I just want to start this off by saying that I am more than slightly offended by the words in this article. If you haven’t read it, please do. Chris Haven offers amazing insights into the life of a woman. Thank you, Chris, for really understanding the daily trials and tribulations of the modern day woman. We salute you and your sympathetic words.
There are just a couple points of clarification that need to be made on the topic of what is considered street harassment and what is approaching a woman with the intention of asking for a date… Or even to genuinely compliment her in a non-leering, acceptable way.
It honestly makes us feel unsafe. Living in a big city (Montréal) I get these bold exclamations nearly every day when I walk down the street. And no, they aren’t just from the massive amounts of the homeless in this city, they were from people who looked presentable, not the typical “harasser” that was portrayed in the video. The thing is, the fact that these people feel like they need to comment on my body, my face, my hair made me feel uncomfortable, almost dirty, and like I’m just a piece of meat that anyone can scoop up. I take pride in my appearance, I like showing off my body, and doing my hair, but when the leering starts it makes me want to cover up my body that I take pride in and hide away in a hole. I am a smart and capable woman who likes to be valued on more than her sexual appeal. How dumb is that, right?
Now, I’m definitely not saying that we should stifle the voices of the many men in this city, or any other city. No. As was said in the original article, citizens have the right to free speech. We aren’t trying to get you in trouble. We’re not infringing on your basic right to free speech. The Hollaback Project is simply trying to raise awareness and sympathy for the way that women are treated and how it needs to be fixed, or at least understood by the male population (or anyone that doesn’t get harassed).
The expression of communication through speech in this video is actually quite flagrant. This kind of projection mentally strips down the woman until she’s naked. That’s an extremely vulnerable place in which put another human being. Can you imagine being so uneasy with the “compliments” that someone else is giving you that you want to rush passed them? It sucks; I’m not going to dress it up. It genuinely sucks.
On to the subject of race and imminent racial discrimination that will surely ensue after this video went viral: No. Just no.
We as women aren’t just background noise anymore. Our voices are getting heard and we need a society that respects us enough to refrain from the vulgar and uneasy comments that are thrown our way [literally] everyday. The issue of respect is not stopping when the woman doesn’t respond, but rather having the common decency to refrain altogether or to phrase it in a way that doesn’t feel threatening. As a population, women have so much to worry about. Like honestly, so much. We don’t need one more ass-hat telling us that we are overreacting to feeling unsafe when we walk down the street. Thanks, but no thanks.