By now you’ve probably seen the video (and the parodies) of the model walking around New York City for 10-hours and receiving a plethora of cat-calls and unwanted attention. If not, here it is:
Many viral videos either make me laugh (like the cat playing piano) or make me roll my eyes (like the “Linda Kid”—I seriously would’ve whooped his backside if I were Linda) but this one actually made me angry.
I was angry because of the parodies making light of the situation*.
I was angry because people (mostly men) were saying that the men cat-calling weren’t “being rude”; many of them were saying complimentary things so the woman in the video had no right to be upset.
True, maybe the cat-calling men didn’t mean anything. But, speaking from experience, as a woman, when you’re whistled at or a man hollers something at you, you have a right to be upset.
Whenever I experienced this, it made me feel dirty. It made me feel like I was just a piece of meat and that I existed just for someone to gawk at. It made me feel violated and, if we’re being honest, it made me feel very unsafe. If that guy clear across the street has the gall to whistle at me and talk about my backside, what else would he do? Would he attack me? Would he try to rob me?
When I was 7 months pregnant—obviously showing—I stopped at a gas station on my way to work to fill up my truck. Three men pulled up at the pump next to mine, piled out of their work truck and leaned up against the pump and stared at me. One whistled through his teeth, another click his tongue and nodded suggestively at me, and the third said, “Ey, Mama!”
I rolled my eyes, put the gas cap back on, and left. I could not believe it! Here I was, clearly carrying a child, wearing my wedding ring, and three—THREE!—men gave me unwanted and uncivilized attention.
So when I saw the video of the woman in NYC, I understood where she was coming from and why she posted the video. Its intrusive, it’s demeaning, and, quite frankly, its annoying. (I really don’t understand the point of cat calling either. What do these men think is going to happen? A girl is going to say, “Oh, I love it when you say ‘Nice butt!’ Let’s make out!”?
I feel like many folks out in the Web-o-sphere tried to place the blame on the woman in the video:
“Well, what was she wearing?”
“Was she ‘asking for it’?”
“Did she say anything back?”
Again, I felt my blood pressure rise. What does it matter what she was wearing? How does one “ask for” harassment? What if she had said something back? Does that change the fact that she’s been bothered non-stop by men on the street?
I sense myself going off on a tangent here, so I’ll stop before I get so riled up that I need to bust out my essential oils to calm me down, LOL. So tell me what you think!
What’s your take? Would you think it would be different if the model were a man instead of a woman? Do you think that cat-calls are harmless or harassment?
*I won’t lie. I love parodies. However, there are some things that need to be taken seriously. And if you say “Well, you just need to get a sense of humor” then you obviously know NOTHING, John Snow.