“I’m surprised that you’re offended.”
July 20, 2014 9:17 AM   Subscribe

This Woman Has Been Confronting Her Catcallers — And Secretly Filming Their Reactions The videos aren’t meant to highlight specific dramatic confrontations, but the “cumulative daily impact” of street harassment, Lindsey said. Since she began filming, the “only interactions I haven’t been able to capture are car honks.” Earlier this summer, Lindsey began handing out cards to Minneapolis men, explaining what’s wrong with street harassment. (via Buzzfeed).

Read her FAQs about the project, which address common responses to speaking out about harassment, including:

Q: So, what, I'm just not allowed to talk to women I find attractive, or tell someone I think they're pretty ever again??

Oh you poor dears. This question comes up all the time, as if by my saying people generally don't appreciate being commented on by strangers on the street, all courtship practices have gone out the window and you are never allowed to hit on someone ever again.

Of course there are ways to approach women you're attracted to that aren't harassment, and ways to tell a woman you know that you think she's gorgeous. Initiating a conversation with someone you don't know and blurting out comments about their face or body isn't one of them. As one of my friends recently put it, when a conversation with an unknown guy centers on a woman's appearance, the conversation has become one that is "about my body parts and that is such a minuscule part of the whole person that it makes me feel like there is a different intention in this conversation and one that I don't want to be a part of."
posted by sweetkid (256 comments total) 96 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh god this lady is awesome and I want to buy her a cupcake or something to celebrate her awesomeness.
posted by phunniemee at 9:30 AM on July 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


I like this. Maybe at least a few of those guys will get a clue and stop acting like that in the future.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:39 AM on July 20, 2014


"Women are put on this earth to satisfy a man, so if she feels offended, she shouldn't have [ever] been born."

Well, if anything, it's useful to have the fundamental tenets of misogyny laid bare like that.
posted by scody at 9:40 AM on July 20, 2014 [86 favorites]


Good for her! I hope some men are getting educated; at the very least, she's getting it off her chest and providing the curious with examples of what it's like.
posted by languagehat at 9:42 AM on July 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


I like this. Maybe at least a few of those guys will get a clue and stop acting like that in the future.

Ideally, yes. Unfortunately, the "Can we talk about it over dinner?" (from the second video) is what I suspect is probably the more typical reaction.
posted by The Gooch at 9:43 AM on July 20, 2014


This seems so much more efficient (if no less stress inducing) that my usual method of cursing out catcallers or giving them the finger. This is great.
posted by supermassive at 9:47 AM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


It doesn't seem like any of these guys are paying attention. But perhaps some catcaller will watch the video and be dissuaded from also acting like an asshole.
posted by schroedinger at 9:52 AM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I got three videos down and quit watching. Street harassment is a real problem, but there are some troubling aspects to how this person is approaching it.
posted by cribcage at 10:04 AM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Which are what, cribcage? What would you, as a woman who gets catcalled, do differently?
posted by phunniemee at 10:07 AM on July 20, 2014 [47 favorites]


The type of guy who would seriously consider her points and engage respectfully and have his mind changed is not the type of guy who would catcall in the first place, so this seems better suited to embarrassment. The sad thing is these guys don't even seem prone to embarrassment. Changing cultural mores is hard.

Nevertheless, I like her tenacity. It's a little more ruthless than my approach, which is a silent, sustained, withering glance.
posted by aintthattheway at 10:10 AM on July 20, 2014


I really like the way she approaches it. She redirects to the topic of harassment whenever they try to go back to "you're beautiful," she's direct and confrontational without being rude or insulting. It's basically made of win.
posted by sweetkid at 10:11 AM on July 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't think that every dude who catcalls is a lost cause. He might be defensive on the spot but I do have hope that some will continue thinking about the interaction. Change is slow, but she's at least trying to plant seeds.

Also, there is value in how it makes her feel, even if not a single harasser's mind is changed.
posted by misskaz at 10:13 AM on July 20, 2014 [27 favorites]


I thought we'd seen this before, but it was actually another woman, in Philly, who photographed her harassers, that I was remembering: previously. Also a good thread and worth reading.
posted by misha at 10:14 AM on July 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


I wish I could understand anything these guys say. The audio is terrible and YouTube's automatic captioning makes no sense. I gather the gist of their response is "you're overreacting"?
posted by desjardins at 10:15 AM on July 20, 2014


there's a lot of "that's why women are on Earth/what else would they get dressed up and work out for/I'm a man and that's what men do" which IMO is even more depresssing than "you're overreacting."
posted by sweetkid at 10:18 AM on July 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


He might be defensive on the spot but I do have hope that some will continue thinking about the interaction.

On the subject of *change*.

While not the same but sort of related:

I once posted a fairly negative comment about fantasy writer Robert Jordan on a Terry Brooks forum. Little did I know that R.A. Salvatore was a sometimes and occasional reader/member/poster. He called me out on my garbage and while I initially became defensive, I do remember thinking about the incident for days after. I realized what an ass I had been and that my words and commentary have consequences. I apologized. I've never really forgotten that moment.

Change is possible.
posted by Fizz at 10:19 AM on July 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


While this might not do anything to change the mind of these particular men in the short term, public shaming on the internet might be enough to influence behavior in general. Change the cultural norm and individual behavior will change.

The KKK saw membership decline after a plotline on the Superman radio show had the children of members manning fun of them, and how much of smoking's decline is from it not really being an acceptable public activity anymore?

Expose this, make it known that this isn't an acceptable thing to do anymore and it'll decrease. Will these men be convinced by one conversation? Probably not, but in the aggregate it'll help. Men like this will probably have the same thoughts overall, but society looking down on it might just get them to avoid voicing them.
posted by mikesch at 10:24 AM on July 20, 2014 [20 favorites]


Yeah, someone who says "Women are put on this earth to satisfy a man, so if she feels offended, she shouldn’t have [ever] been born" has a hell of a lot of brainwork to do before considering her points, and it starts with basically hearing them. They could either dismiss offhand or feel a twinge of shame that causes them to remember and slowly chew it over again and again, and maybe eventually allow their minds to change a bit.

I like her approach. It's serious, not overly aggressive, and forces the guys to take some responsibility for their behavior, if only by trying to justify it.
posted by aintthattheway at 10:26 AM on July 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


I actually think the only thing that keeps this going is a sense that it can be done with impugnity. If men think there is a real chance of being embarrassed for doing it, a lot fewer will do it, whether they ever get convined it's wrong or not.
posted by maxsparber at 10:29 AM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


cribcage: I got three videos down and quit watching. Street harassment is a real problem, but there are some troubling aspects to how this person is approaching it.

