“Hey, Beautiful”: On the Racist and Classist Implications of the Catcalling Video

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Yesterday, a video went viral on the Internet. The video was of a woman, Shoshana Roberts, who spent the day walking through Manhattan, during which time she experienced over 100 instances of catcalling. Released by the anti-street harassment start-up Hollaback!, the video was the idea of Rob Bliss, of Rob Bliss Creative, who “was inspired by his girlfriend—who gets street harassed all the time ” to make the PSA. Watch the video. See if you can make it through without squirming in discomfort at and unwelcome recognition of the relentless onslaught of commentary that Roberts faces. I couldn’t. It’s easy to understand what made so many women (and some men) laud the video as essential viewing and as a reminder of what it is that women have to deal with on a daily basis. Simply put, street harassment is most definitely a real issue that countless women experience and suffer through. And yet, despite its popularity, this video actually winds up raising issues that are just as troubling and insidious as the one it attempts to address. 

The fact that the video chooses to showcase the experience of a white woman experiencing harassment almost exclusively at the hands of black and Latino men is a pretty clear indication of who the audience for this video is supposed to be, namely, those who seek to protect and defend innocent white women, aka the already existing societal power structure. It’s no coincidence that Roberts is presented in the video as being explicitly not responsible for the attacks on her because she’s not wearing “provocative” clothes and she doesn’t respond to any of the verbal assaults thrown at her. The clear implication here is that Roberts is just an innocent woman who doesn’t deserve these catcalls, thus suggesting that there are some women who, because of the way they dress or because of the way they respond, could be thought to be asking for it. Roberts is, in a sense, the ideal victim, the one we love to rally behind. Not only is she not asking for all these catcalls, but in case you had any doubts that she definitely doesn’t want to be approached, it is made clear that Roberts has a boyfriend who is filming her because he too wants to protect her from… whom exactly? Oh, multitudes of anonymous black and Latino men? How gallant of him. How evocative of countless other examples of men wanting to protect the safety of white women.

I’m not dismissing how disturbing catcalling can be. I’ve experienced it extensively, as has literally every other woman I know. I’ve experienced it walking down the street alone at night, all dressed up to go out on a date. I’ve experienced while I was walking in the park, pushing my son in his stroller. It’s an invasion and part of a larger systemic problem, and I’m not attempting to invalidate when it happens to straight white women like me. But. But! As even Hollaback! admits:

Street harassment disproportionately impacts women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and young people. Although the degree to which Shoshana gets harassed is shocking — the reality is that the harassment that people of color and LGBTQ individuals face is oftentimes more severe and more likely to escalate into violence. These forms of harassment are not just sexist — but also racist and homophobic in nature.

Hollaback continues to caution that street harassment is “not a ‘cultural’ thing, perpetrated mostly by men of color” but is rather a “‘cultural’ thing in the sense that it emerges from a culture of sexism—and unfortunately—that is everyone’s culture.”  Even Roberts herself admits, “I’m harassed by white men, black men, latino men. Not a day goes by when I don’t experience this.”

And yet, despite the acknowledgement that street harassment primarily affects people other than straight white women, and that the perpetrators are not limited to one racial group or one socio-economic class, the video helps to perpetuate the long-held, erroneous belief that harassment mostly takes the form of white women being bothered by “low class” men of color. Why? Well, maybe—just maybe—this has to do with the fact that, through this video, Hollaback is soliciting viewers for donations, and is thus counting on the outrage of people with money, i.e. people who have disposable income and a certain place in the pre-existing power structure which has no problem with the ongoing propagation of the myth of the white woman as the ur-victim.

The problem isn’t just that this video exists, it’s also that there’s no video of what more typical street harassment actually looks like, which is probably because a transwoman of color being harassed might not be as much of a donation getter as the video of Roberts. This morning, Ayesha Siddiqi, editor-in-chief of The New Inquiry, tweeted extensively about her problems with the video, and wrote: “a white woman filming & shaming black men for saying hi to her are you sure your gender equality doesnt look a lot like class+race anxiety,” going on to say, “the reason rape statistics are so high in this country is bc of the disproportionate lvl of violence against women of color.” Siddiqi also issued this reminder:  “white women yr protection has always been the available guise for policing men of color here+abroad be careful how yr deploying yourselves;” and tweeted: “women of color let’s make videos of what it’s like walking thru crowds of drunk white guys at sporting events/st Patrick’s day/frat events.”

Siddiqi is well aware, though, of the fact that such a video, one in which aggressive white men are the villains, is never going to get the same response as the one in which minority men are cast as the bad guys. Need proof? Look at the media coverage of the New Hampshire pumpkin festival riots and compare it to the coverage of the Ferguson protests following the killing of Mike Brown. The thing is, when minority men are the aggressors, we start to hear people talking about how to solve problems, as if the behavior of these men are simply aberrations that can be erased by whatever means necessary (including, apparently, donating to a website). But when white men are the aggressors? Well, then, admitting that they are a problem would be admitting that our society has a problem and that there are bigger changes that need to be made that would involve real and profound work. And who wants to do that? Especially when so many of us benefit from the society as it is already?

The problem with this video is that even though it claims to speak for the experience of all women, the women who are disproportionately affected by street harassment are nowhere to be seen. If this video had featured a woman of color, one who belonged to the LGBTQ community, there would have been a better representation of what the most common victims of harassment actually face. But who knows if a video like that would have garnered as much sympathy, or as many donations? Well, Hollaback probably knows, which is exactly why they endorsed this white-washed version rather than depicting a day in the life of someone who is far more likely to be victimized.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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107 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, He would have achieved a similar result in a tough (working class) white neighborhood. I’m not sure about the more affluent areas though. Maybe that’s why woman in the Middle East dress completely covered to avoid these situations. It seems the more diverse and educated the area the less chance of anti-social behavior. BTW she’s Hot! Hey Baaaaby!

    • wealthy, educated people don’t really do the things those guys in the video did. but the girl was very attractive so of course she’ll get some attention. middle eastern women dress the way they do because women in that culture are taught modesty.

    • WHITE construction workers catcall more than anyone on the planet! You can’t walk for 10 hours in Manhattan and not come across 1000’s of them. The only way they’re not in this video is that they were edited out. And where are the Italians…Nobody catcalls more than Italians…aren’t they white. Make a video of a beautiful voluptuous woman walking pass a construction site or through an Italian neighborhood and watch what happens. Men from BLUE COLLAR WORKERS down to the homeless catcall women…it’s an American pastime, and has nothing to do with race or urban culture: Construction Workers, Truck Drivers, Cowboys, Rednecks and Trailer Tr***sh included.

      • “Nobody catcalls more than Italians”

        Careful, your prejudice is starting to show. I forgot though, you’re allowed to condemn an entire group of people with your right hand while waving the shield of equality with your left hand these days aren’t you?

