Street Harassment


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KenderKin wrote:

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.

Here's a tip: Someone looking straight ahead as they walk, not making eye contact or otherwise acknowledging you means "don't talk to me". It doesn't require you to be psychic or even any advanced training. It's really pretty basic.

The vast majority of men doing this crap, whether it's the apparently nicer greetings and compliments or the outright sexual comments and suggestions, know exactly what they're doing and it's not innocent at all.

If it was just a once in a while thing and there was never a chance of it escalating, then you'd be right. They could say their piece, you could decline and go on. But when it's every few minutes and you never know which one will escalate, whether you acknowledge or respond or not, that's a very different thing.


thejeff wrote:
Women aren't there for you to flirt with.

I never said or even implied they were.

thejeff wrote:
That's not their job.

I never said or even implied it was.

thejeff wrote:
You shouldn't try to pickup random strangers walking down the street. It's creepy and it's not going to work anyway.

Why not? That's what I'm asking. BTW, my brother met his wife on a bus ride, so apparently it does occasionally work.

thejeff wrote:
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.

Never said they owed anything to anyone... Then again, no one owes silence to anyone. If you want to be this defensive and pedantic, I could say that the man has the right to speak whatever he wants, as long as it doesn't cause panic (like screaming "Fire! Fire!") and even though, it's not exactly a classy thing to say, "nice ass" is not something I'd define as offensive or panic-inducing. Annoying, maybe, but it's not an offense and doesn't cause panic.

thejeff wrote:
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.

So is this the line? Where you are?

If a guy say "hey, beautiful" in a bar it's okay, but on the street it's catcalling.

thejeff wrote:
There's no line between catcalling and a compliment, even simple greetings when directed only at the attractive women are harassment.

This sounds extremely oversensitive. So, men can never compliment anyone? And if they greet someone, they have to greet everyone else, otherwise is catcalling?

I'll disagree with you on this one (That's not to say that I necessarily disagree with the rest of your post).

thejeff wrote:
Really, you don't see a problem with not being able to walk across town without being solicited for sex?

Honestly? No. it's not a classy behavior (in fact it's kinda creepy) and not something I'd do, but so what? If the person is not interested, just make it clear and move on. If the guy can't take no for an answer, then that's what I'd define as "a different and far more serious situation".

thejeff wrote:
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.

Someone stalking and/or abusing someone else is a different and far more serious situation.

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

Okay, then tell me what the limits are.

I don't usually talk to strangers on the street, men or women. I grew up in a big city, then I moved to an even bigger one. The general rule is "Don't talk to anyone". IME, keeping things to yourself is almost seen as a noble art in large urban settlements.

I've met girls in bars a few times, but most of my relationships were with people I'd known for a while before asking them out.

I'm NOT justifying catcalling (or any other behavior) here. I'm simply asking what exactly constitutes catcalling. It's kinda unfair to complain about a behavior if you don't specify what that behavior is.

If we don't know what is the definition of catcalling, then how can we avoid doing it?

Liberty's Edge

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Lemmy,
Quick question: Do you get annoyed at telemarketers who interupt your life to sell you their product? If not, congratulations, you have the patience of a saint or are lying. If so, please explain why interrupting people on their walk is different? They haven't asked you to talk to them, they haven't advertised they want you to, they're just walking. Interrutping them is annoying, rude and, as mentioend, behaving like a gods-damned telemarketer, which is a profession that ranks alongside lawyers and politicians on the liked and trusted scale.

And, even if that wasn't the case, imagine that when you're walking along, mnding your own business, every fiver minutes, someone shouts out at you. Doesn't matter what, could be a compliment, but it's every five gods-damned minutes and they never leave you alone. That would get pretty annoying, wouldn't it?

And to top that off, it's not just a compliment every five minutes. At least half of them would be people asking you to show them your cock. That would make you rather pissed with the complimenters too, wouldn't it as you never know which they'll be when they open their damn mouth, right?

And then to add a little cherry on top, these people are generally bigger than you, stronger than you and you have no f$@$ing clue if they'll be the one in 10000 who won't stop at catcalling and might do you harm.

Is that clearer? It's not complicated, really.

GM Xabubla,
So because some women choose to some times in some places pose naked and show themselves off, that means all women in all places at all times are fine with it from all men? You really don't see the problem with that argument?

If so, allow me to point it out: If the behaviour of some people, in some places, at some times means that all people of the same sex will behave the same way at all times, that means that women are perfectly judstified in assuming that all men everywhere are bloody rapists because there are some men somewhere sometimes who are. I expect you'd be outraged if people treated you like a rapist just because you're a man, right? So judigng all women on the basis of those who choose to post sexy pictures on certain internet channels offline, is at the very least moronic as well as potentially offensive.