I understand that some responses to harassment can seem like an eye for an eye leaving the world blind if you look at the individual instances, but the ratio of harassment of women vs the responsive harassment of men is waaaaay off from 1:1. As I wrote before:
Regarding the bullying of bullies, I think things have to seriously change in the male:female sexual harassment ratio for me to worry about someone making rude drawings of these guys. Maybe when the ratio is closer to 3:1, I would be inclined to say "hey ladies, don't be so mean, you're closing the gap in rude, offensive and unwanted comments, let's work on getting along." Because now it's closer to 100,000:1, give or take a few zeros, so I don't think the few women who respond to cat-calls and their digital equivalents are really making the world a worse place, or turning otherwise annoying bro-dudes into Super Annoying bro-dudes, or Possibly Dangerous bro-dudes.
More importantly, this is a single instance of a woman responding to harassment, not instigating it, to possibly change some people's minds, and if nothing else, give herself a voice in what was a monologue of debasement.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:34 AM on July 20, 2014 [30 favorites]


I've discussed this with men who aren't committed to catcalling, but are loathe to not participate because they feel intense peer pressure to conform. I believe seeing this woman's work could provide an alternative model to hang on to, hopefully a scaffold for them to build the strength to challenge those deeply-worn norms in themselves and then their colleagues.
posted by Jesse the K at 10:35 AM on July 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Whoa, this comment on that Jezebel link is downright scary creepy:

"Just to play devil's advocate, I can't help but wonder about the black fitted dress she was wearing. We all know someone who dresses like a "ho" and moans about the lack of respect men show her."

Hard to believe anyone thinks like this. For once, I am seriously hoping a commenter is just an outright troll.
posted by misha at 10:37 AM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nah, there's plenty of "I'm not sexist but when you dress in tight-fitting clothes and get drunk around dudes, what do you expect to happen?" just-telling-it-like-it-is-ers.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:38 AM on July 20, 2014 [24 favorites]


The whole point is that it shouldn't be hard to believe that anyone thinks like this, because the guys she's recording are voicing the exact same attitude. If it wasn't a common belief, this wouldn't be a common phenomenon.
posted by scody at 10:42 AM on July 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


I don't think the few women who respond to cat-calls and their digital equivalents are really making the world a worse place, or turning otherwise annoying bro-dudes into Super Annoying bro-dudes, or Possibly Dangerous bro-dudes.

I agree with you. I'm sorry if I was unclear: that wasn't my implication. I didn't want to tailspin the thread—and I still don't, so I encourage anyone to just ignore this comment if you don't feel like it adds to the discussion—but in good faith, I'll clarify what I meant.

The most obvious issue is the safety concern. There was a long-ish AskMe thread about this last week. I think people dealt with that issue well there, so I'll just link.

Second is an issue I suspect most people here won't care about or agree with in this context, but I think it's an important criticism, and that's secretly recording people. Secret recording is bad. Proliferating it will make and is making our world worse and in some cases (some of them ironic, given the topic) more dangerous. If you think this particular secret recording is justified, either by the men instigating or by the importance of Lindsey's message, that's certainly valid, but I don't agree. There's no need to derail this thread into a repetitive Google Glass debate, but it's something I find troublesome.

Third, and most striking to me, was whom she's confronting and how. We might be talking about her vulnerability, but I'm watching those videos and I'm seeing and hearing some other obvious differentials. Someone else inferred my point here and suggested that I watch the fourth video...and no, having watched that one, I'm more convinced. Without #4 you can argue, well, walking around the Harvard campus isn't her experience, this is her experience, and she can't help its makeup. But #4 underlines it for me. She was much more thorough about blurring his face. It's conspicuous.
posted by cribcage at 10:45 AM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


An anecdote that is a "no shit, Sherlock" moment for women but eye-opening for me as a guy: a co-worker of mine came back from walk around the block to stretch her legs, and we were chatting about something, and she mentioned that someone catcalled her on her walk. She noted that she wasn't wearing anything "provocative," and she said she'd just like to walk without being harassed.

I didn't even consider that this would be such a common occurrence. Some guys don't need any dumb excuse about how a lady dressed or acted, it's enough to just see a lady walking down the street to make catcalls.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:47 AM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Third, and most striking to me, was whom she's confronting and how. We might be talking about her vulnerability, but I'm watching those videos and I'm seeing and hearing some other obvious differentials. Someone else inferred my point here and suggested that I watch the fourth video...and no, having watched that one, I'm more convinced. Without #4 you can argue, well, walking around the Harvard campus isn't her experience, this is her experience, and she can't help its makeup. But #4 underlines it for me. She was much more thorough about blurring his face. It's conspicuous.

For whatever it's worth, this issue (which I'll acknowledge having noticed myself in watching the videos) is addressed in the FAQ:
Q: Why are you targetting certain men more than others with your videos?

The short answer is: I'm not targeting anyone. The videos have been filmed in the past weeks on my daily commute: from my home to my bus stop, from my bus stop to my office, and back at the end of the day. I do not go into particular areas of the city on a "sting" operation and I do not selectively film some people more than others. For purposes of my documentation, I have been filming my commutes to and from work, and if street harassment happens it results in a video that gets shared. I have not initiated contact with any of the people in my videos, or sought them out in any way, nor do I let certain people off the hook more than others based on their appearance or race.

That said, I am cognizant that we live in a world that is extremely hostile towards black men and am very troubled that some will watch my videos and draw prejudiced conclusions from them. The continuing vice of racism is that if I had a dozen videos of white men catcalling, it would just be considered a "male" problem, but if people see a dozen videos of black men catcalling, they somehow think it depicts a "black male" problem. It doesn't. Wider data on street harassment shows those kinds of generalizations are baseless. In fact, the data I have seen on street harassment makes clear that there is only ONE appropriate racial generalization that can ever be made, and it's that women of color experience street harassment far more (and more severely) than anyone, from men of all races. I cannot make videos that tell other peoples' stories but I will be looking for ways to share/promote other women's voices to help broaden the pool of experiences shown.
posted by The Gooch at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2014 [61 favorites]


Before reading about it on Metafilter, I'd assumed this was a behavior of a bygone era.
One more thing my male privilege has insulated me from apparently.
I find this so very upsetting..I mean i just ...gahhhh!!!
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I once confronted a catcaller on the street and not only got the "women were put on earth to please men", I got a Scriptural justification for that attitude.

As for whether I was dressed provocatively - there was no way he could have known, because it was during the polar vortex winter and I had on a big puffy coat and a scarf.

Some guys are just shits, and they do this to every woman alive.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:01 AM on July 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


Hard to believe anyone thinks like this.

One of the inspirations behind SlutWalks was that some of the people who were thinking like this were actually responsible for preventing and punishing sexual assaults and harassment (a constable and a judge), and felt the need to expound on it in front of survivors of those acts.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:03 AM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd like to think this could make a difference, but a good share of the people in the videos seem drunk or otherwise drugged out, or perhaps even mentally ill. I'm male and I've had some very similar characters around those same areas of downtown follow me around when walking for money, or if I'm driving have them yell out something about the car or music I'm playing (thankfully positive). One time a guy walked up to me while stopped at a light when I was in a convertible, said nice ride, I warned him storms were coming in, so watch out, and he said thanks, said "you're alright!" and then offered to hook me up with a cocaine dealer.

