Street Harassment


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
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.

There are other words in your post that aren't bolded.

I'm just gonna hide this thread, it's really pissing me off and just ruins my mood for an hour every time I see it.


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Fergie wrote:


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

Several years ago a (aprox) 1,90 m, 90+ kg gay men flirted with me in a gym. I'm smaller and way weaker.

If the guy were stalked me, and actually harrased me I would have been worried. But he just said a couple of compliment to my body, and while it was not the most comfortable situation I would not call him a bad person at hte level I have seen in this thread.


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.

While it could be annying, I would not calle it harassment.


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JurgenV wrote:
Except a simple Hi is not a burden, not stopping you from doing anything. Is the bellringer stopping my day since i hear it? is the panhandler's sign causing me harm because i might see it? I am not talking about stopping anyone i am talking about a simple Hi in passing. And anyone that hurt by a simple hi needs therapy badly.
ShadowcatX wrote:
When did saying hello become demanding part of her time?

Congratulations, you're Noober. :)

Seriously though, from your perspective, you're only saying "Hi." From my perspective, you're the umpteenth guy that day trying to interact with me. And I know rationally that the vast majority of guys are decent dudes just trying to be friendly and wouldn't harm me unprovoked... but the abusive and violent guys often look just like you. Noober in Baldur's Gate wasn't a threat, and my PC could fight him off. Most dudes outmass me, have significantly greater upper body strength, and have significantly more testosterone running through them. And that's just when they're alone... odds get worse for me when they are in pairs or groups.

I'm sorry if I'm not polite or friendly back to you on the street/in a store/cornered in an elevator/wherever. But I've observed and experienced that any acknowledgement or reciprocation, even a simple positive "Hello", is very often a foot in the door to unwanted interaction... even by well-intentioned guys that just haven't mastered situational social cues or just figured "What have I got to lose; I'll probably never see her again." Even when this is just one of times where nothing else comes of the attempted interaction, it's at best an interruption in my routine and inner thinking. When the guy persists though... well, what magical tactics would you suggest I take that both keeps me safe and doesn't bruise his ego?

---

Assume for a second that instead of me, it's your mom or wife or daughter, and that while you can passively observe, you can't physically interact with anyone. Now, what should the woman do when one guy tries to interact with her? And then a little later, another guy. Then another. All throughout the day--often every day--different guys are coming up and attempting to engage a female loved one in "polite" and "friendly" interactions. Should she still be expected to be polite, friendly, and acknowledge each of them? Should she have any expectation of privacy and personal solitary space? How does she know who the bad guys are, and if she can't tell, how does she keep her risks low and actively defend herself?


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Actually they do think about it. That honey and sweetie and darlin' that many waitresses call a patron often triggers conversations that they'd rather not have. I lived in Texas and most of the South, and it was common to hear a waitress call everyone that all day long.

And many of those they called that thought that "She called me honey! She WANTS me! I should say inappropriate things to her or get her number or ask her out or or or."

She isn't hitting on you. She's using an endearment to put you at ease, make things seem friendlier and get a tip and/or get you out of the way for the next guest and usually nothing more.

The difference is you are interacting as patron and waitress/cashier/service industry person. You are not random Joe on the street calling out to a stranger.

Whether or not you mean it in a certain way, the other 100 or so people that day might. It isn't a matter of shaking it off and not taking offence or ignoring it; women already do that. That's why there aren't more reports of men being pepper sprayed or tasered into the hospital. They are being tolerant of this "quaint" habit that some men have where they just cannot resist being "nice" to women they see on the street.

I'm old enough to remember the lovely commercial for Mister Microphone. The most memorable part is two guys in a car screaming over it "Hey good lookin', we'll be back to pick you up later." Thirty years later, that commercial wouldn't make it past the early rounds of development before people said "Wait. Is this offensive?"

It isn't about what you think you mean when you or they are catcalling on the streets or in the office or wherever. It isn't a dating arena, women aren't there so you can pick one out of the herd to copulate with.

I wonder if a group of big burly biker leather daddies stood on a street corner and catcalled guys if it would get the point across. They are just being friendly and saying that you look good. Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Do you enjoy it? Would you enjoy it every day, everywhere you go, every time you go some where? I somehow seriously doubt it.