Quote:
If we don't know what is the definition of catcalling, then how can we avoid doing it?

Don't harass women walking down the street and you won't be catcalling.

What it seems like you're actually asking for is an exact limit, so you can come as close as possible without getting in trouble. Not that anyone actually gets in trouble.
It seems like you do know the limits on the street: "The general rule is "Don't talk to anyone". IME, keeping things to yourself is almost seen as a noble art in large urban settlements." But at the same time you're defending breaking those limits and breaking them based on attraction:
Quote:
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?

Which, in the walking down the street case, is purely physical since you don't know anything about them, means wanting sex.

Hell, you said, "what's wrong with asking someone "Hey, wanna have sex?"?"
I'm curious what you think catcalling could be, if proposition strangers on the street doesn't qualify. Damn near every obnoxious, crass, obscene catcall can be and has been defended as "It's just a complement", from wolfwhistles to explicit comments on body parts to descriptions of what they'd like to do to those body parts. Makes me wary of anyone saying "Why can't we compliment women".

You're also focusing on single examples, when women regularly deal with multiple ones, often in groups. Stopping to make it clear you're not interested or even acknowledging them in any way just encourages escalation. Of course, not acknowledging also risks escalation, but not usually as badly. That's just likely to get someone yelling at your back about how your too stuck up to smile or talk to them. Responding is taken as a sign of interest and an invitation for more.


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We have people saying that men saying "Hi" and "good morning" are now sexually harassing. Anyone that sensitive needs to live in a padded room. I don't want to live in this world anymore if this is to be the standard.


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In many ways this issue is like bullying. We may never be able to stop it completely, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.


Paul Watson wrote:

GM Xabubla,
So because some women choose to some times in some places pose naked and show themselves off, that means all women in all places at all times are fine with it from all men? You really don't see the problem with that argument?

If so, allow me to point it out: If the behaviour of some people, in some places, at some times means that all people of the same sex will behave the same way at all times, that means that women are perfectly judstified in assuming that all men everywhere are bloody rapists because there are some men somewhere sometimes who are. I expect you'd be outraged if...

No it was more to point out that there are places men can go where women want to or are willing to be objectified so douchebags should go to those places and leave the rest of the women alone.

Liberty's Edge

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GM Xabulba wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:

GM Xabubla,
So because some women choose to some times in some places pose naked and show themselves off, that means all women in all places at all times are fine with it from all men? You really don't see the problem with that argument?

If so, allow me to point it out: If the behaviour of some people, in some places, at some times means that all people of the same sex will behave the same way at all times, that means that women are perfectly judstified in assuming that all men everywhere are bloody rapists because there are some men somewhere sometimes who are. I expect you'd be outraged if...

No it was more to point out that there are places men can go where women want to or are willing to be objectified so douchebags should go to those places and leave the rest of the women alone.

Apologies for misunderstanding you, then.


JurgenV wrote:
We have people saying that men saying "Hi" and "good morning" are now sexually harassing. Anyone that sensitive needs to live in a padded room. I don't want to live in this world anymore if this is to be the standard.

In certain circumstances yes. For examples in cities where as Lemmy said, "The general rule is "Don't talk to anyone". IME, keeping things to yourself is almost seen as a noble art in large urban settlements."

And the only people it's broken for are men addressing women they think are attractive, then yeah, it's treading pretty close to the line.

Mind you, the hellos and good mornings wouldn't be anywhere near so creepy without all the worse crap and without the guys who escalate when the woman doesn't respond they way they want.


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thejeff wrote:


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>

I once again find myself in the uncomfortable position of sympathizing with the feminists' (male or female) concerns, but being annoyed by their ridiculous insistence that they speak for "Women". So, I'm gonna keep harping on the race and class biases of this discussion:

I tried to go back and find the Facebook thread of urban boys and girls talking about catcalling, but it was a thread that my comrade posted on, not one of hers, so I can't find it. :(

(For the record, she limited her comments to things that wouldn't surprise long-time Comrade Anklebiter readers, e.g., "The problem isn't men, it's capitalism!" A little reductionist, I agree, but she's young and new to Marxism. Hopefully, she'll get more subtle and nuanced as she develops.)

But, most of the women on there said things like "Yeah, it goes too far sometimes, but other times, if I'm feeling down and some guy tells me I look good, it makes me smile."