No particular point I'm making except to say that major downtowns have enough annoying dipshits for everyone. I tend to agree that probably a small share of those taped give a damn, so the videos do more for the cause by being circulated on buzzfeed - although sometimes I think buzzfeed is the internet equivalent of that guy that liked my car and wanted to help sell me drugs.
posted by Muddler at 11:04 AM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I understand that some responses to harassment can seem like an eye for an eye leaving the world blind if you look at the individual instances

I've thought occasionally about why I respond the way I do to catcallers, and the conclusion I've come to is that I don't like the idea that I'm supposed to just stand there and take it while a man makes 'complimentary' comments about my person. One instance that comes to mind:

I was out running errands for work, and as I was walking past a barbershop, a man standing right outside catcalled me. (I don't even remember what he said at this point; I just remember that it was less than complimentary.) So I flip him the bird as I walk by. He responds by calling me a 'nappy-headed bitch' so I tell him to fuck off before returning to my errand.

I dunno. It feels better than doing nothing.
posted by supermassive at 11:07 AM on July 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


cribcage: Second is an issue I suspect most people here won't care about or agree with in this context, but I think it's an important criticism, and that's secretly recording people. Secret recording is bad. Proliferating it will make and is making our world worse and in some cases (some of them ironic, given the topic) more dangerous.

Would you care to explain the cause and effect here? And is the "hidden" aspect important to your point, or are people who openly record their arrests for evidence of police misconduct also contributing to a more dangerous world?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:07 AM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


The last 3 days or so, I've walked outside to and from my car and to and from my mailbox about... 5 times? This leaves me visible to passersby for maybe 10 seconds, tops. Like, for the ENTIRE DAY. Once I was wearing workout leggings and a giant, shapeless tee-shirt.

I've gotten honked at/hollered at/whistled at/"AWOOOOO"ed at 4 out of 5 times.

It doesn't even phase me anymore, but I make sure to look at the mailbox/car/door-hanger and not the source of the sound. I could never do something like this, because there's a bus stop in my yard, or it's my male neighbors, or people walking by. I don't want to endanger my "safe retreat" zone.

And yet, my husband jokingly noted that I managed to fly to another US city recently with no fewer than 3 knives stowed in my purse/carry-on bag/jacket. I take personal safety seriously, and tend to be over-prepared with Krav Maga lessons, handgun shooting practice, carrying tear gas in my computer bag... I don't expect to be attacked, but if it happens, I'm prepared.

I applaud this woman's effort to widen the dialogue on gender and harassment issues, but I'm really scared that her approach is going to hardcore backfire in certain circles (i.e., MRA types). Confronting someone in a somewhat compassionate way who makes you feel dehumanized by asking him to reconsider his behavior seems likely to provoke outright violence, if done incorrectly.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:09 AM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


The second video highlights precisely what catcalls are about -- control. He realizes he's fucked up, and what does he do? Exploits her sincerity by pulling the race card on her. From his point of view, it allows him to assert the upper hand and the moral high ground.
posted by spiderskull at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't think that every dude who catcalls is a lost cause. He might be defensive on the spot but I do have hope that some will continue thinking about the interaction.

I think so too. Chances are that most of these guys haven't thought very much about why they do this, how it makes the woman feel (or why they should care), or how they might handle the situation of "hey I see an attractive woman" differently. And I definitely think there's an element of peer pressure—men behave this way because their friends behave this way; it's largely meant as a performance for other dudes (isn't it commonly understood that the worst harassment comes from men in groups?).

Yes, they're going to be defensive, because they're being called out and they don't yet understand why. No, they're probably not going to immediately stop catcalling. But it plants a seed. It might be the first time they've had it clearly laid out to them that this is not okay, that it is not received as any kind of compliment, and that they need to fucking stop. At the very least, it's a moment that they'll remember every time they catcall from then on.

Lindsey's confrontation by itself might not change any of these men. But the cumulative effect of people who are brave enough to call these guys out—men and women, strangers and friends, in ways large and small—might finally convince them. That's the only way people change do their minds on things like this.

Lindsey herself says: "'The theme I hear the most often is that they truly, genuinely think it's a compliment, and they are shocked,' she said. 'If that is true, then simply telling people it's not a compliment may go a long way.'"

I mean, it's not just that harassers are making an innocent mistake—these guys obviously express some fucked up, misogynistic attitudes when pressed, and I do think that harassers often use harassment as away to assert dominance.

But Lindsey's confrontation forces them to examine the whole mess that allows them to behave that way. And the fact that she's able to have the conversation in such a cool, rational, assertive-but-not-antagonistic manner (how she does that, I have no idea) denies them the usual "out" of "she's crazy" or "she's just a bitch".

People aren't just born assholes. They can change. That's a good thing.

I'd like to think this could make a difference, but a good share of the people in the videos seem drunk or otherwise drugged out, or perhaps even mentally ill.

I've been drunk or otherwise drugged out on many occasions, and yet have somehow managed not to harass or threaten women. Can't really speak to mental illness.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2014 [18 favorites]


No particular point I'm making except to say that major downtowns have enough annoying dipshits for everyone.

Sure, but those "annoying dipshits" aren't targeting men with specifically sexualized aggression. Further, women don't just get harassed in the downtowns of major cities. Women get harassed like this, in public, literally everywhere. Suburbs, small towns, parks, public transportation, while out jogging or biking... millions of women could be recording variations of this every single day in every locality you can imagine.
posted by scody at 11:14 AM on July 20, 2014 [28 favorites]


aintthattheway: "The type of guy who would seriously consider her points and engage respectfully and have his mind changed is not the type of guy who would catcall in the first place, so this seems better suited to embarrassment."

I don't know, I'm a reasonably frequent caller-outer of bad public behavior and, first, embarrassment works wonders; second, standing up for the cultural norms and mores you prefer is a powerful statement. The response I get most often is that they apologize and stop; second most common is embarrassment and beating a swift retreat or muttering about what a bitch I am after I walk away; third most common is defiance (which I believe is generally a subset of embarrassment).

I always try to approach it like the person genuinely doesn't know their behavior is impacting others negatively (which lets them save face when they stop), and I try to be polite, clear, and firm; I ask politely that they stop and use a lot of please and thank-you; if they call me a bitch or escalate I just repeat my request calmly and thank them and walk away.

Now, this is more often in places like malls and movie theaters than on public streets (as I am not in a very pedestrian city), so the dynamic is a little different. But directly confronting someone who is harassing others make very clear that that behavior is not welcome in this setting and they WILL be called out for it, and that works WONDERS in discouraging harassing behavior. People are understandably reluctant to confront people behaving in an anti-social manner (because anti-social people, by definition, are ones not following normal rules of behavior!), so many times they've gotten away with this for indefinite periods of time without anyone ever saying "knock it off, I don't like that." I doubt it's just occurring to them NOW that, oh, my behavior might be offensive! But I do think it's just occurring to them now that, oh, I can't get away with this here anymore; I will be confronted and embarrassed.