My apologies to any big burly biker leather daddies. I know you guys have better taste and manners.


knightnday wrote:
Actually they do think about it. That honey and sweetie and darlin' that many waitresses call a patron often triggers conversations that they'd rather not have. I lived in Texas and most of the South,

The honey and sweetie and darlin is also a matter of context. In areas where it's common, you'll get the occasional bad reaction. Go to a different part of the country and it'll be a lot weirder.


Really, it is the those that over react that are hurting things on all sides. Unfortunately, we tend to judge others by their worst.


ShadowcatX wrote:

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

2014: Don't greet women, its rude.

*sigh**

Everything was always better 20 years ago. Everything.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
bugleyman wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:

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

2014: Don't greet women, its rude.

*sigh**

Everything was always better 20 years ago. Everything.

And people have been saying "everything was better 20 years ago" for centuries.


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I don't want in any way to promote catcalling, Comrade Nicos, but as the lone speaking black woman in Jessica's Feminized Atmosphere who wasn't Jessica put it "'Beautiful,' that's fine, but, 'B+~*% I want to eat your pussy', that's a whole different story."

[Edited]


I feel I failed my linguistic check, what do you mean?


Honestly... not every girl gets this, right? It's about how you look. Humanity can be roughly divided into "beautiful" and "ugly", if you don't look too hard at the definitions. Being "beautiful" (as opposed to beautiful without quotes) in all probability means you spend a significant part of your life trying to be part of the "beautiful" group. How much you exercise and what, how much makeup you use and how, how you dress, what cosmetic surgery you have had, and so on. Why? Because being "beautiful" beats being "ugly" in almost all ways you'd care to measure. You get better job offers, higher salaries, more opportunities, people believe what you say more often, they forgive you more easily for any transgressions, they are less likely to blame you if crap happens, your pool of prospective partners looks better and is richer, taller and generally better off. The differences in salary between someone judged highly attractive and someone seen as ugly is bigger than that between men and women, yet very rarely talked about.

So... here is one area where being "beautiful" is not an advantage. All the men saying "Hi!" to you, distracting you when you're out walking, and just generally making your day a living hell. I get that pain. I really do.

It isn't that it's not understandable. Calls for attention are annoying. If you could get rid of an annoying element of your life by beating on the victim drum, why not, right?


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Sissyl wrote:

Honestly... not every girl gets this, right? It's about how you look. Humanity can be roughly divided into "beautiful" and "ugly", if you don't look too hard at the definitions. Being "beautiful" (as opposed to beautiful without quotes) in all probability means you spend a significant part of your life trying to be part of the "beautiful" group. How much you exercise and what, how much makeup you use and how, how you dress, what cosmetic surgery you have had, and so on. Why? Because being "beautiful" beats being "ugly" in almost all ways you'd care to measure. You get better job offers, higher salaries, more opportunities, people believe what you say more often, they forgive you more easily for any transgressions, they are less likely to blame you if crap happens, your pool of prospective partners looks better and is richer, taller and generally better off. The differences in salary between someone judged highly attractive and someone seen as ugly is bigger than that between men and women, yet very rarely talked about.

So... here is one area where being "beautiful" is not an advantage. All the men saying "Hi!" to you, distracting you when you're out walking, and just generally making your day a living hell. I get that pain. I really do.

It isn't that it's not understandable. Calls for attention are annoying. If you could get rid of an annoying element of your life by beating on the victim drum, why not, right?

So you are suggesting this is the counterbalance to "beautiful" privilege? All the sudden my sympathy for this woman went out the window.


Nicos wrote:
I feel I failed my linguistic check, what do you mean?

My computer's running slow, so I'm playing it to doublecheck my paraphrase, but pretty funny video that has now been linked three times:

Jessica's Feminized Atmosphere


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I am saying it is a part of "beautiful privilege" that "beautiful" people don't want. Present yourself to get attention and you will have it, only not just from the people you want it from. Certainly, there are people who end up in the "beautiful" category without even trying, and my sympathies do go out to them, but most of the people who complain about this attention spend large chunks of their lives trying to GET attention. Now they are suddenly victims because the attention they get is not from the people they want it from? Cry me a river.

