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Where Is The Line Between Street Harassment & Being Nice To A Woman?

Submitted by on November 4, 2014 – 9:18 amNo Comment

A few days ago, a video was released of a woman walking through NYC for 10 hours and was subjected to what is being called “street harassment.” In the video, men showered her with “catcalls” throughout the day. Some commented on her beauty while others simply said “hello.” Actress Shoshana B. Roberts and Hollaback, a nonprofit movement launched by activists to end street harassment, worked together with Rob Bliss of Rob Bliss Creative to packaged this viral video as a PSA and offers viewers a different perspective on the problem.

Social media exploded with debate on the subject and questioned whether every man in the video was “harassing” Roberts. Even SNL’s Michael Che jumped in on the discussion, only to receive some heated backlash for his comments.

i wanna apologize to all the women that ive harrassed with statements like “hi” or “have a nice day” or “youre beautiful”. i cant imagine what that must feel like. the closest thing I’ve experienced is maybe when a girl recognizes me from tv and they say things like “AHHHH!! OH MY GOD!! SNL SNL SNL!! TAKE A PICTURE!! TAKE A PICTURE!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! WHATS YOUR NAME AGAIN?! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! WAIT SAY SOMETHING FUNNY!!” but even that is nothing like the harrassment of having a complete stranger tell me to “smile.”

His words were met with those on the contrary suggesting that he was being insensitive to the subject at hand.

What is the real problem here?

Do men need a new definition of how and when to speak to a woman? Are women correct in presuming that all interactions on the street are harassment? As a male, the trouble I have with this is how do we know when to speak to a woman without it being considered harassment. Of course, there are instances where I can see exactly where the problem lies. One man walks beside her for five minutes and another hits her with a barrage of inquiries as to why she is not responding. That, my friends, certainly constitutes street harassment. However, what about the other men that simply said “hello?” Have we lost our ability to have civil interactions with strangers? It’s troubling to think that what I may believe to be a fine line of distinction might offend a woman’s absolute and bold definition of acceptable behavior.

I’d like to think that a simple hello can be just to be nice. Take a look at the video and then tell me what you think by leaving a comment.


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