I'm sure most of us who were raised white, "middle class" and suburban have few to no friends, lovers, etc. that we met randomly on the street. I wonder if black and brown working class people who were raised in cities--of any color, really, but let's stick with black and brown to drive home the race and class biases of liberal feminism--would say the same thing?

Camille Paglia has said many things over the years that I would never defend. One of the things that she said that I think was pretty spot on was that "Sexual harrassment laws are an attempt to enforce the sexual mores of the white, middle-class office culture on the rest of the population."

Also, I lived in Boston for a decade. It's not a city that's exactly noted for its warm, friendly, open-armed populace, but the idea that nobody talks to strangers on the street there is blatantly false.

Liberty's Edge

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When did saying hello become demanding part of her time?

Liberty's Edge

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Clearly I'm unusual in not saying hello to random strangers I've never met before. Apparently this is commonplace behaviour.

It's strange how rarely I see such apparently commonplace behaviour on the streets of London, given it appears to be perfectly ordinary to try to start conversations with strangers just walking past for no apparent reason.


Paul Watson wrote:

Clearly I'm unsual in not saying hello to random strangers I've never met before. Apparently this is commonplace behaviour.

It's strange how rarely I see such apparently commonplace behaviour on the streets of London, given it appears to be perfectly ordinary to try to start conversations with strangers just walking past for no apparent reason.

maybe we are just friendlier in my neck of the woods. Here we say hi to others, we greet cashiers, waiters, and salespeople in stores. We hold doors open for strangers and say goodmorning or the like as they go by. And we don't even feel threatened by it. Maybe not being from an urban hell is part of it.

Liberty's Edge

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JurgenV wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:

Clearly I'm unsual in not saying hello to random strangers I've never met before. Apparently this is commonplace behaviour.

It's strange how rarely I see such apparently commonplace behaviour on the streets of London, given it appears to be perfectly ordinary to try to start conversations with strangers just walking past for no apparent reason.

maybe we are just friendlier in my neck of the woods. Here we say hi to others, we greet cashiers, waiters, and salespeople in stores. We hold doors open for strangers and say goodmorning or the like as they go by. And we don't even feel threatened by it. Maybe not being from an urban hell is part of it.

Hell, I even refer to drive through attendants as sir or ma'am. I probably leave people frothing at the mouth.

OTD: Where you learn it is acceptable to throw grenades into children's playpens injuring them for life but saying hello on the street is creepy and should be avoided.

Liberty's Edge

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ShadowcatX,
Well, yes, but that's more for dishonestly conflating being polite to workers who you are choosing to interact with and who are doing their jobs to doing the same thing with random members of the public who did not choose to interact with you. Yes, that would leave me frothing at the mouth, because I can't believe anyone is so stupid as to think they're the same thing, so bringing them up just looks like deflection and deliberate obliviousness.

EDIT: And I don't beleive there's much cross-over between the people justifying the flashbang and those condemning street harrassment.


Paul Watson wrote:

Clearly I'm unusual in not saying hello to random strangers I've never met before. Apparently this is commonplace behaviour.

It's strange how rarely I see such apparently commonplace behaviour on the streets of London, given it appears to be perfectly ordinary to try to start conversations with strangers just walking past for no apparent reason.

In my life random men and women had said hello to me with no other reason that we coincide in the same place (like a bus or an elevator). It is not that usual in the sense that most people I see in the street do not talk to me nor I talk to them, but still it is common enough.

Liberty's Edge

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Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:
And again, you're basically an in-person telemarketer: "Hi, I know you're busy and don't want to talk to me, but please talk to me." It's harrassment when it's charity collectors, or panhandlers who try to stop people in the street, so why isn't it when it's you doing the same thing?

(Emphasis added)

Hmmm. More pro-gentrification class bias?

As a member of the white bourgois middle-class, it is entirely possible that my biases are showing, but that was not my intent.


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I generally agree with thejeff in these kind of thread, but the level of exageration and double standards have reached silly proportions.

Not sure since when saying obscenities and stalking a woman for 10 blocks is as bad as to say hi to her.

Liberty's Edge

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Nicos,
It's not. Similarly getting punched in the face is not as bad as getting stabbed in the chest, but both are assault. And to be very clear, harrassment is nowhere near either of them.

As I mentioned, each indivual comment can be innocuous but if they're going on every five minutes you're walking down the srteet, it's bloody annoying. And that's what harrassment is. The individual parts may not be a problem, it's the continuous pattern that makes it harrassment.


JurgenV wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:

Clearly I'm unsual in not saying hello to random strangers I've never met before. Apparently this is commonplace behaviour.

