By now, you may have seen the street harassment video that Rob Bliss Creative published this week, showing a young white woman walking around New York City for 10 hours, while the filmmaker walks secretly in front of her with a camera shooting the oodles of harassment she receives on the street. It’s important to note that a lot of folks think that the (wonderful) organization, Hollaback!, created the video—to clarify, Hollaback! was approached by Rob, who had full creative control.
A lot of women, myself included, shuddered and felt nauseous watching at least parts of the video, if not the whole thing. There are plenty of others who don’t see what the big deal is with the simple “hello, beautiful” kind of approaches. And then, there are folks—again, myself included— upset with the racial and ethnic under- and overtones that get sort of glossed over in both mainstream discussions, and mainstream feminist discussions, when we talk about street harassment. There’s a lot to unpack, here.
Some more thoughts on my previous post, and a couple of things to clear up. Two misconceptions arose from my post because I chose not to lay out a lot exposition on some of my own beliefs on how the world works. Let me rectify that now. Read more →
UPDATE, 1/19: Follow-up post is here.
A post from Internet analyst/author/smart-person Clay Shirky titled “A Rant About Women” has got quite the discussion going around the Intertubes. Read (or at least skim) it before continuing; let me also take this introductory opportunity to do the obligatory feminist thing and thank the dude for taking time out of his busy schedule to wrestle with the giant questions of why don’t women do as well as men at X. Here it comes… thank you. OK, so I’m being a wee bit sarcastic, but seriously: it really is nice to see these conversations happen outside of the usual suspected fora of listservs, blogs, etc, all for and by the ladies.
Much of the resulting discussion has been a bit heavy-handed on both sides– “OMG, he’s totally right!” “OMG, he’s totally wrong!” Some great points have already been well covered by others, especially Jezebel blogger Anna’s point that women aren’t allowed culturally to be the aggressive jerks that successful men are. This was also the place where I had the most visceral reaction — the conclusion that we need to teach women to be more like men: more assertive and aggressive, demanding of what they want and need. This approach to solving the “where are teh womenz” problem misses the mark in a way that 70s & 80s power feminism also missed the mark for me. The “we’re just as good as men” statements and subsequent actions set the wrong frame. It assumes: Read more →