        Sincerely,
        The introverted Italian who finds nothing more intimidating than talking to a stranger, be they man or woman so I avoid it at all costs.

    • The difficulty with all this calling out of catcalling right now is precisely that it’s condemning behaviours of men who have had limited education. So, yes, it is largely a class issue. And class issues are largely race issues. Privileged females must also check themselves before they wreck themselves.

  2. Hopefully this will raise awareness of what all women go through… but it’s easy to imagine it just rekindling fantasies of dangerous minorities chasing white women.

    • Benny, I think it’s worse than that. This video makes it easy for White (or upper class) harassers to shake their fingers at the crass men of colour they see in it and feel okay about the methods they themselves use to harass women. It creates a harassment hierarchy where they are okay and these men are bad.

      It’s a bad message and it was used to play on White fear without addressing the issue at all.

  3. On the one hand, I think you make some really good points. On the other, stop writing and go make the freaking video you want. OK. Go. Now. Thanks.

  4. While you raise some good points, I believe the point about dress is the OPPOSITE of what they were trying to do. Had they made a video of a woman in a mini skirt, all sorts of idiots would go on about how it was that. I’ve been told a million times that the attempted rape I experienced was most likely due to ‘what I was wearing’….(a dress, that was worn to school that day-so school appropriate length, etc). Anyway, I think they put her in ‘normal’ casual clothes to make the point “Hey, it doesn’t matter what she wears, it’s still going to happen.”

    And was it her boyfriend filming? I didn’t realise that.

    • I’m in agreement, the writer’s statement of “The clear implication here is that Roberts is just an innocent woman who doesn’t deserve these catcalls, thus suggesting that there are some women who, because of the way they dress or because of the way they respond, could be thought to be asking for it.” just seemed to be grasping for outrage. There’s no implication there, the creators merely didn’t want to give detractors the excuse that her garb caused it. By dressing her politely they inforce the fact this happens to most women.

    • That was NOT her boyfriend. The writer should get her facts right. It was a guy who has another girlfriend, who also experiences this.

  5. This articulates pretty well some of the nagging issues I had while watching this video. Everything about it felt cynical and calculated, as if it was designed more for its viral capabilities than for its interest in saying anything substantial.

  6. Thank you. Precise reaction I had to the video, but couldn’t articulate as effectively. Another interesting point: the boyfriend/filmmaker, Rob Bliss, claims he’s a columnist for the right-wing/conservative Washington Times. Hmmm….

  7. White feminists often fall into the trap of using whiteness as a baseline to all misogyny, and while I feel this is dangerous, let’s not ignore the fact that sexuality, gender, and race are simultaneous and overlapping experiences. Is the video privileging white victimhood? Of course it is.

  8. Thanks for that particularly well-placed reference to Emmett Till!! Really helps me contextualize the issue.

    Also this article sucked in pretty much every way possible

  9. Wasn’t it Emmett Till, a 14 year old black boy who was murdered for whistling at a white woman? And so what is this video supposed to do?
    White woman gets catcalls from mostly black and Hispanic men, there’s not even an attempt to go through a more mainstream area. When I watched this, seeing what seems to be unemployed men sitting on folding chairs on the sidewalk, I thought it was a racist video. I’ve seen other videos where the woman confronts the men and it is a mixture of white and black. But this video seems to focus on low income men.

    • That’s because many feminists and egalitarians aren’t seeing the true enemymand the ones who do, don’t care to combat the true enemy because it means they have to change and learn to be partial and objective, which goes against the nature of our species.

      The enemy I speak of is classism, which is and ALWAYS has been the true enemy… but few people exist who dare to say it, because you will be shamed mercilessly if you dare suggest that equality isn’t about gender or race. Or even sexuality. It’s about money, now and always (unless we act)

      For example. I’m a broke ass white guy, who works 50 hour weeks and gets fucked for overtime by my rich ass boss who knows I can’t do a damn thing about it because I’ll lose my job if I do (they don’t actually protect you if you’re a whistleblower) I carry scars from an abusive relationship, like so many other men and woman do. I have my demons and I have been hurt badly before and publicly humiliated, and wondered why nobody stood up for me when they might for another in the same situation. There are times where I want to end it myself because I don’t have any positive people in my life, and can count the nice things people say to me per year on my two hands. My mom and sister hate on me daily and then act like I’m just “too sensitive” and make fun of me for being in debt (abusive relationship, it happens to men and woman both and it sucks… “debt abuse” I call it) and my brother is so apathetic that he doesn’t ever care to step in and tell them to leave me alone when they gang up on me and he sees that I’m damn near broken from it. My father is a god damn rapist, try telling that to somebody and see how they react (Spoiler alert! They tell everybody and then everybody goes on to act as though you’re the one who did it! Why thanks people, glad to know the issue which haunts my entire life is one that we all deem necessary to gossip about and “shame” me over. Hooray! Thanks for the legacy Pa!) speaking of my father, his victim was my 8 year old sister, although strangely she is the sister who is probably nicest to me, only because she can’t be around me because I am a spitting image of my father. So she stays away from me, and I understand why… it just hurts that she and I were so close until I was 16ish)

      Do I sound… human to you? Goodness, if I didn’t say I was a straight white male you might relate to me or think I’m of a different race, gender, or sexual preference. Go ahead, tell me about my “white male privilege”

      I’d trade being white or my “male privilege” any day if it meant I could join the 1%… Those people are the only ones on earth who have any control over their own lives. They control the money and therefore politics. You probably have more in common with me than you think, I’m just a person like you who hurts and wants a better life… and CLASSISM is what stops almost all of us from doing that… if anything about me is remembered, just please be nice to each other and stop writing somebody off because they are male or female, white, or black, or Asian or gay or whatever.

      It’s funny that I’m more in the agnostic/skeptic category, but I wish god was real sometimes so I knew all of our despair wasn’t unnoticed.

  10. Uh, a more “typical” harassment experience being ” transwoman of color being harassed?” I have no doubt that the most severe harassment comes from a minority like this. However, the video demonstrates typical everyday kind of harassment for one woman. A transwoman of color faces life-threatening hate crimes, but Hollaback isn’t about that. It’s about a kind of catcalling that a large amount of people find socially acceptable and can happen to any woman of any race.

    True, she is white-ish, I guess, although she doesn’t scream WASP to me, being a probably-Jewish girl of mixed racial decent, and she doesn’t represent every-woman, just as no woman really can. However, your claim that cat calling in poor areas is a “myth” isn’t backed up by anything except a quote about the severity of calling (as opposed to frequency).