It's strange how rarely I see such apparently commonplace behaviour on the streets of London, given it appears to be perfectly ordinary to try to start conversations with strangers just walking past for no apparent reason.

maybe we are just friendlier in my neck of the woods. Here we say hi to others, we greet cashiers, waiters, and salespeople in stores. We hold doors open for strangers and say goodmorning or the like as they go by. And we don't even feel threatened by it. Maybe not being from an urban hell is part of it.

It's overwhelmingly the "urban hell" thing.

How many people do you walk past on the average day? A dozen or so? That's probably close to my life.

I do occasionally visit cities though and I see the difference, though I haven't developed the reflexes.:)
Walking a half mile or so to work in the city, you'll pass hundreds. It's a matter of scale.

And greeting cashiers, waiters and salespeople is an entirely different thing. You are going to interact with them, so being polite and friendly is good manners. That happens even in urban hells. Even holding doors for strangers and saying a pleasantry in response.

All of which is different from singling out the pretty stranger walking down the street to compliment. Just like the 5 or 6 other guys during her walk to work did.


Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:


Camille Paglia has said many things over the years that I would never defend. One of the things that she said that I think was pretty spot on was that "Sexual harrassment laws are an attempt to enforce the sexual mores of the white, middle-class office culture on the rest of the population."

Hmm. I'd always thought that sexual harassment laws were about trying to change the mores of the white, middle-class office culture so that the white middle-class secretaries didn't have to put up with (or put out for) their bosses b%&$!%~#.


Paul Watson wrote:

ShadowcatX,

Well, yes, but that's more for dishonestly conflating being polite to workers who you are choosing to interact with and who are doing their jobs to doing the same thing with random members of the public who did not choose to interact with you. Yes, that would leave me frothing at the mouth, because I can't beleive antyone is so stupid as to think they're the same thing, so bringing them up just looks like deflection and deliberate obliviousness.

EDIT: And I don't beleive there's much cross-over between the people justifying the flashbang and those condemning street harrassment.

Your frothing madness is misplaced. I am explaining a difference in general atmosphere. With reactions like that maybe your area needs more friendliness badly.


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I think the thing non-New Yorkers don't get about that video is that on the streets of Manhattan, nobody talks to our makes eye contact with strangers normally. It's part of the social contract of living in close proximity to three million other people.

On the streets on NYC, anyone who says things to you when you walk past either knows you personally ("Hi, Hal!") or wants something from you ("Hey! DVDs! $5!")

NOBODY just says "hello" to you on the street unless they know you personally or want something. That's just how it is in New York.

So, the random person who says, "Hi, Beautiful!" To a random stranger on the street is declaring, "I noticed you. I want something from you. That something is attention and/or sex." It is very much NOT a compliment. It's a threat. "Pay me some attention or I might do something." He probably won't, but he might be the 1 in 100 who stalks you for a few blocks, or the 1 in 1000 who'll try to grab your purse, or the 1 in 5000 who'll try to cop a feel, our the 1 in 10,000 will try to pull you into an alley and rape you.

My wife tells me that the only good thing about turning 45 and going gray has been a huge decline in the number of catcalls she gets. As an older woman, she's feels safer walking alone.

Oh, she also said that no one ever catcalls when she's walking with a man. So men don't see it. It's a phenomenon only experienced by women walking by themselves.


Sounds dehumanizing to live in a place like that


JurgenV wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:

ShadowcatX,

Well, yes, but that's more for dishonestly conflating being polite to workers who you are choosing to interact with and who are doing their jobs to doing the same thing with random members of the public who did not choose to interact with you. Yes, that would leave me frothing at the mouth, because I can't beleive antyone is so stupid as to think they're the same thing, so bringing them up just looks like deflection and deliberate obliviousness.
Your frothing madness is misplaced. I am explaining a difference in general atmosphere. With reactions like that maybe your area needs more friendliness badly.

It's not that it need more friendliness badly. It's that the attitude is a necessary social adjustment to living that tightly packed. You can't be friendly to hundreds or thousands of people that you pass every day and have no further interaction with.

Mind you, the people that live in your immediate neighborhood, that you see regularly, that's a different story. There you'll say hello or whatever. You'll also, even on the impersonal streets, get a little bit of friendly chatter if there's something to actually talk about. Some unusual bit of shared experience or something. But that's different from "Hey beautiful", aimed at a passing stranger. Haladir described that well.


thejeff wrote:
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:


Camille Paglia has said many things over the years that I would never defend. One of the things that she said that I think was pretty spot on was that "Sexual harrassment laws are an attempt to enforce the sexual mores of the white, middle-class office culture on the rest of the population."