Of course, if they DO get assaulted or otherwise treated badly in a direct way (not just looked at, you know?), it's an entirely different situation and should be treated as such.


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Luckily this sort of thing is pretty rare down here in Australia - I can't think of a time when I have heard some random guy carry on like the men in this video - except perhaps late on a friday night in the red light district at 2am when all the drunks get turfed out onto the street and start their journey home.


Of course, if you have an overwhelming desire to say hello to people, I hear Wal-Mart is hiring for greeters. That way you aren't harassing anyone, even by accident, you get to indulge in your pass time, and can make a few dollars to purchase the next Pathfinder book.


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I would also like to clarify: There is a MASSIVE problem if some people think it's okay to equate "he looked at me OMG how horrible" with actual assault. It isn't, never has been, and hopefully never will be. If your problems are that people look at you, there are people with real problems that deserve far more attention than you do.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Sissyl wrote:

So... here is one area where being "beautiful" is not an advantage. All the men saying "Hi!" to you, distracting you when you're out walking, and just generally making your day a living hell. I get that pain. I really do.

It isn't that it's not understandable. Calls for attention are annoying. If you could get rid of an annoying element of your life by beating on the victim drum, why not, right?

Women who are particularly attractive do get more catcalls, but just about all women under 40 get them, regardless of their attractiveness.

My sister's kind of big, and she's not a classic beauty. She says that she gets, "Hey fatty! I'd tap that!" (or something to that effect) on at least a daily basis.

Men who catcall are asserting their dominance, pure and simple. It's a boorish remnant from coarser times. I call other guys out on it when I see it. Of course, I don't see it all that much.


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Humanity contains morons. In other news, water is wet. As you say, it's more if you're particularly attractive. And of course, those are the people who complain and consider themselves assaulted (!!!) because of glances.

Everyone has morons in their lives. At school, at work, in the streets outside, every single place has them. We all have to relate to them somehow. But even if the world would be better without morons, guess what, it's not going to happen. The solutions touted don't work. Considering looking at someone to be assault is monstrous, and any law to such effect would be either ridiculed to death or a travesty of justice beyond anything ever seen before. Getting other men to help call out attention to it, well, in a world where people shout "fire!" to get people to come to help deal with a burglar, people regularly get beaten and sometimes even killed because they ended up in an argument... that isn't really going to be an option. I am sure it would feel great to one of the women who got ASSAULTED by someone's looks to have some man she didn't know protest against the look and get beaten for it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Nicos wrote:

it is not hte "hey" that is the problem but the angry part.

So, the bad part is yelling her angry stuff, or stalking her, not saying "hey beutiful", and definitely not "hi"

Look, I will concede that this might be viewed differently if you live in a part of the world where everyone says "hi" to every random stranger they happen pass in the street. If that's the case, then obviously this isn't intended as harrassment, nor will it be taken as such by anyone.

But, in New York (where the video was shot), people DON'T say "hi" to everyone they pass. On an average morning commute (via foot/subway) you will pass, quite literally, thousands of strangers.

The men who say "Hi!" and "Hey beautiful!" aren't saying "Hi!" or "Hey handsome!" to random men who walk by. They aren't saying it to old women, or to young children. They are singling out attractive women in an effort to get some attention from them. And if a woman responds, that's taken as an invitation to really open up and ask for a date or make a proposition.

This isn't friendliness. The men who do this aren't doing it to promote camaraderie. And being told you're beautiful by random strangers on the street isn't really a compliment.

It's creepy, it's unwelcome, and it's something women shouldn't have to put up with time after time, day in and day out, every day.


[Standing in front of the Wal-Mart with more pamphlets]

And if you are going to hire on as seasonal help, you may want to get in contact with your friendly neighborhood organizing drive.

And while I'm here, Michigan pinkos on a prior pro-gentrification propaganda piece by the marketing firm behind the "You won't believe" video

I did, I think, a dozen years in Boston and two in Manchester and while I admit we New Englanders aren't the friendliest of bunches, I still think that to say NOBODY says "hi" to strangers on the street is a bit of a stretch. Of course, I am one of those people trying to get you to take my pamphlets....

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