I don't think everyone should do what I do; I'm temperamentally well-suited to picking fights with angry people, and I have a lot of "mom-privilege" in that I'm a well-spoken middle-aged white lady with kids and a mom death glare; if I confront a group of teenaged boys catcalling girls at the movie theater and they escalate, I'm pretty confident the movie theater manager is going to take me more seriously than them.

(I also do pick and choose my battles, where it seems like the bad behavers are harassing strangers -- I'm not interested in getting into someone's friend-drama -- and where the strangers seem a) bothered and b) unlikely to stand up for themselves. If they're shouting stupid shit at middle-aged women who are all rolling their eyes or telling them to go fuck themselves, my services are probably not needed.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:14 AM on July 20, 2014 [30 favorites]


The KKK saw membership decline after a plotline on the Superman radio show had the children of members manning fun of them

Not quite, no.
posted by magstheaxe at 11:14 AM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Chances are that most of these guys haven't thought very much about why they do this, how it makes the woman feel

Well, yeah, exactly: We are not actually people to guys who do this. We are there for them to enjoy or comment on; we don't have feelings. We are supposed to smile and be pretty and be grateful for the compliment. Challenging any of this by acting like a person who doesn't want to be treated as an object makes for backlash.
posted by rtha at 11:18 AM on July 20, 2014 [23 favorites]


Well, I'm not saying that all women should adopt Lindsey's approach. It's up to individual women to decide how they want to respond to harassment when it happens, and whether they think Lindsey's tactics are effective or worth the risk and effort. I'm just saying that I think people can change, and that calling them out—whether the callouts are coming from the harassees, from the harasser's own social circle, from the media, or (ideally) from a variety of places—can be an effective way of encouraging them to change.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:39 AM on July 20, 2014


Whoa, this comment on that Jezebel link is downright scary creepy:

"Just to play devil's advocate, I can't help but wonder about the black fitted dress she was wearing. We all know someone who dresses like a "ho" and moans about the lack of respect men show her."


I know that there are men who think this way, and I think it's a perfect way to illustrate how exceptional women's status is.

It would be interesting, as a guy, to "friend-call" other guys on the street. Be like "HEY MAN WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER? LET'S PLAY CALL OF DUTY! HEY! VIDEO GAMES! ASSHOLE! FUCKING UNFRIENDLY SON OF A BITCH!" and see how they'd respond. He looked like a cool guy! Didn't you see that leather jacket he was wearing? He looked fun! Why'd he go out looking like a cool, fun guy if he didn't want to hang out?
posted by clockzero at 11:43 AM on July 20, 2014 [214 favorites]


Good for her!

Speaking as a (slightly) older white male, this is one of several reasons I've long (since, like junior high) often been embarrassed to be a male. I wasn't raised in a household where this kind of attitude toward women was accepted. I'm certainly not -- I like looking at women, and have been known to turn my head to check out a shapely derriere, as well as having to remind myself that her eyes are up there. I sometimes mansplain and try to solve problems when I'm only expected to listen. But I try to be aware of these behaviors in myself, and too many men aren't.

Men and women are designed to be attractive to each other, and both sexes often dress to be noticed. But dress is not consent. I like to think I have at least a semi-enlightened attitude, and if I do, it's largely because of how I was raised. That's what really needs to happen -- we need to teach our sons not to rape or harass.
posted by lhauser at 11:48 AM on July 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


magstheaxe: "Not quite, no."

The Klan Unmasked is available for download.
posted by Mitheral at 11:48 AM on July 20, 2014


HEY YOU FUCKING DICK, WHAT'S YOUR USERNAME FOR THE SIMPSONS: TAPPED OUT
posted by shakespeherian at 11:49 AM on July 20, 2014 [21 favorites]


Whoops. Looks like that is a different Klan Unmasked book.
posted by Mitheral at 11:50 AM on July 20, 2014


lhauser: "I wasn't raised in a household where this kind of attitude toward women was accepted."

I had this exact same reaction. My mother would have clobbered me if she caught me yelling at random strangers on the street, especially in a lewd way. I only made it through one video before I wanted to start grabbing people by the lapels and yelling, "didn't your parents teach you better than that???" To think I thought that "catcalling" was a bad comedy trope from days gone by.
posted by fireoyster at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Magstheaxe, your link does not refute the post you quoted. Perhaps you meant to link a different article?
posted by studioaudience at 11:55 AM on July 20, 2014


Hard to believe anyone thinks like this.

Just echoing that it's pretty common.

This past winter (the polar vortex one) while slogging to the train through shin high snow and wrapped in layers of coat, some guy grabbed my ass.

I'm complaining about it as I'm settling in at work a half hour later, sloughing off a soggy coat and a hoodie down to my jeans and a sweater, and a coworker looks at me and says "...but you're not even wearing revealing clothes!"
posted by phunniemee at 11:56 AM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


The interesting point is that Lindsey isn't saying don't talk to unknown women you find attractive. Simply don't start with obvious remarks on her physical appearance. Reading between the lines, it sounds like basic human respect and mild flirting, if interested, is all that's being asked. That's pretty reasonable and certainly more fun for everyone.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on July 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


The appropriate reaction depends on the situation, including on what the victim and/or bystanders feel like doing at the time.

People like to tell women to be careful because you just don't know who's going to overreact or get violent or go build a secret lair and become some kind of super villain, but who is warning the street harassers about the risks of inviting hostility from strangers?

This has had a huge silencing effect on women, this fear that someone is going to go off on them, so maybe it can have a silencing effect on the harassers too. Maybe they should be nervous that someone is going to make a huge scene, or track them down and get them fired or record them and put it on the internet.

Patient explanations have their place, and they can work. Not usually instantly, but I know for a fact that sometimes people change their attitudes over time.

But sometimes, I like to go into full on confrontation mode, too, and if you don't want to have that happen to you, don't go harassing strangers. (It helps that I am a dopey looking middle aged white lady, and nobody expects me to say much of anything.)

So when a car full of shitty teenaged boys started harassing me on the street by my house recently, I found out where they lived, tracked down the main kid's parents and called and told on him, recounting the exact unconscionably obscene things he and his friends been yelling. (It helped that they were following me around for a few minutes, and a teenaged girl who saw it told me not to feel bad because they did it to everyone.)

And if I see you harassing underaged girls in public, know that I am going to point out that you are openly sexualizing children, and I'm not going to use my inside voice for that.

So it would be ideal if everyone stopped street harassment because they realized how harmful it was, but that's not going to happen, so I would be OK with some people stopping because once, some dumpy old lady chased them out of a parking lot or something. Street harassment is a risky endeavor!
posted by ernielundquist at 12:11 PM on July 20, 2014 [63 favorites]


Can't personally watch more than about 15 seconds of any of these clips; feels too much like feminist Nancy Grace, and the schadenfreude levels are high.