Hmm. I'd always thought that sexual harassment laws were about trying to change the mores of the white, middle-class office culture so that the white middle-class secretaries didn't have to put up with (or put out for) their bosses b%%*~#%@.

And that's why people complimenting each other's hair at work is now considered sexual harrassment?


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JurgenV wrote:
Sounds dehumanizing to live in a place like that

It's not dehumanizing, really. I live upstate now (in the Finger Lakes, south of Syracuse), and there's whole lot I miss about living in NYC. I knew my neighbors much better then. I would say "hello" to people I knew personally: Both friends and people i regularly saw on my block. (The doorman, the guy that ran the bodega where I got my coffee, everybody who lived on my floor, the woman who ran the newsstand I bought my daily Times, etc.)

I've lived on the same street in a smallish town for more than a decade now, and I barely know any of my neighbors. Some strangers on the street do say, "hi" around here, but it feels more like an obligation than actual friendliness. Not that anybody walks anywhere, really. I was certainly in better shape in the city: I didn't need a car, and walked or took the subway everywhere. And we lived in a third-floor walk-up.

It's just a different social contract.


thejeff wrote:
Here's a tip: Someone looking straight ahead as they walk, not making eye contact or otherwise acknowledging you means "don't talk to me". It doesn't require you to be psychic or even any advanced training. It's really pretty basic.

You know how sense motive has that "Target wants to believe you" +5 bonus? It works in reverse too. "Target doesn't wants to believe you want to talk to them, -5 penalty"

Men do not pick up on women's body language the way women do, especially when they want to get the wrong answer. Any rule, law, or social standard that relies on that happening is simply a non starer.


Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:


Camille Paglia has said many things over the years that I would never defend. One of the things that she said that I think was pretty spot on was that "Sexual harrassment laws are an attempt to enforce the sexual mores of the white, middle-class office culture on the rest of the population."

Hmm. I'd always thought that sexual harassment laws were about trying to change the mores of the white, middle-class office culture so that the white middle-class secretaries didn't have to put up with (or put out for) their bosses b%%*~#%@.

And that's why people complimenting each other's hair at work is now considered sexual harrassment?

After reading the minutes from the sexual harassment meeting at my wife's work it seems that it is more about protecting the company from lawsuits or being included in lawsuits. Most of these places don't actually care what you are doing or why you are doing it, they want you to not do it so that Bob or Sally doesn't come down to HR and complain about you saying "Nice hair" and you REALLY meant "I want to have your babies" to go away.

It eats up the companies time to go through each case; I know, my wife is management and routinely sits through several meetings a week on this. Some are legit. Some are just "Wah, I overheard someone saying something that offends me, fire everyone." It's taxing mentally and financially for the companies and everyone involved.

Not that anyone cares about the company mind, but this is just another perspective on it.

As far as the video the young woman put out as well as the Daily Show clip and others, I find it horrifying and amazing that people still stay in these places. The whole bit reminds me of a Chris Rock routine, where he said something to the effect of "Every time a man is interacting with a woman or being nice to her, he is offering her d&$%."

Not you of course. You saying "Hello beautiful" out of the blue or "Smile!" or whatever other interaction is supposed to come across as charming or friendly rather than creepy or filled with the potential for unwanted contact.

It's pretty simple. They aren't interested in speaking with you or you or him or them or anyone. Just trying to get through the day without getting beaten. Just trying to get to work. Just trying to survive.

I'm just amazed at the comments here and elsewhere that are basically "I was just being nice, why are they being so touchy?!"


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My Camille Paglia quote from above was done from memory and, thus, was nowhere near as nuanced as what she actually said:

"The quid pro quo ruse--where a sex act is demanded for a promotion or job security--is the most grievous of sexual harrassment offenses and should be suitably punished, but one wonders just how common so clumsily blatant a proposition is these days. I suspect some men just try for what they can get, and a few unprepared, overly trusting women fall for it. We cannot expect government to make up for ancient lapses in child rearing. The 'hostile workplace' clause, on the other hand, which has become an integral part of sexual harrassment policy and has even, to my regret, passed review by the Supreme Court, seems to me reactionary and totalitarian. Mere offensiveness, which is open to subjective interpretation, is not harrassment. The problem with the 'hostile workplace' concept is that it is culturally parochial: it imposes a genteel white lady's standard of decorum on everyone, and when blindly applied by management, it imperialistically exports white middle-class manners, appropriate to an office, into the vigorously physical and more realistic working-class realm. The mincing minuets and sexual etiquette of the scribal class of paperpushers make no sense outside their carpeted cubicles of fluorescent light."

