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Street Harassment, or the Idiot's Guide to Not Being an A**hole

Street Harassment, or the Idiot's Guide to Not Being an A**hole

How about No

Watch this.

OK, now do you understand that this is what women are subjected to every day of their lives for having the nerve to walk down the street in the cities where they live and, you know, go about their business? They might be walking to work or school or the grocery store. In other words, living their lives.

Now I need anyone who is reading this, man or woman, who might be thinking something along the lines of “It’s not that bad” or “It’s a compliment! What’s her problem?” or anything else like that to listen very carefully:

I am not telling you that you aren’t allowed to interact with a person that you find attractive. I AM telling you that it is absolutely unacceptable to call out to women as they are walking down the street having absolutely nothing to do with you; it is unacceptable to make them feel unsafe, to shout out orders like, “Smile!”, or to comment on their bodies or looks.

And before someone tries to tell me the men in this video (or maybe they themselves) weren’t “being” threatening let me tell you, as a woman who walks all over my city by myself, I would have felt threatened by every single man in this video. I am not a shrinking violet. I am independent, I do things for myself, I do not need to be taken care of. But with every single one of those comments I would have felt like I might be grabbed or assaulted in some way, and have no way of stopping it. Oh, men don’t feel that way walking down the street in the city? That must be completely amazing. Good for you guys. Tra-la-la.

Here is a good guideline for you – if you wouldn’t say it to your mom or sister, don’t say it to a woman you don’t know. Let me help you to see if you can follow the logic here and if it’s easy to understand. Maybe it will clear things up for people who are still having a problem.

Example 1: Holding a door for a woman as you leave a building. Would you do it for your mom or sister? Sure. You’re good. You can even smile politely.

Example 2: As you are holding the door, looking the woman up and down and saying, “Damn!” Would you do this to your mom or sister? No? OK, then not acceptable.

See how easy that is?

You’re welcome. Now share this with everyone you know because people need to get it through their thick skulls.

About The Author

Jenn Martinelli

Don't let Acadia tell you he's the boss. I'm the real boss.

26 Comments

  1. Acadia Einstein

    What about the guy who said “have a nice evening”? I would say that to my mother. I say it to all of your mothers after I take the money off the dresser! ZING!

    Reply
  2. Augusto

    This is complete bullshit, some of the guys tried to have small talk to the girl. Is that unnaceptable? I have small talks with my friends, why not with a girl that I find attractive?

    Okay, now please tell me what to do if I am walking down the street and on the other side I see the woman of my dreams? Can I go over and tell her “hello, have a nice day” or am I a pig for just thinking about it?

    Reply
    • Augusto

      I really liked the default avatar, am I a pig for liking the avatar just because of the looks?

      Reply
  3. Cider

    Oh boy I can’t wait to explain things to you, Augusto, when I have something other than a phone to use (thanks, work). Please hold more more info this evening.

    Reply
    • Augusto

      Re-reading my comment, it may looks like I am being agressive, but I am not. A friend of mine has shown this video on our whatsapp chat group and we debated about it a lot. I was not being aggressive at all, just tired of it. But please do tell me more about how to “nicely” approach girls I am interested to without offending them, because that was the part where no one had a plausible answer.

      Reply
  4. Johnny Rocket

    Yo, Augusto, what gives you the right to approach strangers on the street? There’s the “plausible answer” you seek.

    Reply
  5. Scott Moore

    Is it okay to offer her a ride in my Bugatti Sextarossa?
    Probably not 🙁

    (seriously though, well stated article)

    Reply
  6. Amander

    Cider RULES!
    Best explanation of the distinction EVER!

    Reply
  7. Cider

    OK Augusto here is your answer, although I really can’t believe you don’t get it from the article:

    There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with politely introducing yourself to a woman you actually encounter in, for example, the following ways: you are standing in line at the same coffee shop; you are shopping at the same grocery store; you are at a bar where perhaps you both went to mingle and meet people; you are at a party or social gathering. You should try things like introducing yourself, asking her name, and then asking questions that show you are interested in her as a person. Maybe you can then, I don’t know, have a conversation where you can both learn more about each other. I’m not sure why this is so difficult to understand, honestly most of society has pretty much figured it out. What you should not do, at all, ever, is yell things at women who walk by you on the street, even if they are “nice” things such as “Hey good morning!” Do not be so dense as to actually pretend you do not understand the difference intonation and intent can mean. There is a big difference between “Hi, how are you?” said politely while making eye contact in an appropriate social gathering and yelling out “Hey baby how you doin’?” to a stranger on the street who has already walked past you.

