of it.

Again, I'm not talking the middle of Manhattan during lunch hour. I get this all over, even in the 'burbs.

At some point, it would be pleasant if people did occasionally try to be pleasant.

^^^ This. Especially the last sentence.

And I have watched the video, it's everywhere. Catcalling is terrible. But if she's not in the middle of "catcall scumbag central" and still acts like above, which alot of people do, then that's a sad commentary.


lorenlord wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:

If I'm on the sidewalk, and some other guy is on the same sidewalk heading towards me, and there's otherwise no crowd, I'll move a little to one side and tip him a nod, to acknowledge his existence and indicate I'm not a threat. I probably need to stop doing that, because I generally get ignored -- most people (men and women, young and old) stare through me, and try to force me off the sidewalk by not stepping at all to their side of it.

Again, I'm not talking the middle of Manhattan during lunch hour. I get this all over, even in the 'burbs.

At some point, it would be pleasant if people did occasionally try to be pleasant.

^^^ This. Especially the last sentence.

And I have watched the video, it's everywhere. Catcalling is terrible. But if she's not in the middle of "catcall scumbag central" and still acts like above, which alot of people do, then that's a sad commentary.

There's no reason to think she acts like that at work or when socializing or among friends. I know of no one who does.

OTOH, damn near anywhere in public is, if not "catcall scumbag central", at least the outskirts. The nature of the comments probably varies with the area, but not the existence.


I have seen very little of it where I live, thankfully, because I think it's terrible. Say hello if you'd like, but there's no need to be salty if someone doesnt say hello in return. I say it to be pleasant, but i don't expect a response and don't get mad if someone doesn't like some of those guys did.

And I was saying i *hope* she doesnt when she's not in that type of situation. I do know of folks who do act like that when in any social situation, and it's rediculous.


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I'm sort of confused, regarding the turn this thread took. Based on the responses, I think it's safe to assume the participants here are not, themselves, cat-callers. I think it's safe to assume that everyone in the thread was already aware that such behavior existed, insofar as the mouth-breathing cretins who engage in it could never be accused of being quiet or discreet. So watching the video pretty much tells us something we already knew. I think, for the reasons cited above plus others, that making it illegal for any man to speak to any woman in public is not a viable solution.

Which leads us back to the OP. Yes, it's terrible that people do that, but we're not really in a good position to stop them.


I found the Slate article lurking on a conversation one of my comrades was having on Facebook. She is a young woman with a mixed racial background from the outskirts of Boston. When I met her she was teaching ESL and living in Eastie (not far from where I used to live, years ago) but has since moved to NYC to be a professional communist revolutionary.

The Facebook conversation was among a variety of young men and women, most of them from cities, most of whom weren't white. They had a lot to say about the video, the culture of catcalling and street harrassment but I won't go into that.

The most interesting part of the conversation, I thought, was that most of them thought the "You won’t believe how many times this woman gets harassed in 10 hours" video was a pro-gentrification propaganda piece.


Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
The most interesting part of the conversation, I thought, was that most of them thought the "You won’t believe how many times this woman gets harassed in 10 hours" video was a pro-gentrification propaganda piece.

Interesting, and sadly not entirely unexpected based on Mrs Gersen's previous feedback.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:

I found the Slate article lurking on a conversation one of my comrades was having on Facebook. She is a young woman with a mixed racial background from the outskirts of Boston. When I met her she was teaching ESL and living in Eastie (not far from where I used to live, years ago) but has since moved to NYC to be a professional communist revolutionary.

The Facebook conversation was among a variety of young men and women, most of them from cities, most of whom weren't white. They had a lot to say about the video, the culture of catcalling and street harrassment but I won't go into that.

The most interesting part of the conversation, I thought, was that most of them thought the "You won’t believe how many times this woman gets harassed in 10 hours" video was a pro-gentrification propaganda piece.

When I saw the video my first thought was "ugh. Way to make the entire male half of the species look like dickbags"

My second thought was: "Oh great now the message is: Great, cant bring our white women around the negroes and latinos because THIS happens."