--"No Law in the Arena: A Pagan Theory of Sexuality" as collected in Vamps and Tramps: New Essays, page 49.

I read this for the first time not long before I went to work at the airport. Pretty early on in my career there, I witnessed Jose Medina, 40-ish, married, Puerto Rican, flirt with Wanda Carmona, late-30sish, single, Puerto Rican. When she responded to his come-on, he picked her up, laid her down on a stack of luggage and started dry-humping her while she laughed and made mock orgasmic squeals. Then they disentangled, laughed some more, and went their separate ways. "Huh," I thought to myself, "I wonder if that ever happens at Fidelity Investment?"


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Paul Watson wrote:

Lemmy,

Quick question: Do you get annoyed at telemarketers who interupt your life to sell you their product? If not, congratulations, you have the patience of a saint or are lying. If so, please explain why interrupting people on their walk is different? They haven't asked you to talk to them, they haven't advertised they want you to, they're just walking. Interrutping them is annoying, rude and, as mentioend, behaving like a gods-damned telemarketer, which is a profession that ranks alongside lawyers and politicians on the liked and trusted scale.

And, even if that wasn't the case, imagine that when you're walking along, mnding your own business, every fiver minutes, someone shouts out at you. Doesn't matter what, could be a compliment, but it's every five gods-damned minutes and they never leave you alone. That would get pretty annoying, wouldn't it?

And to top that off, it's not just a compliment every five minutes. At least half of them would be people asking you to show them your cock. That would make you rather pissed with the complimenters too, wouldn't it as you never know which they'll be when they open their damn mouth, right?

And then to add a little cherry on top, these people are generally bigger than you, stronger than you and you have no f~#~ing clue if they'll be the one in 10000 who won't stop at catcalling and might do you harm.

Is that clearer? It's not complicated, really.

Sure, telemarketers are annoying. So are people offering pamphlets on the streets. And crying babies. And people who walk too slowly in front of me... Those are all annoying. I wouldn't say any of them is doing anything wrong, though.

When people offer me pamphlets on the street, I don't get angry at them... It's annoying, but it isn't wrong. It's not my job to take pamphlets and I do not owe anything to them, not even listen to their words. Still, it's not something I consider wrong. It's, at worst, an insignificant annoyance for me to ignore for the next 2 seconds.

Annoying =/= Wrong.

And while multiple people doing the same thing can make that thing more annoying, it doesn't make it any more (or less) wrong.

thejeff wrote:

Hell, you said, "what's wrong with asking someone "Hey, wanna have sex?"?"

I'm curious what you think catcalling could be, if proposition strangers on the street doesn't qualify. Damn near every obnoxious, crass, obscene catcall can be and has been defended as "It's just a complement", from wolfwhistles to explicit comments on body parts to descriptions of what they'd like to do to those body parts. Makes me wary of anyone saying "Why can't we compliment women".

Sure it's obnoxious and annoying... But still, what's wrong with asking a question? Even if it's one with a (seemingly) obvious answer? Just say no or ignore it.

thejeff wrote:
Which, in the walking down the street case, is purely physical since you don't know anything about them, means wanting sex.

So what? What is wrong about only wanting sex? As long as you're honest about it and do not force anything, what's the problem? There's nothing evil about wanting sex.

thejeff wrote:
You're also focusing on single examples, when women regularly deal with multiple ones, often in groups. Stopping to make it clear you're not interested or even acknowledging them in any way just encourages escalation. Of course, not acknowledging also risks escalation, but not usually as badly. That's just likely to get someone yelling at your back about how your too stuck up to smile or talk to them. Responding is taken as a sign of interest and an invitation for more.

Once the woman makes it clear she's not interested (either by saying it or simply ignoring the man) and the man still insists, I consider that to be a different and more serious behavior.

thejeff wrote:
Quote:
If we don't know what is the definition of catcalling, then how can we avoid doing it?

Don't harass women walking down the street and you won't be catcalling.

What it seems like you're actually asking for is an exact limit, so you can come as close as possible without getting in trouble. Not that anyone actually gets in trouble.

If you're implying I am looking for a justification to harass women on the street and get away with it, you're an a@$+~@~. And a damn foolish one too.

I mentioned multiple times that I don't even like to talk to random strangers, men or women. And if I were the kind of person that catcalls, do you really think I'd give a damn about what anyone in this thread thinks or says?

thejeff wrote:
It seems like you do know the limits on the street: "The general rule is "Don't talk to anyone". IME, keeping things to yourself is almost seen as a noble art in large urban settlements." But at the same time you're defending breaking those limits and breaking them based on attraction:
Quote:
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?

