Thursday, October 30, 2014

If that viral street harassment video shocked you … you're probably a man

Women aren’t surprised by video ‘proof’ that sexism exists. We share it because we’re hoping that all men will finally believe that it does, too.

Shoshanna Roberts walked around Manhattan for 10 hours while a videographer documented her being street harassed.

Jessica Valenti, the Guardian
Thursday 30 October 2014 07.15 EDT

There is by now a familiar pattern to campaigns to bring attention to the problems women face in the world: sexism gets documented in a way that is irrefutable, it goes viral, and then sexism continues on unabated.

The latest example: a viral video put out by the anti-street harassment organisation Hollaback! in which Shoshana Roberts walks down a New York street in a T-shirt and jeans, stone-faced, as men walk alongside her, look her up and down and comment on her body, her lack of a smile and generally demand that she pay attention to them. It’s awful, uncomfortable, and entirely unsurprising – at least to 50% of the population.

The purpose of a video like this one isn’t to remind women how awful it can be – believe me, we know – but to create something to show to and share with men to be able to say See, this happens!

But how many secretly taped encounters, screenshots of rape threats or elevator videos is it going to take before men just take our word for it? I’m sick of women constantly having to “prove” that discrimination and harassment exist – and I know I’m not the only one.

(Video here.)

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