To find out that they cut out most of the white guys who accosted her pretty much confirms that feeling/thought.


BigDTBone wrote:


Our culture doesn't accept the idea that women should approach men to initiate a relationship, at least not as a matter of course.

Should?

Liberty's Edge

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1994: Greet people in the street without thinking about it.

2014: Don't greet women, its rude.

*sigh**


ShadowcatX wrote:

1994: Greet people in the street without thinking about it.

2014: Don't greet women, its rude.

*sigh**

Which perpetuates sex-linked inequalities by establishing a seperate set of rules for interacting with women.

A CEO needs to hire executive managers for a new division, is he more likely to hire someone who he doesn't feel a need to observe special rules for interaction or someone he does?

Even if the "special rules" don't apply in the situation he's hiring for, it is still a consideration.


Kirth Gersen wrote:

I'm sort of confused, regarding the turn this thread took. Based on the responses, I think it's safe to assume the participants here are not, themselves, cat-callers. I think it's safe to assume that everyone in the thread was already aware that such behavior existed, insofar as the mouth-breathing cretins who engage in it could never be accused of being quiet or discreet. So watching the video pretty much tells us something we already knew. I think, for the reasons cited above plus others, that making it illegal for any man to speak to any woman in public is not a viable solution.

Which leads us back to the OP. Yes, it's terrible that people do that, but we're not really in a good position to stop them.

Yep. I'm at a total loss.

I had one friend whose head might as well have been on a swivel, and he'd gape open-mouthed at every attractive woman who walked by, turning all the way around to watch her go by. I called him on it multiple times, and he used the depressing excuse, "Well, if they didn't want me to look at them, they wouldn't dress like that!"

The saddest part? He did it even while walking with his girlfriends! And they kept dumping him. And he never figured it out. (He's pushing 50, just like me, and is still single.)

So if you don't know them and you call them on it, you either get ignored or risk a fight. If you do know them and call them on it, they deny that it's an issue.

I'd love to hear a single (non-violent) thing a "decent man" did to prevent a woman he was with from getting harassed, or to successfully shame the harassers.

I've never succeeded.


Kirth Gersen wrote:

thejeff,

There's also the problem of mean and women both who pointedly and wilfully ignore the existence of other people, leading to awkward or even potentially dangerous situations. For example, if there's stuff falling onto the sidewalk up ahead from an overhead construction activity, some people get rigidly into the "no eye contact - no acknowledgement" mode so that they'll shove past someone trying to warn them -- I have actually seen this happen.

On a less dangerous but more common note, it's very unfortunate being unable to ever ask directions in public, because people are in such a big hurry not to acknowledge other peoples' existence.

That's just the street. But it should be noted that many people also seem to want to stigmatize speaking to women (or anyone, for that matter) at a convention, at a cafferia, at a bar, at work, etc., etc. (I'm not saying you personally are doing so, only that some do). Which adds an additional layer of difficulties.

In a perfect world, random accostings and catcalls would all cease. Barring that, there should be a way of dealing with them that does not cause basic human interaction in all public places to completely break down.

The problem with these conversations: people try to look at what the women are doing wrong.

If you stop doing that, it'll be much easier to talk about.

This isn't to say that "all women are prefect and never at fault". But basically you're laying the blame for the situation on the people who are on the receiving end of of behavior from a&@~@!$s.


Analogy:

We're riding on an airplane. I pinch your toddler and make him cry. I then call the stewardess and complain that your toddler is crying.

Is the sound the toddler making annoying? Yes.
Did they start it? No.

Focus less on what the toddler is doing in this analogy.


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BigDTBone wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:

1994: Greet people in the street without thinking about it.

2014: Don't greet women, its rude.

*sigh**

Which perpetuates sex-linked inequalities by establishing a seperate set of rules for interacting with women.

A CEO needs to hire executive managers for a new division, is he more likely to hire someone who he doesn't feel a need to observe special rules for interaction or someone he does?