Lindsey emphasized that she believes “harassers come from all races.”

And yet there is only one video on her CardsAgainstHarassment Youtube channel featuring a white dude. There's likely a myriad of reasons for this, but if you're interested in reducing street harassment, ignoring the data you've been gathering is perhaps a mistake. I guess what I'm trying to say is BET (Butts Every Time) needs a truckload of these cards delivered to their offices.
posted by pwnguin at 12:19 PM on July 20, 2014


Contra pwnguin (deleted comment?), one of the things I like most about the project is as a longitudinal record of just how often this harassment happens. Counts, locations, texts. The only way she is "ignoring the data", is by stating harassment comes people of all races, despite her field sample.

Minneapolis downtown commuting has a lot of inherent sampling bias, as does the impact of recent economic history. All of these affect who is out and around to harass.
posted by gregglind at 12:35 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Race IS Relevant In Street Harassment. But Not In The Racist Way Regularly Assumed.
...While it is very true that how people read street harassment stories is very dependent on their views of men by race and class, to pretend that race and class experiences do not impact whether or not men street harass is simply false. This is basically pretending that all men share the same experiences solely because of gender and ignores how oppression impacts certain men over others which may impact why they street harass. Black men do not always engage in street harassment for the same reasons that White men do nor even in the same way, from my experience of dealing with street harassment for 22 years. To extract class from street harassment is ludicrous when White wealth is 20x Black wealth and their unemployment is half what Black unemployment is. These factors, whether or not a man even has a job to have the free time to engage in street harassment versus say workplace harassment in a corporate job where he’s been employed for a decade matters.

Further, White men’s masculinity actually impacts Black men’s masculinity because of how White supremacy and anti-Blackness makes almost an invisible space for Black men to exist and places their masculinity as “on trial” when not articulated through patriarchal hypermasculinity. Black men are regularly expected to “prove” their masculinity in ways that White men are not while simultaneously being stereotyped as a “thug” for doing so...
posted by jaguar at 12:42 PM on July 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


I don't get the objection to recording these guys? If you're going to be a misogynistic asshole on a public street you've forfeited any expectation of privacy as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Justinian at 12:43 PM on July 20, 2014 [23 favorites]


Legally speaking, there is no such thing as privacy on public streets. That's why news crews can film on a street corner without notifying everyone present or asking for their permission.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


While the secret recording is creepy, the fact is we live in a world of drones, telescopes, and camera lenses the size of pinholes so for practical purposes that horse has done left the building and sired a whole troupe of little spy horsies.
posted by localroger at 12:50 PM on July 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Legally speaking, there is no such thing as privacy on public streets. That's why news crews can film on a street corner without notifying everyone present or asking for their permission.

That's true of video; there are some states where you can't record audio without someone's consent. Minnesota isn't one of those states though.
posted by Justinian at 12:52 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


fireoyster: I had this exact same reaction. My mother would have clobbered me if she caught me yelling at random strangers on the street, especially in a lewd way.

My parents weren't at all like that, at least not that I remember; that part of my education was largely by example. My mom was a woman with an actual career, not all that common in the neighborhood I grew up in during the 60s and 70s, and my dad not only adored her, but supported her in every way that I could ever detect. Respect for, and the equality of, the sexes was just something in the air.

posted by lhauser at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't get the objection to recording these guys? If you're going to be a misogynistic asshole on a public street you've forfeited any expectation of privacy as far as I'm concerned.

As an aside, the "it is wrong to record/transmit video of people" gambit is not about legality - rather, it's a fairly common tactic employed to try to protect men from the consequences of their behavior towards women, by changing the subject to the public shaming of the men.

The protector can then insist that anything involving recording or naming or providing any possible means to identify the harasser (even with face blurred, even with no names mentioned - no level of anonymization is enough) is public shaming and thus seek to deflect attention from what has actually happened - to make the act of recording the conversation, rather than what was recorded, the topic.

This is pretty old hat, on MetaFilter and elsewhere, and has been seen in Elevatorgate, Donglegate et hoc genus omne. It's even possible at this point that it's so ingrained that somebody can do it without knowing what they are doing - their moral calculus has simply been rewired to place the right of harassers not to be recorded over the right of women not to be harassed.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:07 PM on July 20, 2014 [82 favorites]


Another way to make sure they don't get shamed publicly is for them to stop acting shamefully in public.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 PM on July 20, 2014 [45 favorites]


Yeah, I don't feel that men yelling things at other people in public have some sort of expectation of privacy.
posted by jaguar at 1:15 PM on July 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


In college I lived in a friend's guest house about a mile from the university, on the far side of a park that was a major pickup spot for gay guys (this was in the late 1980s). So any reasonable daily walk to class would take me past or through this park. I got the worst of both worlds ... plenty of catcalls, more often from a weird category of in-denial homophobes who tended to troll the area in their pickup trucks playing this kind of game because they hadn't figured themselves out than actual interested gay guys, who tended more toward the tactful drive by and offer you a ride approach. After a while I became known and the sincere approaches stopped so I all I got were the catcalls of the curious/confused tourists and the slurs of the belligerent.

One day in a totally different area someone cruised by me in a car and called out "heeeey... chicky-chicky!" I turned and it was a girl I knew having fun with me. Her face became a little shocked when she saw my expression. I laughed and walked over and we talked, and she said "wow, that was a dirty look. I wonder if I look like that when guys catcall me?"
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:16 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think the recording is fine. While recording a normal person doing something non-antagonistic would be intrusive and perhaps unacceptable, a person catcalling at you has already 'broken the truce' and forfeited any expectation of respect or courtesy. At that point, if it's legal, I think it's fine. Hell, I think it would be completely acceptable to forward the video to his boss, his religious leader, and his mother.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:29 PM on July 20, 2014 [22 favorites]


Lady has got some brass fuckin' balls, that's for damn sure.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:13 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think this woman is pretty awesome for standing up for herself and her gender like this. I think the most valuable thing she accomplishes in these videos, with regard to the harassers themselves, is that she forces them to engage with her as a person rather than as an object. That, more than any specific thing she could say, may have the most impact.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:20 PM on July 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


Remember patriarchy, according to bell hooks, is "…a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence."

This woman is showing just one small aspect of how bad this system is for women and what clueless bullies it turns some men into. I don't believe for a moment that boys are born this way; our patriarchal society teaches them to be aggressive, to win, to dominate, especially women, and when they take this to heart, they might 'win' but always risk becoming not merely bullies but also, in many cases, monsters who never learn to experience deep human connection and happiness. Patriarchy terrorizes women and it destroys men.
posted by Anitanola at 2:25 PM on July 20, 2014 [13 favorites]


lhauser: That's kind of what I meant. My mother retired from the police department shortly after I was born because she wanted to be a housewife. Regardless, respect for everyone was ingrained by example, too. Even if my parents didn't personally like someone, we were still taught as kids that the person was due respect and decency.
posted by fireoyster at 2:27 PM on July 20, 2014


Lady has got some brass fuckin' balls, that's for damn sure.