    Reply
    • Augusto

      Some people on the video just said “hello” and, since it is on the video, their action were taxed as haeassment, I presume. My view on the subject is: as long as there is no touchingm words should not ofend you. Even if the guy says bad words or just a “wow, nice butt”, they are idiots, but you should not feel bad about yourself or be annoyed by that.

      A friend of mine passes near a building under construction t go from her house to the gym everyday. The workers there always says things like “niiiiiiice” or “hey, kitten” or things like that. She never talked back to them. One day she was going back home and noticed a strange guy following her, when she passed on the construction site, some workers noticed the guy and promptly said to the guy to get lost to not get near her. The same idiots who were catcalling her, helped her.

      Our society is in a such deep “don’t touch me” movement that we are getting to a point where a compliment is offensive.

      Reply
    • Augusto

      Yes, I am straight and I would like to get a compliment from gays or women, no problem with that. As long as there is NO TOUCHING or NO WAY BLOCKING. In the video, I saw no one touching the girl or blocking her path. There were one following her for 5min. Creepy? Yes. Offensive? No. She did not say a word to him, so he assumed she was playing the hard game and tried a little bit more than the others, since there were no robbery or rape, that could be love, couldn’t it?

      Reply
  8. Joey C

    If you’re a hereto dude, would you want a gay Muscle-bound Biker telling you that you look good in your pants?

    Reply
    • Augusto

      Sorry, Joey, your answer appeared as another answer to Cider.

      Reply
  9. Cramsey

    “Niiiiiice” or “Hey kitten” means whoever said that to me is addressing me sexually, which makes me uncomfortable. They didn’t say “I like your shirt” or “Hello” or anything that could possibly make me feel like a person. That comment makes me feel like they view me as someone they want to have sex with. Why would I want anything to do with a stranger on the street who views me as a potential lay above anything else?

    Reply
    • Augusto

      Cramsey, I see your point in disliking the approach, but there is no point being offended by that. You do not know the guy and the guy has proven to you that he is lower than a rat, then why are you offended so easily by an idiot? If you have no respect at all to someone, how can their words be relevant enough to you? As I said before, as long as there is no touching or path blocking, you do not need to get offended, it is your option to care. Is it annoyting? Probably. Offensive? It is up to you to decide if you care enough about the words of people you do not regard as human being.

      I have been bullied my entire high school, until I realised that it was MY CHOICE to get offend by people who I never acknowledge as human being.

      Reply
      • Christy

        Yeah, but in that moment, when they throw out a comment, I don’t know if they’re just going to be mouthy or if they’re going to decide to take some sort of action. There have been times that I’ve ignored a catcall and that has prompted the guy to work harder to get my attention. I’ve honestly developed a knee-jerk reaction to be gracious even when my stomach is flip-flopping from unwanted attention just to prevent a guy from “pursuing” contact with me, because it’s happened multiple times. So I can’t always just ignore and move on. It’s unnecessarily stressful for me just so they can publicly “show appreciation” of some part of my anatomy. It almost always feels awful and sometimes it’s difficult to not be bothered by it.

        Reply
        • Augusto

          Okay, then I guess I am just too old or too happy to understand why this is such a big deal, I don’t get this world anymore.

          Reply
  10. Acadia Einstein

    Augusto – the world is the same. The difference is that women feel more comfortable speaking up about what makes them skeezed out whereas previously most didn’t. Trying to badger the women in the thread to justify why they are skeezed out and how they can show you how to make you better at hitting on them is not really helping.

    Look at it this way: if someone tells you they are allergic to fish, don’t feed them any. Don’t try to explain the nuances of fish and ask if they are allergic to certain KINDS of fish. Just keep the frigging fish away from them.

    Reply
    • Augusto

      Sorry, if it seems like I am being aggressive, I assure you that what I am being is confused. I really do not understand how someone can be offend by words of people who they do not even know! If someone I don’t know talks shit to me, why would I care?

      Being allergic to fish is not your choice. Being offended by some random words is your choice. This matter is more like to being a vegan, and we all ask vegans why they are vegans.

      If a random person catcalled you, just go on with your life, no need to burn bras or try to make that a criminal offense.

      Reply
  11. stacyfrazer

    MFW someone demonstrates the point of the article in attempting to argue against it………. Not sure if troll or….

    Reply
      • Augusto

        Believe it or not, I am not trolling.

        Reply
        • Acadia Einstein

          I will believe you if you comment on other posts.

          Reply
  12. Cornmeal

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Reply
  13. Cornmeal

    Also, this:

    Reply
  14. Cider

    Ah, Cornmeal. Thank you for that.

    Reply

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