Home Featured Seven (or Eight) Things We Need To Understand about Street Harassment

Seven (or Eight) Things We Need To Understand about Street Harassment

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I didn’t want to respond or blog about that video until I came to the realization that I’ve actually experienced it. You know that video, the one with the woman who walked through NYC for ten hours and endured cat-calling or street harassment. I didn’t want to respond because like most times when things like this come up I think that the affected should be the ones to speak and the unaffected should show support and be silent. Then I remembered how many times I have been walking down the street with my homegirls and heard the cat calling. I’ve chuckled at some (telling a girl she looks like bacon is flat out disrespectful and funny at the same time, who doesn’t love bacon?), I’ve barked back at some (women are people not headless creatures at least have the decency to look her in the eye) and at times I knew that I had to be the stronger one to say, “We need to just ignore that asshole.” However, I wanted to touch on this for a quick second just because it was important to me.

I saw a lot of comments that came about from the posts of the video in various places. Guys – you let me down. Not all of you, not most of you, but some of you decided to be the Tea Party of the Male Gender and you let us down. And as they say, not only do you embarrass yourself but you embarrass us all. Let’s clear this up why don’t we…

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Seven (or eight) things we need to understand…

1)      As men, there is a way to be cordial without harassing someone. It’s important to understand that even if you are being 100% cordial and nothing more; a response is not required.

2)      As women, it’s important to know that the choice not to response needs to also with the understanding that you may very well ignore someone who had no intentions of harassing you. And that in almost every form of communication when you ignore someone their feelings may get hurt. It doesn’t mean that women need to answer every “hello” or “good morning” it just means that they must be aware of the downstream effects on others not just themselves.

3)      #1 always supersedes #2.

4)      There is a spectrum of street harassment and it’s all up to the person being harassed to determine what is serious and what is not. That means, not some man who is observing.

5)      Here’s the thing, men should just not talk to women they don’t know.

6)      The way our world is set up is that men are presumed owners and have eminent domain over everything in it. Men don’t own that shit enough in our world even when they don’t subscribe to the notion.

7)      The feat in women that ALL men think that they have this omnipresent privilege contributes to their stance on street harassment.

8)      On a lighter but serious note: you can’t be telling women to smile guys…

With all that said, I plan to go enjoy my Friday. I hope you all can do the same. The thing I want you all to know that man or woman, if you walk around New York City for ten hours in a day… you’ll get harassed by someone. Drink responsibly.

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Cheers.

Dr. J

Comment(51)

    1. I disagree. It is pointless to have a street harassment, domestic violence, rape, etc. conversation with the men that DON’T do these
      things. Women need to have these conversations with the men that commit them.
      We (men that don’t commit these acts) need to stay completely out of the convo and take NO responsibility for something that we don’t do.

      1. Women need to have conversations with men who commit violence against, harass and abuse us? Is this a serious comment??

        1. My comment assumes that women want clarity, understanding and the prevention of such acts, rather than to just complain on social media with super smart comments.

          If the aforementioned results are the point then I find it pointless to engage with men who don’t do these things. You’ve seen this play out. Women comment on an issue and because regular dudes don’t do these things, they minimize and then get defensive on the issue at hand. Pointless.

          So, yes, the convo belongs with the offenders. That’s where the solutions/ preventions are. (that is of course, unless the point is to just “…” about it. Sorry, I’m a results man.

          Amir wants men to take responsibility as a whole for what dumba$$es do. That’s no different than white guilt placed on good (non- racist) people just because their white. I’d rather engage one racist person than 100 good non-racist people in a forum on the issue.

          But, again, I’m a results man.

      2. How is it pointless when most of them (the douche bags who do all the savagry) usually are just seen as “one of the boys.”

        I find most men always have at least that one knuckledhead sidekick friend so, yeah the sensible one’s should ALSO be aware of the issues. Just an excuse for men to not have to ruminate on Women’s life struggles. REAL TALK.

        1. Ok. I heard you, …so now what. There is a word for ruminating on something without trying to solve it. Take a guess…Oh, wait, you want the decent men to solve it for you.

          No, no, no……no

          It’s your problem. Decent men have their own problems and you don’t see us asking decent women to solve the issues of the ratchet…at least not I.

          It is flawed logic to think that just because I’m not outraged that I’m somehow deaf/ numb to your issues. Again, I heard you. Street harassment is just not high on my battle list. #justbeinghonest

          Again, the results you seek are with the “d bags” that you speak of. Or, just keep ruminating/ “…..ing” to (non d-bags) and we’ll check the results in a year.