Even if the "special rules" don't apply in the situation he's hiring for, it is still a consideration.

There are already separate sets of rules for men and women. There always have been. What we're now working on in the workplace is how to treat women with respect and as equals, rather than as subordinates and eye candy.

There aren't "special rules" for women, it's that the standard rules are for men.
And how often do guys have to be told not to hit on the other guys at work or compliment them on their hair, tell them how good they look today? But it's a "special rule" not to do the same to women?

And I don't think it was at all common practice in NYC or other major cities back in 1994 to greet people on the street without thinking about it. The basic street etiquette has been in place as long as I've been aware. It's just that there was less public attention to street harassment. Not that anyone really gets in any trouble for it in 2014 either.

*sigh**

Women: "Don't do this, we don't like it."
Men: "But if we don't do this, how can we get you to like us"
Women: <Sigh>


thejeff wrote:
And how often do guys have to be told not to hit on the other guys at work or compliment them on their hair, tell them how good they look today? But it's a "special rule" not to do the same to women?

Tales from the Shop Floor: Doodlebug Anklebiter Stream-of-Consciousness Interjection

Spoiler:

[Sitting around in the office before work]

Supervisor: You know, it makes me just wanna rip out chunks of your hair!

Italian Teamster: Hey, don't touch my hair, it's goin' thin as it is, take Doodlebug's hair. He's got nice hair...

Female Teamster: Oh? You like Doodlebug's hair?

Puerto Rican Teamster: [Giggles]

Italian Teamster: Yeah, he's got nice hair, it's long and soft...

Female Teamster: Yeah, you wanna pet it, right?

Italian Teamster: Yeah, it's nice--

Puerto Rican Teamster: You're so gay! [Turns to Doodlebug] What? First thing in the morning you do is get out of bed and comb your hair right?

Italian Teamster: Hey, f$@# you! First thing you do in the morning is roll over and tell [Supervisor] to get you breakfast!

Puerto Rican Teamster: Hey, it's okay, we live in Massachusetts, you two can get married if you want--

Female Teamster: Ha ha ha! You two!

Supervisor: Hey, cut it out, you guys gotta behave in a professional manner at all time...

[Puerto Rican and Italian Teamster continue to accuse each other of being gay, while Female Teamster laughs, Supervisor sputters, and Doodlebug thinks, "Ah, America..."]

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:

1994: Greet people in the street without thinking about it.

2014: Don't greet women, its rude.

*sigh**

Which perpetuates sex-linked inequalities by establishing a seperate set of rules for interacting with women.

A CEO needs to hire executive managers for a new division, is he more likely to hire someone who he doesn't feel a need to observe special rules for interaction or someone he does?

Even if the "special rules" don't apply in the situation he's hiring for, it is still a consideration.

There are already separate sets of rules for men and women. There always have been. What we're now working on in the workplace is how to treat women with respect and as equals, rather than as subordinates and eye candy.

There aren't "special rules" for women, it's that the standard rules are for men.
And how often do guys have to be told not to hit on the other guys at work or compliment them on their hair, tell them how good they look today? But it's a "special rule" not to do the same to women?

And I don't think it was at all common practice in NYC or other major cities back in 1994 to greet people on the street without thinking about it. The basic street etiquette has been in place as long as I've been aware. It's just that there was less public attention to street harassment. Not that anyone really gets in any trouble for it in 2014 either.

*sigh**

Women: "Don't do this, we don't like it."
Men: "But if we don't do this, how can we get you to like us"
Women: <Sigh>

One woman in a video =/= women. Is this seriously that big of a deal there? Beyond that, I don't live in new york, I still wave at random drivers on the street. And no, not with just one finger.

And yes, women do get special rules in the work place, women fire fighters, women in the military, etc.


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ShadowcatX wrote:

And yes, women do get special rules in the work place, women fire fighters, women in the military, etc.

I wish we lived in a world where when someone says they want equality we could treat them the same instead of meaning "we want all the perks, but....."