    I am just one woman that doesn’t represent all classes and races. However, when I lived in poorer neighborhoods with large minority populations, I experienced overwhelming, scary, lunatic-levels of harassment. I even had a man follow me home in his car and try to follow me into my home; I had to hide and call the police as it was the middle of the night. He was a minority; if I’d have filmed it, would it have made me racist?

    When I moved to an affluent white neighborhood, the harassment basically stopped. I hate that I can’t talk about this honestly without sounding racist. I have no agenda and no desire to push more issues on a minority group that faces real oppression. I am always on the left side of everything. And yet I can’t help but think we’re not doing anyone any favors if we can’t talk about our experiences with honesty and respect.

    • Agreed, exactly my experience also. This is the same as the reaction to Hope Jahren’s article in the NYT a couple of months ago about rape and sexual harassment of woman scientists in the field- outrage that a white woman is speaking out – in that case a god forbid “tenured white woman”. Speaking out and worse, centering themselves rather than someone else, or talking about their own experiences rather than covering every possible facet of the issue. It amounts to attacks on feminists by other feminists for not doing it right. I am so sick of all the hate poured on white women these days I have stopped following most black women activists on social media.

    • Thank you! Every woman I know who has lived in a large city and is honest with herself has said the exact same thing and I’ve witnessed it myself. But I guess since blacks and hispanics just don’t know any better so us rich white people should give them a pass. That sounds more racist to me, but what do I know? I’m a straight white male, and I don’t even feel guilty about it!

  11. I find it counterproductive to try and make this an issue of the “innocent white woman”. Shoshana Roberts does not look like a typical white woman and I completely commend the concept that she is silent and not provocative because it shows how uncalled for this treatment is. She is a curvy, beautiful woman wearing a normal outfit down NYC streets. Further, if the author claims we should be showing “typical street harassment” this is definitely it!! The majority of the men making these comments are men of color in real life. I know because I am a woman of color and I had the same experience in DC. Showing drunk white men hitting on black woman to me is a ridiculous concept. Going to a frat party or a sporting event is not the same as quietly walking down the street and saying “hey” is not as innocent as that tweet tries to imply.

  12. uhm I don’t think jewish people would consider themselves ‘white’ and shoshana is jewish. i know she looks white, but maybe you should consider that.

    • jews are white. the problem is people think jewish people are a actual race lol and they are not. They are a small group of people that claim they are descendants of Isaac. So what you have to say makes no sense.So for all case this was a white woman walking in a area that insights that type of behavior. Whats wrong with this video is that its not a generalized picture its the total opposite in fact and thats what this article is trying to tell you. Thats like a black man walking in a all white area in the south and being called the n word by a few drunk racist southerners and saying this is what all black man go through in the world and better yet some how try to tie it into a only man issue instead of making it a only black man issue. This is an only white woman issue in a poor minority area a small part of a small issue not a global one. damn i hate being smart around so many stupid people.

      • Jewish individuals are white-passing but do not experience the same white privilege that non-Jewish white people do. They have gone through years of persecution and suffering for their ETHNIC *and* religious identities and should not be dismissively considered a white person.

        • please educate us more about the privilege possessed by non-Jewish whites in the US possess that Jewish whites do not. American Jews are fantastically successful and vastly over-represented in professional fields, finance, media and government. What planet are you living on?

      • Why did you feel the need to place your hypothetical man of color in the South, in order for him to be called a pejorative? You obviously haven’t traveled around this country, not to mention many others, if you think racial epithets are tossed out more freely in Southern states. I think experienced folks would tell you that you would likely find that to be much less, not common, and that cities like Chicago, DC, NYC, Boston, etc., would be your best location for hypothetical overt racism.

  13. A lot of really interesting points, and it was enlightening to read but I’m not sure about comments such as : “a white woman filming & shaming black men for saying hi to her are you sure your gender equality doesnt look a lot like class+race anxiety,” – it seems to legitimise the fact that a man, of any colour, is ‘just saying hi’. It implies its not the man’s fault for ‘just being friendly’ but the woman’s for being scared of anyone from another race – I mean it might be true that she suffers from class and racial anxiety, and that is a genuine problem, but it most certainly doesn’t legitimise the behaviour of the people harassing her who happen to be part of those demographics.

  14. I love how instead of questioning why Hispanic and African American men are committing a lot of the abuse in this video, you immediately question the methodology of the video’s creator. Basically, you’re a short step away from victim-blaming. You don’t dispute the fact that minority men commit a disproportionate amount of “catcalling,” in fact you tacitly present it as fact. Yet, instead of addressing the issues within “minority” communities you find an excuse to attack the white community. Yes, an overall “sexist” culture is more to blame for catcalling than “minority” culture. Yes, I suspect minority women are more likely to suffer catcalling than white women, but you hardly propose any solutions or even the reasons for this.

    “The problem with this video is that even though it claims to speak for the experience of all women, the women who are disproportionately affected by street harassment are nowhere to be seen.”

    Well shoot then maybe someone from within the communities that are “disproportionately” affected by this issue should make a video about it…but no apparently minority and trans women only give a damn about the issue when they can simultaneously bitch about straight white women.

    “…there’s no video of what more typical street harassment actually looks like, which is probably because a transwoman of color…”

    No, typical street harassment does not involve a “transwoman of color.” A typical street harassment situation involves a straight, average woman, often of color, being harassed by lower/working class individuals, often of color. However, I suppose we only get true social value out of something if we address sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia all at once.

  15. Ooooooh truth stings! Get out of here with this BS. you know why the video looks how it does? Because poor black dudes are more guilty of this behavior than rich white dudes. But hey give them a pass because they’re sooooo poor and so black they just don’t know how to act! That would be the not racist thing to do right?

    • Yeah totally. Harvard frat boys and wanna be American Psychos are squeaky clean. This is precisely why this video went as viral as it did and why it’s so problematic. As always, people of color serve as ciphers for uniquely racial pathologies. Better that white men star as spurious Egyptian pharaohs and leading a pack of villagers in China. When it comes to the negative, all of a sudden they’re pushed to the fringes, where people of color take on a lion share of the burden of being human (the bad and the good). Speaking of American Psycho, one of the brilliant things about the movie is that it showed precisely how power and privilege obfuscate deviant and outright criminal behavior. So while the camera caught some of the problematic things that go on at street level here, it didn’t capture the very same thing happening in penthouses… heck even the 3rd floor.

      • So we shouldn’t make videos unless they cover all these bases? Is that what you are saying? If a white man wants to support his girlfriend he should cast a black woman in the video to please you?

      • American Psycho is a horror movie, not a serious critique of white culture. If I referred to the Wire to illustrate points about black culture you would rightly call me an idiot. You should walk around Harvard Square during the day and tape all the white frat boys harassing you. I’ll wait.