Jesus Christ am I tired of this expression. Courage has nothing to do with male genitalia.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:32 PM on July 20, 2014 [34 favorites]


Clock zero that was the best comment ever.

I will use a similar analogy if I ever have to have this conversation in person with anyone again.
posted by sio42 at 2:40 PM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


As an aside, the "it is wrong to record/transmit video of people" gambit is not about legality - rather, it's a fairly common tactic employed to try to protect men from the consequences of their behavior towards women, by changing the subject to the public shaming of the men.

Well, that's one explanation. I think that assumption is a bit reductionist, though. Men and women can certainly feel weird about the idea of people being filmed/recorded in public without their knowledge without being sexist apologists.

There was another Mefipost where a photographer put a hidden camera behind a two-way mirror on a busy NY city street that creeped me out a bit.

It's not like I expect to have complete privacy when I am out in public, exactly. But I also wouldn't care for photos of myself looking windblown, stressed out, checking to see if there is something caught in my teeth or if my makeup is smudged, showing up in some photographer's public gallery!
posted by misha at 2:40 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sure - and, back on topic, I wouldn't care to have video of myself harassing a woman in the street online. However, I have one weird trick to avoid that.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:58 PM on July 20, 2014 [38 favorites]


The issue of public surveillance is its own thing very separate from this post, and to reduce that whole debate to "you shouldn't be an asshole in public" really cheapens what is a whole 'nother important debate. One the good guys are likely going to lose.

Ask yourself how much you'd like it if the catcallers were actually videoing their targets' reactions and posting the results online, trading images and giving point scores for hotness and reactions. For practical purposes that is exactly the same thing the OP did, enabled by exactly the same technology and exactly the same laws.

The behavior isn't at all the same thing, of course, but life gets get very strange when you start to ask about the details in a world where everybody with a pulse carries a functional video camera everywhere and other equipment easily affordable to individuals can turn the whole public world into a privately maintained and often undetectable panopticon.
posted by localroger at 3:12 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ask yourself how much you'd like it if the catcallers were actually videoing their targets' reactions and posting the results online, trading images and giving point scores for hotness and reactions.

I don't think women are trading images and giving point scores for hotness and reactions of the men filmed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:17 PM on July 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


Jesus Christ am I tired of this expression. Courage has nothing to do with male genitalia.

Meh, it's just a saying. Courage doesn't have anything to do with the stomach, but "X has guts" is fairly common saying.

Language is weird.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:19 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


And sometimes sexist.
posted by maxsparber at 3:24 PM on July 20, 2014 [21 favorites]


I took turbid dahlia's comment to be pointing out that courage doesn't have anything to do with male genitalia.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:26 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Language is weird.

And sometimes sexist.


And racist, and ablist, and lots of other things. We can do better, even if it means self-editing and slowing down a conversation.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:26 PM on July 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


I don't think women are trading images and giving point scores for hotness and reactions of the men filmed.

Way to totally miss the point. She is using the images for her own purpose, which is inherently inimical to the interests of the persons whose images she has taken. The question, if you think she is justified, is would she (or someone else) be justified if you didn't personally agree with those purposes. Because the act of taking someone's picture without their consent is completely independent of what that person is doing.
posted by localroger at 3:32 PM on July 20, 2014


The issue of public surveillance is its own thing very separate from this post, and to reduce that whole debate to "you shouldn't be an asshole in public" really cheapens what is a whole 'nother important debate. One the good guys are likely going to lose.

Indeed - which makes me wonder what the point you're making is, to be honest. It doesn't even succeed, really as a slippery slope argument, as it is broadening out the discussion from, very specifically "this is what this argument against filming people who are harassing you does", yet further out from Misha's very broad "this is about the general principle of people being recorded in public places without their knowledge" to the yet broader question of surveillance and panopticon. As if this woman were in fact the monitoring apparatus of an oppressive state.

That's not even a slippery slope. It's a vertical plunge.

Ask yourself how much you'd like it if the catcallers were actually videoing their targets' reactions and posting the results online, trading images and giving point scores for hotness and reactions. For practical purposes that is exactly the same thing the OP did, enabled by exactly the same technology and exactly the same laws.

This, on the other hand, is just odd. Are you saying that you don't think people should be allowed more than one emotional response per broadcast medium? Like, they should like a video of some kittens exactly as much as a video of a Klan rally, assuming both are on YouTube?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:33 PM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Way to totally miss the point.

*High fives self*

She is using the images for her own purpose, which is inherently inimical to the interests of the persons whose images she has taken. The question, if you think she is justified, is would she (or someone else) be justified if you didn't personally agree with those purposes.

The answer is easy: depends on the situation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:37 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Like, they should like a video of some kittens exactly as much as a video of a Klan rally, assuming both are on YouTube?

It's not about what anybody likes or dislikes. That is the entire point. People are cheering this woman because they dislike the people she is recording, so they excuse what they would consider inexcusable behavior in another context.

Being photographed when you aren't aware of the recording and without permission and having those photos published without your permission is, in nearly all circumstances, a bad and dangerous thing. If it's excusable in this instance it should be understood that this is at best a very narrow exception that should not be generalized. To cheerlead the project without making that distinction is a bad and dangerous thing.
posted by localroger at 3:37 PM on July 20, 2014


The answer is easy: depends on the situation.

Try drafting a law based on that sometime.
posted by localroger at 3:38 PM on July 20, 2014


Try drafting a law based on that sometime.

We're not drafting laws here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:43 PM on July 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


No rights were violated in filming and posting these images. People film and post shit all the time, we link to it on this site all the time, and nobody has complained until just now, when it is being used to shame men who harass women.

You have invented a moral absolute that makes an oppressor into a victim and someone who stands up for themselves into the aggressor, and I think you need to think about why you are doing that and who it helps.
posted by maxsparber at 3:43 PM on July 20, 2014 [53 favorites]


The question, if you think she is justified, is would she (or someone else) be justified if you didn't personally agree with those purposes.

This is rather tautological, no? "It's justified unless you think it's not justified"?
posted by desjardins at 3:44 PM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


So, to be clear, localroger, would you absolutely condemn the person recording the beating of Rodney King by the LAPD, and believe that the tape should never have been made or shared, because:

Being photographed when you aren't aware of the recording and without permission and having those photos published without your permission is, in nearly all circumstances, a bad and dangerous thing.

?

Or is that a circumstance in which it is allowable?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:45 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Could we, for once, drop the I-Just-Happen-To-Disagree-With-The-Methods-Women-Use-To-Critique-Patriarchy derail which occurs in every single conversation about women critiquing patriarchy?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:46 PM on July 20, 2014 [87 favorites]


what they would consider inexcusable behavior in another context.