        2. Not gonna go into a battle here. Done entertaining the lost ones….You sound young minded… Because your “reasonings” are not logically supported and a bit unfounded. Also a bit cowardly…

          You sound like an uppity trying to disconnect with issues that pertain to your (black) existence (assuming that you are a black male). Surprise me with some originality please.

          If you ever get racially profiled or attacked by “the man.” Don’t balk when your “sisters” are chuckling in your face and turning a blind eye.

  1. what I find hilarious about he video AND this post, is the amount of NON-street harassment I get. Now before you ride up against me hear me out!
    I was and sill is over weight. No man ever talks to me like the woman in the video. And somehow I personally feel cheated. I don’t get looked at in a “desirable” manner, I get OVERLOOKED at all times.

    Some people (women) are spoiled in the sense that they are USED TO the attention. The attention I was always deprived from, I always looked at this kind of attention as pleasurable. Maybe because I don’t get any…?

    I don’t think it was harassment, I think it was a group of men that just don’t know how to communicate what they really want. However they damn sure know how to let a woman know what they don’t want.

    My point is this, some people are fed up with what they see all the time. Women who get this attention found a defense mechanism i.e. pepper spray, gun and police (or ignoring). Me? The fat girl…I’m currently on a weight loss plan. Once I have gotten down to size, then the pepper spray, knife and police will intervene.

    1. Very interesting opinion. Just wondering, when you achieve your goal and get down to the weight you want will you welcome male attention in the streets always or will you welcome it at first then get fed up and get the pepper spray, knife or police to ward off the attention after you’ve gotten tired of it?

      1. I answered that in the last paragraph. I will never just ignore anyone like most of my ‘sistas’. I think its rude, to just make someone feel less than a person just because you have had your ego boosted for the last five minutes.

        1. Actually you stated once you’re down to size the pepper spray…..would intervene, but somehow I didn’t think you meant that. You are entitled to your opinion as much as the women who are able to recognize harassment for what it is are entitled to theirs.

          Being harassed is not an “ego boost” displayed by “spoiled” women. Hearing cat calls and being told how big your butt/breasts are, or how sexy you are to them does absolutely nothing for an ego, but it spikes up contempt. Rude is certainly the action of the harasser… I am a friendly person but I don’t owe anyone anything.

          Your weight is not the reason you don’t get attention. My heavy friends always have men. They have high self esteems and totally love and feel secure with themselves. They are beautiful in and out. If you see this type of behavior as a promising act…..peace be with you. Regardless of the cat calls I am not in the least bit vain. I am humble yet self assured, but never attention seeking from random men.

        2. i meant every part of my opinion. I do believe a lot of women enjoy the attention men give them, and i have seen these same women get annoyed when men DONT give that same attention. Cat calls or not.

          My resposne was to ensure that not every woman gets this treatment and not every women HATES IT. some women love the ‘cat calls’ and its funny when those who DONT like it, Do the cat calling themselves. hmmm?

        3. Why do think its an ego boost? It sounds like u think this is acceptable male attention and you long for it. That’s another issue.

    2. I think you’re terribly misguided about the “attention” men show women when walking on the street. The men doing the catcalling don’t want you. They really don’t want your number. They just want something to do. They’re bored. You walk by and get a catcall and 30 seconds later another woman will get the same thing from the same dude. Dont feel special because of a half-assed attempt to get at you… you deserve better than that I’m sure.

      1. a lot of you all are missing my point SERIOUSLY. My point is, being overweight NO ONE even says hello to me, I would have to do it. some women are not aware of being constantly ignored. And if you have ever ignored a woman before, you will see the reaction like that of a child who never gotten a Christmas present.
        most women my age get cat called OR male attention even with looking like shit. just because my body is bigger, do that mean Im NOT suppose to get a hello, hi beautiful?! If that is negative, male attention, then I’d HATE to see what is positive male attention! please…

        1. When did hello and hi beautiful become negative attention? I understand the desire for attention and admiration. But we’re talking about intrusion here. A means to make women uncomfortable… or at least I am. It’s a cruel game, attempting to spark a conversation out of thin air. And I’m sure it’s even harder if you don’t FEEL that you’re worthy or good looking enough to grab someone’s attention. But the topic of discussion is what happens when that goes TOO FAR. Do you continue to follow men after the first rejection? Or call them Ain’t Ish Nigras after they ignore you? That’s when it becomes negative. That’s when it becomes harassment.