        • American Psycho was a book before it was a film. Or can literature not offer up cultural critique either? And absolutely The Wire tapped into the zeitgeist…. I wouldn’t just limit it to black folks. Not sure how there could be prevalent broad daylight harassment taking place on any college campus (yes even your HBCUs). But it certainly has taken place in the “classy” and “sophisticated” final club atmosphere, which has already been documented.

      • And since no black culture can exist without white inventions and technology. And most of black American culture is a culture predicated on crime ignorance, I was pondering the fact that last year black youths, who make up 16% of the youth population, accounted for 52% of juvenile violent crime, including 58% for homicide and 67% for robbery.”
        Black Americans are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery. . . . Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.

  16. This article is a cop-out. Stop playing the race issue when its not there. Do the video with a African American woman or in a mostly Caucasian city. I would all be the same. These men could have shut they’re mouths and silently enjoyed her beauty. But you can’t blame anyone but those african americans and latinos they are the ones who did it, not prompted by race. No matter what color or age, men will be men til the end.

    • That could be true but we only have the edited version. If we got the full ten hours with no editing then we could make an accurate assessment.

  17. The explanation given for why there aren’t more white guys behaving this way is feeble in the extreme. Why make apologies for negative behaviors that are clearly more prevalent among black and hispanic men? Because the video sets out with the mission to show us all what pigs guys can be – not to cast an unfavorable impression of minorities – Whoops!

    The accidental revelation that white guys are less likely to behave in an unacceptable way short-circuits the liberal’s PC brain. Ooops! We didn’t mean to show reality. We wanted to show OUR version of reality.

    I have known more than a few white guys in my life who have howled or otherwise harassed a pretty girl walking down the street. Who would honestly suggest that white guys NEVER behave like that. I nearly mixed it up with two white guys who said something nasty to my Latina wife on the street in New Orleans.

    No reasonable person believes that all the white guys in the world are noble, hard-working gentlemen while that every black guy is an non-working thug. But let’s not twist ourselves into ridiculous politically correct knots trying to pretend that there aren’t some troubling social pathologies in the black and hispanic communities.

    Everyone knows that there are higher rates of criminal and anti-social behavior among blacks and hispanic males, along with higher rates of poverty, family breakdown and joblessness. Stop dancing around the facts. The frequency with which this woman was bothered sure surprised me. The fact that mostly black and hispanic guys were the more common perpetrators did not.

  18. Because she happens to be white, and chooses to wear the clothes she probably normally wears, and this suddenly because an issue of race? Perhaps the next video will have someone more ethnic, or something differently dressed. The point is it so happens that the person who wanted to do it, is these things, she cannot magically become something else.
    Besides between her general look and the name Shoshana, she is almost certainly Jewish, which may still be white (mostly), but is ethnic to an extent.
    And as Les first commenting said, I too suspect the ethnicity of the callers themselves is more to do with area, upbringing, affluence and education, rather than race or colour. I am sure white men in the same area would behave the same way.
    It would be easy to argue that more people of these backgrounds are ethnic, but that is unconnected to the point of this video, that is a different issue altogether.

    This is just like the Williams sisters’ outcry last week…if we keep trying to turn issues of sexism into issues of racism, then the original sexism just once again gets overlooked and forgotten.

  19. I agree with JMS. You’re undermining the point of the video by shouting racism. He didn’t chose her because she was white. He chose her because she is his girlfriend and she agreed to be filmed and exposed to harassment for 10 hours. More importantly, it doesn’t matter that she’s white. It doesn’t even matter that she’s a she. This harassment can happen to any woman or any man of any color. The point is that we need to stop allowing this harrassment to exist in our society.

    If you so desperately want to prove your point, then make your video with a black or Hispanic woman or transgender person walking through a white neighborhood and shock the world. Until you’re ready to do that, stop making false accusations at an organization that is trying to spread awareness and do good.

  20. You’re right about the money I think. Although I’m not buying the idea that the pinnacle of women being harassed is a trans* person. That is probably the most sick thing ever. Yeah trans folk experience terrible things but don’t completely eliminate women raised as girls getting catcalls at like…11 years old to prove how progressive you are. There isn’t a need to have levels of what’s really bad and other women should shut up.

  21. You claim that the belief certain races catcall more than others due to is erroneous, but you provide no evidence at all. I am not advocating for the claim certain races catcall more, but I think it could potentially be correct and it’s unreasonable for you to dismiss it so easily, it is worth looking into. Social justice is too important for you to just adopt whichever assumptions you find most palatable, lazy criticism will never be able to improve society.

  22. When my wife heard this argument, she quickly dismissed it. Why? Because she says nearly all the street harassment she gets–in New York City–is from black and Latino men. And she is Latina, so spare me.

  23. While agree there needs to a broader discussion regarding the intersection of race, gender, orientation etc. I think the write overstates her case by claiming this is a case of a white woman shaming black man for saying hi….while I understand she is trying to provoke a conversation I think she is mischaracterizing the people who created the video.

  24. I was discussing this very topic over email and I’d love to quote a response from a friend:

    “My friend noted, as the article does, that the woman in the video only walks through black neighborhoods so there isn’t anything to compare it to.

    But, I think class and opportunity creates different spaces for different groups of men to harass women and try to exert power. On the street, it may be black and brown men just cause I dont see white men hanging out on the corner like that. But, in the workplace and academia, they most vile and disgusting things I’ve ever heard towards women come from white men.

    At the end of the day, misogyny and sexism has no color.”

    • Your friend is right on the money. Harassment is certainly not limited to the streets and perhaps the more dangerous of the harassers are the ones in positions of power, like your boss, or your pastor (yes this is well known and well documented).

      I agree largely with the writer when she says the video doesn’t represent the whole story since it edited out the catcalls from white men. The makers of the video were explicit about that. But, after watching the video, I had to say that some of these men were simply saying “hello”. I am not by any means trying to say she was not harassed at all, because it’s clear that she was. But let’s find the happy medium where a guy can say “hello” or “you look nice” to a lady without us labeling it harassment. Geesh… not everything said about minorities is racism and not everything a man says to a woman is harassment.

      I’m just saying that these things lose their effectiveness when they are overused and the real incidences are not given the attention they deserve.

      • But the movie is about one woman’s experience of *street* harassment. Why does everything have to cover every angle, every experience? it will only weaken the message. It seems only white women are subjected to this criticism lately.

        And how many moments of real vs not-real-friendly comments would be enough for you? Do you even realize that the “friendly” guys are trying to force her to interact with them in a public space? Unbelievable how much criticism this has garnered, much more than the sexist crap shoved down our throats every day.

        Sad. Is it perhaps true that women are their own worst enemies?