I do not find anything about her behavior inexcusable.
posted by phunniemee at 3:46 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is a version of a "what about the MENZ" derail.
posted by desjardins at 3:47 PM on July 20, 2014 [24 favorites]


Being photographed when you aren't aware of the recording and without permission and having those photos published without your permission is, in nearly all circumstances, a bad and dangerous thing

That's asinine.

It's bad when creepers take and publish upskirt photos. It's complicated and interesting when this woman films her harassers. It's unoquivicobly good when journalists use hidden cameras to expose corruption.

Real life is complicated, and yet, just like with "doxing," it seems like the only times I see these hardline definitions is in defense of creepers.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:47 PM on July 20, 2014 [35 favorites]


Clock zero that was the best comment ever.

I will use a similar analogy if I ever have to have this conversation in person with anyone again.


Shucks! I feel good about that.
posted by clockzero at 3:49 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to think of a tactic to fight harassment that a woman could use that would be actually deserve some serious scorn. IMO, harassment is violence. Unless the woman murders the harasser I don't think anything else they do could be considered an overreaction.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:55 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Being photographed when you aren't aware of the recording and without permission and having those photos published without your permission is, in nearly all circumstances, a bad and dangerous thing

This basically makes no distinction between someone taking upskirt photos of a woman to use for his own purposes and someone taking photos of the guy taking upskirt photos to get him to stop.

Or, to put it another way: there's a pretty significant difference between being photographed or otherwise recorded when you're minding your own business in public vs. when you're publicly harassing or assaulting someone else.
posted by scody at 3:58 PM on July 20, 2014 [39 favorites]


We're not drafting laws here.

Well somebody is and I can guarantee you that the way the technology is going, one day someone is going to point a camera at you when you'd rather they not -- perahaps when you're adjusting your crotch or doing something else that makes you look ridiculous for a few seconds. The only thing between you and that picture being on the cover of Time will be laws, so it's in your interest to think of how they will be written.

You have invented a moral absolute

I have done no such thing. I'm saying it's complicated. It does depend on the situation, but given that our only shield against these already ubiquitous recording eyes is the law, how do we make the law aware of that situation?

David Brin has been warning us this would happen since roughly 1980 and nobody is seriously addressing it. Except police departments of course, they don't like it at all and their reactions are a little...

would you absolutely condemn the person recording the beating of Rodney King by the LAPD

Of course not, I'd personally vote for that person's sainthood. But these are distinctions we need to make. It is not all about "the MENZ" or even "the WIMMINZ." She used a technology which is soon to be at the center of a lot of really questionable behavior, in one of the ways it will probably be questionable.

What really puzzles me about the reaction here is that it's women who are likely to have a much bigger problem with this than most men. In fact, I suspect that's part of the OP's message, that she is co-opting a technique normally used to harrass women to turn the tables. Which has a certain cool factor.

But to pretend that there is no problem at all here, particularly for women, is very short-sighted. My problem here has nothing to do with sexism. We have not decided in any consistent sense when this kind of surveillance is acceptable, and we're going to need to do that soon. Because in a practical sense there is no way to stop it.
posted by localroger at 3:59 PM on July 20, 2014


We all know laws are written not to protect entrenched interests like powerful men harassing weak women, but instead laws are written to prevent plebs from embarassment. /hamburger. Gimme a break.

Honestly I see what you are saying I think you are wrong and your argument seems to be more suited to a discussion about laws/politics/legislative action/surveillance than it does to a woman fighting back against harassment.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:03 PM on July 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think it's important that she videos and posts these conversations because many men really need to see first-hand just how different a woman's reality can be day-to-day. The utter ubiquity of this abhorrent behavior should be documented so that it can be clearly shown to exist.

I know it was bracing for me. Seeing these men defend this behavior when engaged respectfully but forthrightly about it, is a powerfully persuasive demonstration of the issues at hand.
posted by LooseFilter at 4:04 PM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


[The back and forth with localroger is getting to be a bit of a derail, so maybe at this point, we can take it as noted that this connects to issues about surveillance laws, and continue with the wider discussion?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:05 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thing about this kind of surveillance is that it is available to anyone. It used to be that filming people was only available to people with power and money or else people who had invested what money they had in covert technology.

Now the default is that someone might be videotaping you. It's part of being out in public or even in relatively private settings like your own home.

I hate catcalling and have had occasions when someone threatened me for responding negatively to it. It frightens me. I still occasionally get it even though I'm in my 60s, and having people scream, wolf-whistle, cat-call, or shout dirty words at me when I'm on the street is never welcome and often scary. But I just realized that from time to time, the quiet, appreciative comment from a gentleman (usually African-American) telling me that I am beautiful as I am walking through the city, I take quite well, oddly enough.
posted by Peach at 4:08 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well somebody is and I can guarantee you that the way the technology is going, one day someone is going to point a camera at you when you'd rather they not -- perahaps when you're adjusting your crotch or doing something else that makes you look ridiculous for a few seconds. The only thing between you and that picture being on the cover of Time will be laws, so it's in your interest to think of how they will be written.

Totally agree with you there, but this doesn't seem like the place to try to repeatedly make people get that point. Most do, they just don't care that much about it in this particular internet thread. That's not from lack of intelligence or ignorance, but from prioritizing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:13 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ am I tired of this expression. Courage has nothing to do with male genitalia.

I'm tired of a lot of things too :-(
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:21 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Catcalling is straight up bullying. The dynamics and reasons for doing it are the same. This is a very brave young woman.
posted by xammerboy at 4:24 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Speaking of the law, there's a summary of Minnesota law as it applies to harassment here. (PDF)

Unsurprisingly, lawmakers have thought about the complications of covert photography: note that creepshotting - seeking to photograph people's underwear or genitals at a time when they have a reasonable expectation of privacy (which is most of the time when it comes to their genitals) is covered by "interference with privacy".

(There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for conversations held in the street, for reasons already discussed, but the parts of your body covered by your clothes can be said to have a reasonable expectation of privacy even in a public place. Law!)

Interestingly, this is one legal definition of unruly conduct in the State of Minnesota:
(To) use offensive, obscene, or abusive language if s/he knows or should know that his or her actions or language will alarm, anger, or disturb others, arouse resentment, or provoke a violent response.
"Should know" is interesting there - in particular in the context of these videos.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I just got off a public transit bus and I was absolutely recorded. That "someday" I'll be recorded doing something in public? I already live there. I don't know how many shops I passed from the bus stop to my house that have cameras over their doors that also caught me, but yeah. And if I wore skirts, then I suppose I'd run the chance of being recorded by assholes who make upskirt videos. I might be embarrassed if I got video'd picking my nose, but that's not exactly the same as shouting gross things at strangers.