        2. Wow, Kyandi!
          I used to be overweight and I would get catcalls from men who desperately wanted ‘you know what’ as well as men who seriously wanted a relationship (but I thought that I was too young at the time). After I lost weight and am now in pretty good shape, I get catcalls everyday and the men are more aggressive about it. Some even pretty much implied that I owed them s-x simply because they had a college degree and didn’t have children out of wedlock. The thing about it is, if I were to entertain any of these men (usually Black men), they would just use me for s-x and move on to the next lady. Yet, when I ignore them, I get cussed out and everything else. Some even develop an obsession with me just because I ignored them and see it as a challenge to stalk me and try to force me into submission. Being stalked and treated like a s-x object where they cared nothing about the fact that I have several degrees and am more well-rounded (educationally) than they care to be actually hurt my self-esteem rather than raised it. What hurts even more is my Black male friends tend to make light of the situation (“you didn’t get any attention when you were fat and you are just not used to it now”) – which is not true or “you just think you’re all that and every man wants you” which is not true either. My self-esteem is lower now than ever because most Black men think of s-x as soon as they see me and can’t focus on anything else. It’s also embarrassing to go to the store with family members because some guy starts catcalling in front of them and they are extremely religious so they do not understand and they usually think it’s a guy that I know or I’m trying to hide a boyfriend from them.

          Believe me, you will quickly grow tired of this and will find yourself in a room in tears.

      2. In a sense, I agree with you and the others who have let their disagreement be known, but I, unfortunately unable to resist my call to Devil’s Advocacy, believe that Kyandi’s opinion, while unpopular and surely in the minority, is no less correct. There is surely a paradoxical aspect to this argument in that we can say that women do not benefit in any way from unwanted and unprovoked attention, but they sure as hell wouldn’t want no attention at all. I know for a fact that some women thrive off of the attention they get for their bodies. They are proud of it. That group may not be in the majority, but for the sake of fair argument, we can’t exclude that subsect of women just to prove a point, or worse, condemn them self-righteously because their desires don’t fall in line with what the majority of women would deem to be proper. Kyandi, your opinion is not inadmissible and you, as a woman also, have the right to feel however you want to feel about this topic. I actually appreciate your security in voicing your opinion.

        1. I have heard about women that like the attention as well, and I have to admit, a smile from a man is nice from time to time.
          However, most of the women that are upset are actually getting requests for s-x or a relationship from these men that they don’t even know and getting cussed out or stalked when they don’t comply. I have constantly had to hide from men and I personally do not even consider myself attractive enough for the attention that I receive.
          It’s getting to the point where, if I’m dressed for a special event and I see a Black man my age approaching, I automatically get scared because I know that he is likely going to try to get my number or ask something inappropriate and then cuss me out or stalk me when it doesn’t work.

    3. I really hope you losing weight for yourself and not attention for men cause of what other women are getting that you arent. If you clearly saying you losing weight just to say its harrassment, pepperspray and call the police on men is a big waste of your time. An there are plenty of men that love big women love im not one of them but theres someone for everyone.

  2. “5) Here’s the thing, men should just not talk to women they don’t know”

    Is this a sarcastic statement or is the author really trying to suggest this? That’s ridiculous if so. People can talk to who ever they want to. Some will respond well, some won’t. That’s life.

    1. Joe, I too disagree with this. There are a lot of interesting men that I have yet to meet. In addition there is a respectful way for us (men and women) to approach one another. Everyone is not meant to be together. Some relationships should work and others shouldn’t.

      1. I agree with you on that. But not everyone who is just generally speaking saying hello or good morning doesnt mean that the man wants the woman. Maybe its just me and my manners I speak to women with hello or good morning if im walking pass her after I speak I keep it moving doesnt mean I want her or trying to harrass her its just my respectful manners. If she chose not to speak back oh well life goes on im not butt hurt over but if I ever saw that particular woman again I would not speak to her again.

        1. Exactly! I too would keep it moving. I speak to strangers daily. I don’t want them in my life just because I spoke.

    2. It’s sarcastic and it’s not. To some extent, it’s truly the only way to fix the problem. To another extent, depending on someone’s ability to communicate appropriately, they should just keep their mouth shut altogether.

      1. Exactly! Sadly, in the Black community, some men use greeting women as a way to get something instead of just a pure altruistic greeting. Almost every time that a Black man near my age speaks to me and I smile and speak back, they ALWAYS wanted something else… they might walk past and turn around “but can I get the digits” or “hey, you married”… there’s always something. So I agree, if they have a communication problem and they cannot simply just speak, then they should keep their mouths shut.