Which, in the walking down the street case, is purely physical since you don't know anything about them, means wanting sex.

Hell, you said, "what's wrong with asking someone "Hey, wanna have sex?"?"
I'm curious what you think catcalling could be, if proposition strangers on the street doesn't qualify. Damn near every obnoxious, crass, obscene catcall can be and has been defended as "It's just a complement", from wolfwhistles to explicit comments on body parts to descriptions of what they'd like to do to those body parts. Makes me wary of anyone saying "Why can't we compliment women".

You're also focusing on single examples, when women regularly deal with multiple ones, often in groups. Stopping to make it clear you're not interested or even acknowledging them in any way just encourages escalation. Of course, not acknowledging also risks escalation, but not usually as badly. That's just likely to get someone yelling at your back about how your too stuck up to smile or talk to them. Responding is taken as a sign of interest and an invitation for more.

Again... Annoying =/= wrong. And the fact that more than one person does it doesn't make anything more (or less) wrong (although it can make it more annoying).

Is catcalling a problem? Maybe... But it seems to me it's blown out of proportion. The girl in the video acts outraged because a guy glanced at her. Is looking at people wrong too? If you consider looking at someone to be offensive, then you're way too sensitive for your own good.

And she says she shouldn't have to deal with this sort of reaction just because she dresses provocatively. True. But then again, isn't "something that provokes an strong reaction" the very definition of the word "provocative"?

The other girl compares catcalling to assault/rape! That's like comparing flipping someone off to beating the live crap out of them!

No one has the right to touch her or force her to do anything against her will, no matter how she dresses. And anyone who says anything to the contrary is an evil a@#!+%$. But if you're dressing provocatively (and I don't mean only women, nor do I mean specifically "sexually provocative", I mean anyone, male or female, doing anything that you know will cause a reaction), then don't be surprised and act outraged when people do react to whatever you did.

I don't think women are so fragile that they will be forever emotionally scarred because some random passer-by told them they have a nice ass... It's an obnoxious behavior, sure... But it's not exactly an emotional trauma.

Here... let me share a video as well.


[Standing on the corner, with a bundle of pamphlets and newspapers]

Socialist newspaper! Get your socialist newspaper here!

[Sees attractive woman approaching down the street]

Hello, ma'am, are you interested in international proletarian socialist revolution? No? Well, have a nice day!


I think the missing component from this discussion is that men are generally bigger and stronger then women. This isn't very important in our modern lives, but in the grand scheme of the human species, it means that the females were historically unsafe from unwanted sexual advances. In most of the animal kingdom, mating is often essentially rape. Things improved with advancements in civilization, but it has only been a few dozen generations that it hasn't been okay to rape passing women, and only a generation or two that groping and cat calls were frowned upon. In places where civilization barely exists (rural India for example), or broken down (war zones) humanity has shown that it is not above a return to it's savage roots.

I wonder if women were bigger and stronger then men, if cat calling would stop overnight, or if the roles would get reversed?

I live in a small quiet town, but have been visiting NYC weekly/monthly for years, and have some interesting experiences, but that will have to wait until after lunch.


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Finally the reason women in large cities can't find a guy. Thankfully I do not live in such a crowded place. Pretty sure I wouldn't have room to even wear my hat there.

In my neck of the woods also people greet others, young old, regardless of gender. We even hold doors for people.....

Feel the sudden urge to join those millions in their urban plight, and help end their suffering.


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JurgenV wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:

Clearly I'm unsual in not saying hello to random strangers I've never met before. Apparently this is commonplace behaviour.

It's strange how rarely I see such apparently commonplace behaviour on the streets of London, given it appears to be perfectly ordinary to try to start conversations with strangers just walking past for no apparent reason.

maybe we are just friendlier in my neck of the woods. Here we say hi to others, we greet cashiers, waiters, and salespeople in stores. We hold doors open for strangers and say goodmorning or the like as they go by. And we don't even feel threatened by it. Maybe not being from an urban hell is part of it.

The bolded portion, those aren't just random passerby's. Those are people you're having a direct interaction with and probably already talking to.

Being in an urban environment isn't hell. It's just a lot of people.

If you walked past 3500+ people during your day, would you say "hi" to everyone of them individually?

If you're in a smaller town and only walk past 50 people a day, I agree with you, it makes for a friendly environment. When I lived in a small town on a lake, it was customary to wave at every passing boat in the channels. It wasn't a big deal and made it seem friendly.