  25. It’s too real. I was in nyc for 9 months and I have this kind of sexual assault everyday… Men have a huge cultural problem, this is not a racial or class problem, this is cultural. My experience was the same with men of color and poorly educated. Im living in midwest and is completely different culture and I have not had this kind of experience anymore. I don’t want that a man say, Hello! because I know his bad intention. Don’t be stupid! this kind of comments is not innocent. it’s my body, nobody is allowed to say something about MY BODY.

  26. C’mon people. To suggest that this woman walking through a less diverse neighborhood, would receive a similar response is ridiculous. Firstly, lets think about the time of day and the fact that these animals are out and hanging on the street corner like children. Then lets focus on how aggressive these people get with young women in general. The fact that the actress is white makes little to no difference in my opinion. black women get the same responses and I have witnessed it first hand. However everyone and their mother will try to make a racial episode out of this video. The severity of the social issues here should be addressed but never will because certain groups will throw their hands up in the air and claim any such repercussions are racist.

  27. I’m a black woman and give this article a nope.

    You know full well ninjas and Latinos are more open and aggressive with that shit. Stop being disingenuous trying to invent clickbait.

    All the man did was walk his lady through a neighborhood in NYC. He didn’t call central fucking casting and tell them to populate the street up with ninjas. They were sitting or standing there and did what you and I both know full fucking well a ninja will do.

    Shut up with this. She was harassed. Are you jealous? Walk in a white neighborhood full of drunk white boys of Irish descent on any drinking holiday and see how aggressive white men will just be too towards us girls of color. Used to be when no one was watching. Beyonce has changed this. They are full frontal up in women’s face the same way, just a little dialed back on the volume.

    Drop the coke straw. Your article is crazy. You’re instigating.

  28. These comments are evidence of peoples inability and unwillingness to look at things honestly when it comes to race. FACT: the video was edited FACT: editing is always done with an agenda FACT: they are asking for donations, there is more money to made in pandering to the fears of wealthy white folks. FACT: Racism and Classism are prevalent in this society.

  29. Vapid commentary.

    Is the author trying to imply that the video was actually made to attack the reputation of ‘“low class” men of color’ in order to assuage the egos of those white men who might make a donation from their presumably deep pockets? Absurd no? This type of reverse racism has unfortunately become the accepted norm for second rate social media mags proliferate on the web today. The author, when the video content doesn’t conform to her wishes on how society should be, spews discredit and vitriol on the “oppressive” classes that conspire to deceive us and reinforce the evil white male power structures that have designs on relentlessly forwarding their exclusive agenda. Give me a break.

    The author further asserts:

    ‘…the video helps to perpetuate the long-held, erroneous belief that harassment mostly takes the form of white women being bothered by “low class” men of color.’

    Straw man. Not only that but a racist statement in itself presuming that this is taken for granted to be the defacto stance of white men presumably.

    Ironically, you’ve only exposed your own reverse sexism and racism in the guise of a call to the arms for the underprivileged who are once again unfairly mis-reprsesented. I posit that you’re actually using the underprivileged to pedal your absurd article and to reinforce your world view in which you sit as the no-nonsense defender of the perpetually assailed underclass. You do all of this while attempting to discredit a piece of work that was trying to convey a valid and real issue – you should be ashamed.

  30. I enjoyed reading this article and I believe it raised some very valid points about the horrible harassment people of various minority groups endure.
    However, I feel that your criticism of the video is somewhat unfair. I would like to point out that I have not seen the video, because I feel it would be a very uncomfortable experience. I base my thoughts on descriptions of the video.
    “The fact that the video chooses to showcase the experience of a white woman experiencing harassment almost exclusively at the hands of black and Latino men is a pretty clear indication of who the audience for this video is supposed to be”

    There are allegations of Hollaback editing out instances of white harassment, and that would be totally unacceptable. However, if those are not true, we cannot argue that the video ‘chooses’ to show a particular experience; it simply chronicles the events as they took place. The race of the harassers is not something that could have logically been planned.
    “The clear implication here is that Roberts is just an innocent woman who doesn’t deserve these catcalls, thus suggesting that there are some women who, because of the way they dress or because of the way they respond, could be thought to be asking for it.”

    I believe that this was done to shoot down arguments that some women are provoking harassment by showing that even if a woman follows all these societal guidelines for dress and behavior, she will still face harassment. It shows that the argument is illogical because all women face harassment. It does sink to the level of the people who make this argument by following their logic, but it does so only to expose flaws.
    “Oh, multitudes of anonymous black and Latino men? How gallant of him.”
    The ‘evocation’ of Emmet Till is, to say the least, hyperbolic. The fact that her boyfriend is filming her has more to do with the fact that he proposed the video.
    “ the video helps to perpetuate the long-held, erroneous belief that harassment mostly takes the form of white women being bothered by “low class” men of color.”
    This is a classic debate in activist circles: ‘this problem is more serious, why aren’t we talking about this one’. However, even though you acknowledge the severity of the problem, you invoke the classic ‘you think you’ve got it bad?’ mentality. By bringing up how serious the harassment of minority groups is, you implicitly downplay the issues that white women face.
    A more positive and productive attitude is saying ‘yes, this problem is bad, and there are even worse cases that we should examine’. You shouldn’t be shooting down Hollaback’s effort, you should be using it as a starting point for new ones.

  31. I agree that the video did seem to disproportionately feature men of colour harrassing this white woman, and these images of course have a dangerous history – of black men in the US being killed for whistling at a white woman, for example. Whistling at someone isn’t a crime, nor is saying someone is beautiful or asking them to smile.. However, I don’t understand why the authors of this piece claim that having a black woman or an LGQT person being harassed would be more representative. Anyone who presents as female experiences harassment, or at least, unwanted attention, very frequently at the hands of a range of men.

  32. I am from Venezuela and I live in Germany now. In my country you won’t heard this words, you will heard other more obscene and discounting. In Germany I never heard anything. Is about racial? Yes, it is. Go to any latinAmerican.country.and walk through the urban areas and then.you will realise why this.Is about.racial and cultural differences

  33. I’ve been catcalled and street harassed more times than I can count. The experiences shown in this video are very tame compared to what I’ve experienced. Most of the time I’m asked to perform sexual favors. So, I’m a white woman, in my mid-30s. I have NEVER once been harassed by a white guy. Nor have any of my friends. It is always a black guy or a Latino. Every time. And yes, I walk past white guys too. Sometimes they look, but never say anything to me. They don’t run across the street to harass me. They don’t block my way on the sidewalk to harass me. They don’t follow me and continue to harass me. Based on my own experiences and the experiences of my friends, it’s certain black guys and Latinos that do this. That doesn’t mean that white guys don’t do this, I’m sure they do. However I’ve yet to experience it or hear of any of my friends experiencing it.

  34. “If this video had featured a woman of color, one who belonged to the LGBTQ community, there would have been a better representation of what the most common victims of harassment actually face.”