Liberty's Edge

JurgenV wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:

And yes, women do get special rules in the work place, women fire fighters, women in the military, etc.

I wish we lived in a world where when someone says they want equality we could treat them the same instead of meaning "we want all the perks, but....."

Agreed.


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These things are.different.

A tip of the hat or salutation/greeting
A compliment
An attempt to engage
An animal noise....grunt groan, etc
A straight out invitation
Continued attempts to engage
Groping
Rape

Honestly some important distinctions need to be made......

Sexual harassment is technically defined as repeated unwelcome advances. And since no one is psychic or can tell your expression means "don't talk to me", the person can make their intention known and you simply decline the offer and go on with your life.


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I'm not particularly good at talking to strangers and I tend to avoid it. Catcalling is definitely something I never do.

That said, let me ask a legitimate question:

What's the line between catcalling and a compliment? What's so wrong about saying "Hey, beautiful" or similar to someone? In fact what's wrong with asking someone "Hey, wanna have sex?"?

As long as the person is not...

A- Touching you in any way.
B- Demanding anything from you.
C- Stopping you from doing whatever it is you're doing
D- Forcing you to do anything against your will

...Why is it such a problem? (If they are doing any of those, that's a completely different and far more serious situation)

I don't want to be insensitive or anything, but I honestly don't get why it's a problem at all... Assuming A, B, C and D are in play, why is it anything more than a insignificant annoyance at worst?

Additionally, if a man can't compliment an woman, how exactly is he supposed to talk to her if he's interested? Does he have to guess if she likes him? Should he never again attempt to flirt with anyone he doesn't know really well?

These are all honest questions.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Lemmy, I think you had a copy paste error there. :)


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Lemmy, I think you had a copy paste error there. :)

Yes, I did. Thanks for pointing it out in time for me to edit the post... Haha


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A blog post from a couple years ago.

Daily Show piece from a few weeks ago.

Please, stop with the "I just want to be a nice guy". It's not about you.


What do you mean I can't harass the street? It's always underfoot!


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Lemmy wrote:

I'm not particularly good at talking to strangers and I tend to avoid it. Catcalling is definitely something I never do.

That said, let me ask a legitimate question:

What's the line between catcalling and a compliment? What's so wrong about saying "Hey, beautiful" or similar to someone? In fact what's wrong with asking someone "Hey, wanna have sex?"?

As long as the person is not...

A- Touching you in any way.
B- Demanding anything from you.
C- Stopping you from doing whatever it is you're doing
D- Forcing you to do anything against your will

...Why is it such a problem? (If they are doing any of those, that's a completely different and far more serious situation)

I don't want to be insensitive or anything, but I honestly don't get why it's a problem at all... Assuming A, B, C and D are in play, why is it anything more than a insignificant annoyance at worst?

Additionally, if a man can't compliment an woman, how exactly is he supposed to talk to her if he's interested? Does he have to guess if she likes him? Should he never again attempt to flirt with anyone he doesn't know really well?

These are all honest questions.

Women aren't there for you to flirt with. That's not their job. You shouldn't try to pickup random strangers walking down the street. It's creepy and it's not going to work anyway. The fact you're interested in someone you know nothing about other than the way she looks doesn't mean she owes you anything, not even to listen to your pickup lines.

There are plenty of places and ways to actually meet people and actually get to know them a little before hitting on them. There are even settings where hitting on strangers is acceptable. Walking down a busy street isn't one of them.
There's no line between catcalling and a compliment, even simple greetings when directed only at the attractive women are harassment. Women are often told that even the crassest lines should just be taken as compliments.
Really, you don't see a problem with not being able to walk across town without being solicited for sex? Possibly by someone following you for a couple blocks asking why you won't talk with him or smile at him or maybe just walking right next to her silently. Never knowing which seemingly innocent greeting or "compliment" will be followed by abuse if she doesn't acknowledge it or turn even creepier if she does.

Your 4 rules there allow an awful lot of really creepy behavior.

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