    3. Real talk! That number 5 is nonsense how the hell men and women suppose to get to know one another if men aint talking to them. Its like we got to wait for a woman to make the first move an talk to us. Lol damn thats like a woman wearing the pants an she dont even know the man. Not saying anything wrong with a woman talking to a man she interested in but goodness thats to much not talking to a woman you dont know. I speak to everyone if im walking pass them or whatever some speak back men and women and some dont I dont care personally I know next time I see them I wont say shit to them simple as that.

  3. As a somewhat attractive woman :), I definitely understand the frustration women feel when simply walking down the street. On the other hand, I’ve noticed women wanting to vilify men who simply say “hello” while passing. Being from the Midwest, I don’t find that to be harassment, just polite behavior. If he is attracted and says a pick-up line, so be it. Ignore and keep walking, ladies. Men, if you say something and don’t get a response, let it go and keep it moving. Anything beyond that IS harassment.

  4. 3 Things.

    A) I’m a guy. And if that video is an example of street harassment, then I’ve gotten street harassed as well.

    2) Its only annoying when unattractive women do it.

    and
    D) I’m just gonna leave this right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75aX9mlipiY&t=28s

    Lastly, fellas, the bar is set really low when it comes to approaching women during the day. Most dudes who catcall are scrubs with terrible game.

    Wear nice clothes, workout, look good, and be confident. Stop her with purpose; get in front of her and get her attention. In her face. Eye contact. Like you’re a police officer. Or like she dropped something and you have to get her attention to return it. Once she sees that you arent a scrub and that you’re a boss azz ninja, her demeanor will change and she’ll soften up. Then it’s not harassment. It’s “I met a hot guy today.”

    How many dudes show full intent when stopping girls on the street? Not many. One of my personal heroes, Powerline, once told me that you have to “Stand out above the crowd, even if you gotta shout out loud.”

    1. I see what you’re saying… However, asking a woman out is not necessarily harassment in itself. It’s the behavior that follows or the manner in which the asking is executed that decides that. Yelling at a woman talking about her behind IS harassment. Getting mad after a woman turns you down is harassment. However, simply asking a woman out and her turning you down or accepting is not harassment, as long as you bow out gracefully.

  5. Fellas…especially if you live in the city…

    Don’t talk to women walking on the street…on public transportation…matter of fact anywhere except a speed dating networking event.

    It will be seen as harrasment and eventually laws will start popping up.

    Think I’m exaggerating? Ok. Its what’s we’re headed to tho. A community that treats each other as strangers as best and threats as worst. Prepare accordingly.

    1. My buddy was telling me about the law in NYC they’re working on to replace stop and frisk that incorporates street harassment. Very scary stuff. I’m tryin to cuff a young lady soon so I won’t have to deal with it

      1. Harassment is already part of the nys penal code (1st and 2nd degree harassment, 1st and 2nd degree aggravated harassment)

  6. SOME men can’t understand street harassment or any other form of the objectification of women simply because we over generalize society (that’s an over generalization too, huh? lol)

    SOME men cannot look past their own viewpoints because of simple deductive reasoning. Man approaches woman. Woman smiles, likes convo and attention. All women like attention. The problem with that is it creates the notion that women are objects with no variation.

    Now do I believe there are women who love that attention. The reasoning is not totally wrong. Had to be some form of evidence to show otherwise. But to take that logic and apply it to EVERY situation when dealing with women is the reason we’re even having this debate. It’s irresponsible and it’s making the topic too simplistic.

  7. Yesssss to all 8, I’ve truly been harassed and followed by both black and white men. My butt has been grabbed, someone tried to kiss me, I’ve been followed. I stop responding to compliments because men think that’s an okay to move in with a more sexual or aggressive gesture. I don’t dress hoochified, and most of the time I look like I don’t want to be bothered. Men need to realize that they do not have rights or a dominance over women.

    1. It must have something to do with the neighborhood. I’ve been harassed and groped by Black men and even threatened with rape. However, most White men flirt politely but they know when to stop and they quickly respond to even the slightest indication that you’re not interested. For the most part, I’ve never had to tell a White man that I was not interested; they could see it in my face and would politely tell me to have a nice day and that’s it… no stalking or groping.

      Where I grew up, the Black men were telling the Black boys that their manhood was judged by the amount of women that they slept with while the White men were not telling their sons that. I think that’s where the divide is in my living area. Thus, I am never afraid when a White man approaches me but I am usually scared to death when a Black man approaches me because I don’t know if I’m about to get raped.