    So I guess this author has statistics to show how often black/minority women get harassed that would, for some reason, invalidate the experience of this white woman and be less indicative of what a woman walking on the street might go through?

    This article is pointless quibbling, and an indirect way to express her being upset that the video creator did *not* edit out a disproportionate number of white guys acting like idiots.

  35. This seems to be less of a problem that all men need to be aware of, but rather the kind of man who spends more of his day on the streets than not. No man in the video was a man in a business suit, they were people you would expect would be derogatory towards women.
    I wonder, if this were done in a moderately sized city, with a middle to upper class downtown district, would it yield the same results? Would the catcalling be less? I am inclined to believe so.

  36. You might be white, rich, and privileged yourself – maybe a proud inhabitant of Williamsburg! Because clearly you have not lived in minority neighborhoods long enough (or ever) to realize that MEN OF COLOR LIKE TO CATCALL. It’s a fact. White dudes in this city don’t do this, it’s just not their style in this day and age. You know why minority men do this? Women of color (generally hood-rat types, not classy broads like me, OBVIOUSLY) often respond to them and some of them really like it. It makes them feel attractive. And then the black or Spanish cat-caller in turn gets the attention he is so craving (that perhaps he doesn’t receive at home anymore) from mami (girlfriend or wife, not mommy). It’s cultural, it’s an urban habit, and guess what! If the girl in the video had been black or Hispanic herself, she would have received three times as much attention. Sometimes the man of color might hold back, thinking, “hmm…white girl… she won’t respond anyway”. But this particular girl is wearing tight clothes, and has a great voluptuous figure, one that is very appealing to black and Spanish guys: “mmm… white girl with a bubble butt. Lemme holla at her.” So, maybe it is time to talk about race and understand why men of color choose to speak to women (of all colors, but worse to women of color) this way.

    Truthfully speaking,

    Woman of color.

    • You are right on. Couldn’t agree more. Everybody knows white guys don’t catcall as much. Maybe some construction workers from the construction site, but this is urban black culture.

  37. I never talk to women. I avert my eyes and say nothing when a woman passes. It is the correct way to conduct oneself as a man when a Woman is present.

  38. I didn’t notice that the men were primarily black or latino.. I can tell you as a woman – this is VERY REAL. I don’t think most of the men were “harassing” her at all, primarily just being hit on. But it is constant. It happens to me all day, all throughout the day. Being objectified and sexualized due to just wearing regular work clothes (blazer and pants). It’s something that (most) men will never understand. One of the most annoying things that happens to me (and also happened to the woman in the video), is men telling me to “smile” – I’m not here for your entertainment. Also men asking her “what? you don’t want to talk???” It’s like, no d-bag, I’m just trying to get from point A to point B.. I don’t owe you a smile or a conversation. I live in Philly, where there are more African Americans than Caucasians, so that might be another reason why I didn’t notice the race of those on the video – it reflects an accurate population of my city.

  39. What evidence do you have to support your claim that catcalling is NOT particularly strong in a race/culture?
    Is it PC blindness?

    Every race deserves dignity and no one should judge you based on the color of your skin, but some cultures have beliefs about the world that need to be changed if we want to build a good society. Lying to ourselves doesn’t solve the problem.

  40. I live in Europe and I have to say I disagree with the points made in this article. There is no catcalling in my country, Finland. There used to be some, coming from construction workers, but they don’t do that anymore. There were four or five incidents of street rape one winter in the city I live in. All of those were commited by immigrants. Some years ago, I believe in October 2012, there was “wave” of street rapes in Oslo, Norway. The “man” suspected to be guilty for some of the most brutal cases had fled to his home country, Iran, and interpol was looking for him. I found statistics that in general, 100% of the street rapes commited in Norway were commited by non-europeans of foreign origin. The situation in Sweden isn’t much better. According to Ann Christine Hjelm, the equivalent rate in Sweden in the beginnings of the 21st century was 85%. Considering all this, it’s not hard to believe the things portrayed in the original video.

  41. On the TODAY SHOW she admits there were more WHITE MEN harassing her, but the producers of the video told her the audio was screwed up on the footage that contained WHITE MEN CATCALLING so the producers, who just happened to be white men themselves, decided not to us the footage containing WHITE catcallers. HOW REDICULOUSLY CONVENIENT. As for the “sluts” in hip hop videos that most Black guys are used to seeing, most of those “sluts” are WHITE WOMEN. And as for as hip hop culture influencing this behavior towards women, nearly 70% of hip hop culture (music, clothing, etc) is purchased by members of the WHITE COMMUNITY. And finally, how do you not walk pass a single constructions sites during a 10 HOURS walk through Manhattan? Every woman in New York knows that construction workers, most of whom are white, are the biggest catcallers in the city… So, how did mr. rob bliss and crew not capture a single white construction worker in Manhattan. It’s IMPOSSIBLE, unless of course you, EDIT WHITE MEN OUT OF THE VIDEO FOR THE “RACIAL EFFECT” that seems to have captured most of the white guys commenting on this site. So, believe what you want, but in the real world we all know that construction workers, cowboys, and rednecks catcall as much as African-Americans and Latinos.

  42. What you are doing in this article is ignoring a major problem and spinning it onto the wrong victims. Cultures that celebrate in music calling their women ho’s and growing up in unsupervised, single parent homes don’t know how to respect women. Sometimes the problem is so obvious that it is hard to call it out. Lower income Black and Latino men don’t know how to properly respect women. That is the problem. It has nothing to do with a white woman walking down the street, they would have responded exactly the same way if the woman was Latino, Black, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, whatever, as long as she was attractive. It has nothing to do with whites. This is a problem within the Black and Latino communities that will never get solved if we all choose to ignore it due to fears of being labeled a racist.

  43. What exactly is the upshot of this article? This video shouldn’t have been made because the woman is white and her problems aren’t signifiant enough? They should have edited the video to make the racial and socioeconomic breakdown of the harassers more equitable regardless of the reality of the situation? Maybe instead of bitching about efforts to try to make positive change, we could spend more time being critical of people who are perpetuating the problems.

  44. To me this suggests that the Rob Bliss and Roberts created the video with a very clear ideological expectation that viewers draw specific, predetermined conclusions limited to questions of gender. And, moreover, that they were uncomfortable confronting the results of their video with respect to race/ethnicity/class. So Bliss and Roberts want to use the video as evidence of how frequently women are subjected to cat-calling without acknowledging the race/ethnicity of those depicted? The implication is that the viewer should accept “how inaccurate a sample size” is with respect to race/ethnicity, but not extend that same judgment to the larger claim they clearly want to make about men. They are comfortable using the video as a general indictment of men, but refuses to take responsibility for the accompanying charge that the undesirable culture of cat-calling is largely confined to the race/ethnicities/classes represented. I find this kind of selective sanctioning of critique counterproductive, weak-willed, and even despicable. If you show it, own it.

