Thursday, May 15, 2008

Liking Harassment?

Via Broadsheet, CNN reports that some women like street harassment. Or rather one "researcher used an anonymous email survey of 225 women to draw conclusions. One woman said, "Yeah, it's objectifying and all, but you know, if I walked down the street and didn't have men looking me up and down and catcalling, I'd think, 'Boy, I must really be getting old and dumpy.' " The point this woman missed, though, is that street harassment has nothing to do with how attractive you are. It's objectification, pure and simple and has little bearing on looks.

About 30 percent of the respondents reported getting harassed on a regular basis. Maybe some people like it, but I'd like to see the responses of men who aren't just catcalled but harassed on a daily basis. It's not flattering when the "compliments" on hair, lips, breasts, ass, or eyes come at a high volume on a daily basis. I've received, heard about, and witnessed some pretty disgusting levels of street harassment. There are a couple of ways to deal with it, but there's no solution. One is that you can, as I do, plug your earbuds in and ignore them, the other part is that you can try to receive it well. Most women fear responding in a negative way to antagonize the harasser. Furthermore, telling a street harasser to stop it doesn't really help with a solution. That person still feels entitled to comment publicly on the way any woman he encounters on the street.

I'd really like to see a study where men are repeatedly subjected to street harassment and see how that changes their behavior or perspective.

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