When I'm in rush hour traffic, I don't wave at every passing car though.


Irontruth wrote:
JurgenV wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:

Clearly I'm unsual in not saying hello to random strangers I've never met before. Apparently this is commonplace behaviour.

It's strange how rarely I see such apparently commonplace behaviour on the streets of London, given it appears to be perfectly ordinary to try to start conversations with strangers just walking past for no apparent reason.

maybe we are just friendlier in my neck of the woods. Here we say hi to others, we greet cashiers, waiters, and salespeople in stores. We hold doors open for strangers and say goodmorning or the like as they go by. And we don't even feel threatened by it. Maybe not being from an urban hell is part of it.

The bolded portion, those aren't just random passerby's. Those are people you're having a direct interaction with and probably already talking to.

Being in an urban environment isn't hell. It's just a lot of people.

If you walked past 3500+ people during your day, would you say "hi" to everyone of them individually?

If you're in a smaller town and only walk past 50 people a day, I agree with you, it makes for a friendly environment. When I lived in a small town on a lake, it was customary to wave at every passing boat in the channels. It wasn't a big deal and made it seem friendly.

When I'm in rush hour traffic, I don't wave at every passing car though.

Maybe not, still no reason to have a fit if someone does say hi


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thejeff wrote:
Just like the 5 or 6 other guys during her walk to work did.

Who takes 35 minutes to walk to work?

Also, if we are going to accept that you pass hundreds of people in 1/2 mile walk then the perhaps 2 people (if you are crawling a 24 minute mile) who said hello in passing would seem to be an incredibly low interaction rate.


JurgenV wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
JurgenV wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:

Clearly I'm unsual in not saying hello to random strangers I've never met before. Apparently this is commonplace behaviour.

It's strange how rarely I see such apparently commonplace behaviour on the streets of London, given it appears to be perfectly ordinary to try to start conversations with strangers just walking past for no apparent reason.

maybe we are just friendlier in my neck of the woods. Here we say hi to others, we greet cashiers, waiters, and salespeople in stores. We hold doors open for strangers and say goodmorning or the like as they go by. And we don't even feel threatened by it. Maybe not being from an urban hell is part of it.

The bolded portion, those aren't just random passerby's. Those are people you're having a direct interaction with and probably already talking to.

Being in an urban environment isn't hell. It's just a lot of people.

If you walked past 3500+ people during your day, would you say "hi" to everyone of them individually?

If you're in a smaller town and only walk past 50 people a day, I agree with you, it makes for a friendly environment. When I lived in a small town on a lake, it was customary to wave at every passing boat in the channels. It wasn't a big deal and made it seem friendly.

When I'm in rush hour traffic, I don't wave at every passing car though.

Maybe not, still no reason to have a fit if someone does say hi
Quoting from Haladir above
Quote:

On the streets on NYC, anyone who says things to you when you walk past either knows you personally ("Hi, Hal!") or wants something from you ("Hey! DVDs! $5!")

NOBODY just says "hello" to you on the street unless they know you personally or want something. That's just how it is in New York.

So, the random person who says, "Hi, Beautiful!" To a random stranger on the street is declaring, "I noticed you. I want something from you. That something is attention and/or sex." It is very much NOT a compliment. It's a threat. "Pay me some attention or I might do something." He probably won't, but he might be the 1 in 100 who stalks you for a few blocks, or the 1 in 1000 who'll try to grab your purse, or the 1 in 5000 who'll try to cop a feel, our the 1 in 10,000 will try to pull you into an alley and rape you.

And of course no one actually pitches a fit when someone says "hi". They walk by, eyes front, without acknowledging it.

But really, the vast majority of the time, in those circumstances, it isn't a friendly gesture. Understanding that, in that context, is not be paranoid or rude or hostile or unfriendly, it's being realistic.

And of course any complaint about it is dismissed just like you're dismissing it.


BigDTBone wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Just like the 5 or 6 other guys during her walk to work did.

Who takes 35 minutes to walk to work?

Also, if we are going to accept that you pass hundreds of people in 1/2 mile walk then the perhaps 2 people (if you are crawling a 24 minute mile) who said hello in passing would seem to be an incredibly low interaction rate.

Walking on city streets, in crowds, with traffic and intersections and lights to contend with? Damned if I know. I pulled the number out of my hat.


Irontruth wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:

There's also the problem of men and women both who pointedly and willfully 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 cafeteria, 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.

How exactly am I doing that? See bolded, above.

Also, it's still not okay to lie to a liar, for example, -- things don't work like that unless you're six. This also has nothing to do with either person's gender.

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