    • ” They are comfortable using the video as a general indictment of men”

      you just made that up. Why?

      The video is a general indictment of street harassment.

      It’s 2-minute youtube video about a single topic.

      Calm down people!

  45. To me this suggests that Rob Bliss and Roberts created the video with a very clear ideological expectation that viewers draw specific, predetermined conclusions limited to questions of gender. And, moreover, that they were uncomfortable confronting the results of their video with respect to race/ethnicity/class. So Bliss and Roberts want to use the video as evidence of how frequently women are subjected to cat-calling without acknowledging the race/ethnicity of those depicted? The implication is that the viewer should accept “how inaccurate a sample size” is with respect to race/ethnicity, but not extend that same judgment to the larger claim they clearly want to make about men. They are comfortable using the video as a general indictment of men, but refuses to take responsibility for the accompanying charge that the undesirable culture of cat-calling is largely confined to the race/ethnicities/classes represented. I find this kind of selective sanctioning of critique counterproductive, weak-willed, and even despicable. If you show it, own it.

  46. I am a white male and never considered the race of the cat callers when viewing this video. My impression has always been its a certain type of guy that does this type of thing, regardless of race.

    Are we heading toward a race neutral society or away from it? I believe there are a good percentage of folks who would rather take the latter path.

  47. While I agree with a lot of your points and I noticed those things too while watching, I still believe that this video has a lot of value.
    There are a lot of problems in the world. But you can’t change them all at once. You don’t change people’s ingrained prejudes by throwing it all in their face at once and telling them that’s they’re ignorant/messed up/self-centered/totally wrong about everything. You have to tackle one issue at a time. You have to make them relate to the issue. You have to feed it to them in small doses.
    This DOES capture the experience of a lot of women. Not ALL women. Not ALL people who are harrassed. If you make a video (and you totally could) with a woman dressed differently/less heteronormative, then many many people would dismess it at face value as not relevant to their lives. But I think there’s a pretty good chance that this video caused some people in the world to think twice. Women who are harassed in this way may realize that they can advocate against this. Some men who cat call may think twice about how it affects the victim. AND they might even make the connection on their own to women with less clothing, or less heteronormative appearances.
    I really believe that there is a lot of work to be done in the world. But I also really believe that knowing how to communicate your ideas so that people will hear them is a valuable part of the work to be done.

  48. The real problem here for the left wing nuts, is that one of their own was dumb enough to move the frig, turn on the lights and and expose the cockroaches. In the eyes of the left, it’s better to leave the frig in place and lights off so that they can continue to blame the 1%, white southerners, corporations, capitalism, men in general, etc etc for all of societies ills.

  49. I am so tired of the “us vs. them” response to this video. Violence against women is violence against women, end of story. Regardless of the race, creed or class of the victim, or perpetrator, this, or any kind of violence or harassment is not acceptable and is worthy of attention. I am an upper middle class white woman who has spent the majority of my life living in major US cities (mostly on the west coast). I am fully aware of my own “white privilege” and believe fully that women of color experience harassment and violence to even worse degrees than white women. That being said, street harassment is violence against women regardless of the race of the individuals involved. Additionally, in my personal experience, while white men are far from innocent when it comes to violence against women as a whole, I have not found “catcalling” to be their usual method of choice, and most of my experiences with the kind of street harassment depicted in this video have been by men of color, and to be honest, I think many of my friends of color would probably agree with that statement. I also take particular issue with the “protecting innocent white women” brand of commentary. I am a strong, independent, intelligent woman who happens to be white and I desire respect, not protection.

  50. Everyone is saying.. “well she is white…”

    We know her name is Shoshanna-A Jewish name… But let’s be for real, if someone told you her name was Hernandez, you wouldn’t bat an eye. She looks Spanish… I’m saying this because if Rob Bliss chose her to elicit sympathy for a white woman, he would have found a whiter white woman…. Honestly, as a white white woman, I get harassed a lot and it’s been admitted to me they do don’t expect it when I curse them out. The comments are that I look like a tourist or that I look like I just got here.

    I’ve also been harassed by older white men and once an Asian but that’s usually on the subway or bus….. she should have filmed on the subway.

  51. Remember ladies, none of these men are gay! When your alleged faithful and trusting boyfriends/husbands make their homophobic comments; instead of laughing with them, think about how you feel when bigoted comments are directed towards you. No one demographic has a monopoly on the desire to be treated with dignity and respect.

  52. The actress looks like she is on a warpath, and that alone gets the kind of attention she is there to film. As a man walking that street with a similar attitude I’d get all sorts of comments, not sexual, but like ‘whoa man who you going to kill?’
    I’d like to see a second video of a similarly attractive black woman walking these same streets but dealing with it in the typical way that she has learned to do so — ignoring them, telling them off, whatever that is. Are there ways to deal with it, unpleasant as it is? Or maybe she would say no way, I’m not looking for harassment. Either would be interesting.

  53. Fist of all, I did not think of this woman as white when I watched this video and was surprised to read that she is considered white for purposes of proving political points. No clue what race she is, do you? She could easily be bi-racial, or Latino, but she is certainly not White White.

    Second, this is addressing street cat calling. Sorry, but no matter how much one might want to make-it-be-so by saying otherwise, cat calling is a cultural phenomenon and, at least where I am from, it is the favored form of sexual harassment of less affluent men who are frequently minorities or belong to the construction worker culture. More affluent harassment exists, but is more subtle and, frankly more harmful. I have never felt threatened by a cat caller, whereas the men who were my supervisors had real power over my salary and my life.

  54. Wealthy men don’t cat call. They hire high priced prostitutes, or not so high priced prostitutes and pay to do and have them do the most despicable things. Which is worse? I think that’s worse than cat calling. I was physically violated by 4 wall street looking WHITE men, while I walked with another man on 7th ave, in NYC. I was walking towards them and 2 parted on each side to let me through in the middle and one of the ones closer to me ran his hand across my stomach and crotch. But you know, I must have been asking for it since I was wearing a little black dress and strappy shoes! I also was physically violated on a train by an african man. It doesn’t matter what class or color. Predators are predators and they’ll prey on you if they think they can get away with it. When I was younger, I internalized as me being dressed too provocatively, and on the train, I felt, well if I wasn’t shaped like a grown woman (I was 16) with a big ass and small waist, this man would not be attracted and would not squeeze his penis on my ass when the train brake. Later I realize I have nothing to feel other than outrage in either situation. Before these people assaulted me, I didn’t even realize they were alive. But they saw me. They consciously decided to act on their impulse because they thought they would get away with it, that I would silently take it, because they were many in one instance and because I was clearly young in the other (I was wearing a catholic school uniform). Men who prey on women regardless of status, class race are predators. Their achievements have no bearing on their character as predators.
    I would not feel any differently about this video if it included white men. I know intimately that they will do the same or much worse than black or latino men if they are given the chance, as long as that shitty disposition is present. I understand the author and Ms Siddiqi’s sentiments about the video’s lack of white men representation. It is misleading to only portray the black and latino men doing it when I have had a an ORTHODOX JEWISH MAN, curls and all stick his tongue out and do a lewd gesture at me while the train I sat on pulled out of the station. SMH. I’m very torn by the fact that I applaud the video displaying how scary catcalling can get and how malignant catcalling actually is. I am torn that some of the most vicious, lewd and depraved of these men are not represented. How lucky can one group of people get! Even sirens conspire to always give them the upper hand in all things. WHITE MEN -even rich educated ones- CAT CALL, GROPE AND RAPE. We know that. Now someone needs to do a video showing that shit.

