Street harassment is a serious matter. Unfortunately it’s something that girls and women have had to endure for generations. In past years it has been shrugged off as if it’s just ‘some ‘boys will be boys’ stuff, but recently women and various organizations have been stepping up and calling out men to stop harassing men on the street. Because you know it’s creepy, uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous to women’s safety.
Men (and some women) continue to disbelieve that it’s a problem. So, one woman is showing people what it’s like to endure street harassment in a single day. A young woman walked the streets of New York City for 10 hours and was hit on/harassed by 100 men. Yes, you read that correctly. 100.
Hollaback is an initiative to raise awareness about and combat street harassment. They filmed a young woman clad in a simple black t-shirt and jeans—not that it really matters what she was wearing, but the idiots among us love using that to justify verbally and physically abusing women—walking through the streets of New York and captured the staggering amount of street harassment she was subjected to. Over the course of ten hours, Hollaback recorded over one hundred instances of verbal street harassment. They note that the harassment spanned a number of neighborhoods and people of all backgrounds.
And to be clear, all of it sucks, which we see in this video—from the seemingly innocuous, “Hey what’s up girl,” to the man who, after she ignored a “compliment” yelled: “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say thank you more.” Sir, fuck your compliment and fuck your entire existence on this planet.
It’s a shame that these kind of videos have to be made and publicized in order to get the point across. It’s a shame that men don’t realize that even when they say, “hey girl, smile” or “hey, beautiful” that first the woman might not want that kind of attention (even if you view it as a compliment) and second the woman is not obligated to respond to you in a favorable manner or any manner at all. It’s a shame this has to keep being stated and reiterated and drilled into folks’ heads. No, it’s not ok to yell at women on the street.
However, kudos to the women and organizations who continue to shine a light on this very important and disturbing issue. Maybe some day men will understand and will cease with the street harassment. And then they will teach their sons not to harass so that a new generation will of boys and men will treat women with respect as they walk down the street.
We can only hope.
Watch the video below.
Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.