For those of you unaware, find time to check out Hollaback’s Catcall video that has gained much attention in the last few weeks. This video features a young woman, whose name is not provided, walking 10 hours through the streets of New York City in the Manhattan area. This was a demonstration video, and the woman was aware of what could possibly occur. During those 10 hours she encountered many direct verbal approaches from men that consisted of “Hey, Beautiful,” “Smile,” “What’s your name” and many more. The video does not include the countless hoots, hollers, winks and whistles received during her stroll in the city. After this video was distributed in late October it has been the topic of many discussions.
If you have been on the internet in the last few weeks, you have come across at least one cover of the “Catcalling” video that has gone viral. This video plainly speaks for itself in the fact that this is a real issue. This subtle, yet effective, harassment is what women constantly deal with and are sometimes afraid of happening to them when they walk out their door. However, there are a few things that this video does not cover and a few things that need to be addressed.
It is, quite honestly, a terrifying situation to witness this woman walking down a street and gaining this unwanted attention. There are some things that can be ignored by the street comments, but what really gained my attention were the men that would follow her and badger her after she obviously would not pay them attention. What makes these men think they are entitled to silently stalk a woman as she walks down the street? I was holding my breath waiting for something terrible to happen. To me, that is harassment, and that is not acceptable.
There has been feedback from this video on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and even news reports with people that have several different points of view. A few have gathered under the opinion that women should stand up for themselves; if they do not want that attention, then say something. On the other side people have stated that a woman’s space should be respected and comments should not be made in the first place.
All are reasonable arguments, however, I would like to point out a few things. They are not talking about how limited this video is. There is another side to this street harassment. There are women who take public transportation and not only have to deal with rude comments, but invasion of personal space. Whether it be on public buses or a subway, when confined in a limited space with strange men, some men think they can get away with groping, grabbing and grazing.
There are different types of women out there as well that receive harassment every day, as well. How about the harassment experienced by older women or heavier women that society does not see as “average.” What about those women that already deal with harsh unwanted comments? There should be some comparison videos of woman in expensive clothing or women in less expensive clothing. There should be comparisons of women in different age groups or different weight.
Women have the right to stand up for themselves. Where are the videos of women who do not just keep walking, but turn around and face their harasser? There are men who will resort to violence if they are ignored or rejected and a woman, who has every right to stand up for herself, can be in danger if she retaliates. Early in October a 27-year-old woman, Mary Spears, from Detroit was shot and killed because she refused to give a man her number. Spears was approached by a man on the street who asked for her number. After she refused the man continued to harass her and eventually a fight broke out that ended with Spears being shot. As a woman, I have more than enough rights to say no to any kind of advancement from a man, but what if it’s at the cost of my own life?
There is a difference between getting a compliment, complementing someone and forcing your opinion on a person based on their appearance. Though this video is important, it is tame. This is a topic that should be discussed more often because not everyone knows exactly what is happening to women when something like a “Hey, baby” or a “Can I get your number” is thrown at us. Let us hear what a woman has to say about the topic. This video is only a glimpse at what women have to endure every single day.