  55. This analysis makes me very uncomfortable because it reads as denying this woman’s experience. I feel MUCH more comfortable with deconstructing the problematic racial composition of the perpetrators through editing as other articles have addressed more fully.

    I do not feel comfortable with how the backlash from this video has silenced this woman. Obviously, class-privileged heterosexual white ciswomen’s voices have been privileged by society, and this focus has oppressed/marginalized the experiences of others. I agree that this video is another example of such occupation. I agree with the sentiment of the article, but I think there is a space between “this video should not have been made” and “this video is fine.” The author of this article writes, “It’s an invasion and part of a larger systemic problem, and I’m not attempting to invalidate when it happens to straight white women like me” but then DOES. It’s like when someone starts a sentence, “I don’t want to sound sexist, but…” I read this as feminist infighting, and not the fun reflexive kind.

    We are watching a woman get harassed all day. Watching the woman get visibly upset. She enters a situation that, if a cameraperson had not been there, she probably would have feared for her life. And then this unilateral and dismissive backlash against the video, against her. The video, the organization- problematic. The woman in that video? How does it feel for her to have her victimization picked apart, slandered, and called out for perpetuating oppression? That is what worries me. Because those reactions would have happened, continue to happen to her every day. Today. Is the message to her that now her experiences do not matter? That her victimization is unimportant because it happens less frequently?

    I think the jarringly static thinking around this (as seen in this article) is what causes me pause and concern. There is SPACE for both. For violence enacted on bodies that carry some types privilege to matter, and for that to not detract or take away from the importance of exposing how victimization has been marginalized for those who experience it more frequently. We have come FAR in realizing that ‘oppression olympics’ are holding us back. Yes, it’s more frequent for other groups and YES the impact of having these marginalized groups’ experiences silenced is enormous and problematic. But the cure for this is not by diminishing her experience. The cure is pointing out who the video is not showing, how this invisibility is historically and socially common, and how this needs to change. But not by dragging this woman down. The backlash has told this woman that the violence that happens to her is unimportant because she holds privilege in some of her identities. It reminds me of someone claiming that a woman raped in college is not as important as a person assaulted in a less affluent setting. Deciding who has it worse does not help, and in fact creates a hierarchy of who deserves our understanding of the pain of violence. Screw that. Do better, feminist analysis.

  56. Sometimes you have to take a first step before you reach the finish line. A lot of people deny that street harrassment happens, a lot of people say “she was asking for it, the way that she was dressed…” a lot of people say “Hey, why are you complaining about being flattered?” Putting forward a protagonist that those people can relate to, and that they can’t blame, is a first step towards pricking sleeping consciences. A first step. Can’t we ask for the second step, the third step, and so forth without demonizing the first one for being smaller than we would have liked?

  57. I don’t agree with all of the racial bias protests about the Shoshana Roberts catcall video. Pundits and journalists sympathetic to black and LGBTQ rights are quick to criticize the veracity of the video; some citing that the event was staged to misrepresent black and latino men as being gadflys and sexual predators of white women. I beg to differ. FIrst, if black women, latino women, or queer women wanted to create a similar video documentary, the only thing stopping them would have been the lack of will and wherewithal to do it. The video created by Hollaback was not created using high tech Steven Spielberg cinematography. It looked more like a film school student’s first year project to me…absolutely nothing elaborate of special effects about it. Why are black people, et al, getting upset about one media outfit’s take on a subject that had apparently gone unnoticed by minority figureheads until AFTER the project was completed and put before the public eye? Then, all of a sudden, there are protests of injustice and misrepresentation of “our men”. Well I call a spade a spade and a creep a creep. I don’t sugarcoat the truth or try to tone down the participation of anyone in abhorrent behavior. Maybe the Hollaback video was slanted to misrepresent the catcalling of minorities. So what? That doesn’t change the fact that many minority men DO catcall and they shouldn’t because the behavior is disgusting. Second, if minority groups are so bent out of shape about the Hollaback video, they can easily and cheaply create their own documentary with their own, unique slant too instead of bitching and moaning about what some white people did to them. If they feel that white men catcall just as much if not more, they should create their own documentary proving it and stick that out there to balance out these cultural memes. Simple as that. At the end of the day, Hollaback doesn’t owe black people, latinos, or queers anything. Those who feel that they have been wronged must avenge themselves because no one else is going to do it for them.

  58. Why does this have to be turned into such a complicated issue? Sorry, I’m a mixed-Asian and Latin girl and 90% of the harassment I experience is from black and Latin men. Yes, it’s a cultural thing. No, attempting to make the issue more politically correct won’t change that. Black and Latin men are also more likely to call me a “bitch” when I ignore their advances. Of course it’s not all of them, but it’s still a major issue.

  59. Women only seem to dislike catcalling by low value makes. Also I’m not sure “how are you today” should count as harassment. The video doesn’t seem a bit racist, it IS racist.

  60. Brooklyn Magazine has a bad SJW infestation. I can tell in advance what this author is going to say due to the predictability of the SJW narrative. It’s tiresome and boring. Also, when did Brooklyn, previously brash, loud, and straight-talking, become a bunch of lame PC pearl-clutching hand-wringers? Racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism, ageism, blah blah blah. Ugh.

  61. When men feel that a woman dresses in a way which accentuates their sexiness, men feel entitlted, wrongly or rightly, to say something. This is not something that will be fixed soon. In the meantime, women who don’t want to be catcalled should dress in a way that doesn’t accentuate their boobs with tight fitting shirts. The woman in the video has a tight tshirt on. Remove that and you don’t have a video anymore. There is a video actually on youtube where a women wears a tight shirt and gets cat called and then that same woman dresses in muslim wear and doesn’t get cat called. It’s all about how women dress. Women want to wear their sexuality on their sleeves, but they want men to sit silent.

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