  8. “5) Here’s the thing, men should just not talk to women they don’t know.”

    I need to start here only because between This, what’s been written and said on SBM, and the Entirety of Gender Roles and Interactions Contradicts this Completely

    Men Can’t Approach Women OR Speak, which then means All the “Where Are the Good Men At” should Stop, Right Now. The many SBM and other events and Speed Dating spots are majority filled with Women, who Cherry Pick Guys that DON’T meet Their Standards b/c the Men they DO WANT Don’t Show to these things;

    Online Dating is damn near Worse, especially when folks Catfish Constantly and even more Bias and Subjective. There are Plenty of Podcasters who have documented their Failures and Nonsense from Hello Cupid too.

    Real Talk, there are Women who Don’t Want to Be Approached at the Club, at the Bar, Church, School, Grocery Store, etc. A Smile is not 100% a Green Light to Speak, and Ppl Aren’t Mind Readers when folks Stare.

    Unless Ladies are Willing or Going to Approach Themselves, NOBODY is Looking for Anyone. The FEW Women who Don’t Agree with #5 have already been Shamed I t Silence, when it Is about THEM, and the Guys that Don’t Catcall have Their Experiences Dismissed as Lies. Political Correctness NEVER covers All Angles, and when Taken Literally or Questioned by the Letters of the Words and Sentences, the Sarcasm and Slander comes out. It’s Disingenuous, Ridiculous and Overblown.

    Rudeness and Condemnation of All People for the sake of Safety, and Manhood Still gets Questioned or Clowned of the Guys that have Little to No Confidence in Dealing with Women. And, Women are Lumped as All the Same when there are Plenty that DO Like the Attention, DO like the “swag” or “game” of the Catcallers. Folks Listen and Read and Remember what’s been written here and everywhere else, so as much as this will be misconstrued or seen as a “rant”, ppl are Stereotyped and Generalized though we are supposed to be Not Monolithic…..

      1. I really don’t think making a new acquaintance is as complicated as many are making it. I know guys who feel strong persistence is key. They feel this way because it has worked for them before, and I understand that. It doesn’t change or sway me to like it or accept it. My point is one approach does not and will not work for everyone. If you push me I may push back or ignore you, it depends on level of annoyance. There are times that I engage men and ask, “where has that approach ever gotten them?” Most look at me like I’m crazy and rarely answer, but they tend to leave me alone.

        I have big butt and hip area and I get so tired of the comments from both men and women, but I am used to it. However, touching me takes me to a-whole-nother level…. I rarely get angered but you won’t like me if I’m angry.

  9. I can ignore comments…and when I hear it every day from typically the same men who think I should be flattered, it becomes annoying. Most of these men never approach from a seriously interested perspective. However, they want me to hear it from them directly how attractive they find me. I don’t attack, smile, nor acknowledge these men; I just keep it moving.

    The comment that women need to be aware of anger backlash for ignoring men is ridiculous. If my ignoring these men hurts their feelings, that’s not my problem. He wants me to be mindful of his feelings while he ignores mine….yeah goodluck with that.

    In this country everyone always touts freedom of speech. So these jerks that do this have the right, yet they have no tact and borderline respect, in my opinion. Only the desperate would be flattered by this behavior.

    We are all individuals: men and women. Every man who speaks is not harassing. Every harrasor does not have ill intent. Every woman does not enjoy the added attention. I would say in each of these descriptions a small percentage of the population inherit these qualities, nonetheless it doesn’t make the point any less important. People are so quick to refute or object to situations because they’ve never been personally involved… HUMANITY is just so selfish and close minded.

  10. “On a lighter but serious note: you can’t be telling women to smile guys”
    Question- does this apply to Older Folks, including Old Ladies telling Women to “smile”??? Does this apply to Men being told to Smile as well???

    I ask write this because This Too does Happen. “It Takes More Muscles to Frown than to Smile” is what I hear All the Time, but for whatever THIS has become Street Harassment Material………..

  11. I’m starting to see a lot of disregard for feelings across the board. Harassment is wrong, and not all guys attempting to spark convo are harassing. Yes there are some females who get off on the attention, even if you claim not to that doesn’t refute the fact that some do. If I get wrong, check me and I will gracefully bow out. Those guys who wont represent the same minority as those females who actually like the attention.

  12. Number 5 men should not talk to women they dont know? Really? How is men and women suppose to meet each other if they not suppose to talk to each other.

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