I'm sorry that anyone has trouble telling the difference between being recorded when you are just going about your business and being recorded when you are engaging in asshole behavior aimed at other people. The distinction seems clear to me.
posted by rtha at 4:35 PM on July 20, 2014 [27 favorites]


Well, yeah, exactly: We are not actually people to guys who do this. We are there for them to enjoy or comment on; we don't have feelings. We are supposed to smile and be pretty and be grateful for the compliment. Challenging any of this by acting like a person who doesn't want to be treated as an object makes for backlash.

I wonder what it'd be like for it to feel just really obvious that women are different kinds of creatures. No matter what they heard, most of the men kept glitching back to essentialist categories. It'd be like, "what - why? you're beautiful, a beautiful woman, just look at you, that's why". I'm sure I have my own biases, but I just can't imagine what it'd be like to see women as members of a fundamentally distinct species, as appears to be the case here.

And, I wonder if continuing to expose the active production / construction of mainstream femininity as a process -- as is the goal behind those videos that take down photoshopping in magazines, or things like that day on FB where women were called to show pictures of themselves without makeup -- might put a tiny dent in one facet of it.

It's hard, though, when you're working against biblical certainty and the presumed naturalness of the whole baby-making thing.

(Not -- at all -- meaning to blame the victim for self-presentation in accordance with mainstream gender norms. I conform, for the most part, because it gives me a certain amount of currency across life domains, because there are costs to not conforming that I'm not willing to pay, because of x internal stuff, and because of an ambivalent pleasure that I get from it. I'm comfortable in and out of the habit, so to speak, and am aware of what it is; I'm sure most who do the same feel similarly. But I wonder what it'd be like to mostly only see the end result of that work, and have little insight into its making.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:42 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]




The only thing between you and that picture being on the cover of Time will be laws, so it's in your interest to think of how they will be written.

There is already a substantial body of law dealing with the legality (and limits) of street photography, e.g., Nussenzweig v. DiCorcia.
posted by scody at 4:46 PM on July 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am male.

On the occasions where I am walking along with a woman and a man says something to her about her appearance, I always turn to that man enthusiastically and act like I thought the comment was directed at me. "Thank you! I work out all the time!" or something like that.
posted by flarbuse at 4:47 PM on July 20, 2014 [34 favorites]


Cat-calling, but not as we know it. For a little light relief. Sorry it's an advert. Ah, the fanatsies of copywriters...
posted by Kerasia at 4:55 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was in Chicago this weekend and literally my first time taking the train on Friday morning, after everyone else seemed to get off my car and I thought I was alone for the ride to the last stop, I looked around to make sure. I was not alone. There was a man hunched over in the back corner staring at me and masturbating. He did both of these things for the whole (thankfully short) final leg of the line. Every thirty seconds or so I'd convince myself that no, there's no way that's what was actually happening, and then I'd glance over as quickly as I could only to confirm that, yep, that's what's actually happening.

Before I even boarded, up on the platform, a different man was openly appraising me for a solid two minutes - including literally walking around me in a circle - before starting to chat me up. This kind of stuff hasn't been aimed at me as long as it has been aimed at many cis women, and I can't know if these guys thought I was cis or trans (and thus what particular -ism was on display), but seriously, what the fuck?

I like what this woman is doing. I wish I'd had a card for the masturbator - not because I would have felt safe getting close enough to throw it at him, but just because I had absolutely no idea how I was supposed to be feeling or what I was supposed to be doing, and having something like that in my pocket might have let me feel slightly more prepared.
posted by Corinth at 5:07 PM on July 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


Well, I am pleased to see that we have obviously identified Yet Another Wrong Way to Handle Street Harassment. I wonder if we women will ever hit on the RIGHT way? Sigh, it is to dream.
posted by KathrynT at 5:50 PM on July 20, 2014 [58 favorites]


Insanely awesome work she's doing that, at least for me at this exact moment, reminds me how thin that veneer of civility is. My god, it's just chilling.
posted by odinsdream at 6:15 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, I am pleased to see that we have obviously identified Yet Another Wrong Way to Handle Street Harassment. I wonder if we women will ever hit on the RIGHT way? Sigh, it is to dream.

Agreed. I absolutely hate feeling powerless in the face of street harassment. But I've also encountered enough unpredictable people on the street to feel that her approach isn't necessarily safe. Also, in one way, by engaging in a prolonged conversation, it's almost a reward for bad behavior. I don't know. I would never do this. Maybe it's not socially-minded of me, but I guess I also don't feel that it's my responsibility as a woman (or any woman's responsibility) to educate people about how to behave towards me in public.
posted by three_red_balloons at 6:49 PM on July 20, 2014


I don't think KathrynT is actually saying this is really the Wrong Way to Handle Street Harassment.
posted by sweetkid at 6:59 PM on July 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


I wish that had been one of Miss Piggy's signature karate chops ( not seen in the most recent Muppet Movie either :-( )
posted by brujita at 8:17 PM on July 20, 2014


But I've also encountered enough unpredictable people on the street


I've encountered enough unpredictable people on the street that I feel I can adequately assess my own sense of personal safety and react accordingly.

I will extend to Lindsey the courtesy of assuming she's competent enough to do the same.
posted by phunniemee at 8:25 PM on July 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


millions of women could SHOULD be recording variations of this every single day in every locality you can imagine.

FTFY (not that it was broken; I'm expressing a wish, and obviously only if no safety is jeopardized). I'd love for YouTube to get absolutely full of these videos so these assholes realize what they're doing. I'd love for these videos to make the nightly news. I'd love for these videos to run as commercials.

I went men to have their disgusting misogynistic behaviour rubbed in their faces the same way you rub a puppy's nose in its mess: until they goddamn learn. AUGH.

It's days like this I hate being a man and somehow being nominally related to these knuckle-draggers.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:53 PM on July 20, 2014


I'm actually almost more interested in having men who don't necessarily harass women but who argue that women don't get harassed see these videos, over and over. I think more awareness from men passing by and more pressure from those men on harassers would solve the issue faster than women shaming harassers, because it's hard to shame someone if they don't think of you as human.

Basically, if men use these videos to distance themselves from street harassment, to say, "Well, I'm not part of the problem, because I don't do that," then they're part of the problem.
posted by jaguar at 9:01 PM on July 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


jaguar, you'll notice I said "I want men [to see these videos]," without any kind of qualification of which men. All of 'em. Allies, sexist assfaces, every man who keeps his mouth shut when he's part of a group doing this, every man there is. I also forgot to say they should be shown in high schools to all the boys, and all the teacher needs to say is "See these guys? They are assholes. Don't be an asshole." (And then move on to history of the feminist movement and so forth.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:07 PM on July 20, 2014


I think Lindsey is filming these guys for a good and important reason, and I think any other concern is secondary to that issue. I know that's complicated, localroger, and you're right that I wouldn't be okay with it if someone recorded me without my knowledge, which is why I said, hey, let's not automatically assume sexism when someone objects to Lindsey's methods.

Still, for me, if these guys see themselves on video and get upset, they have only themselves to blame. I should have the same right as anyone else to walk down the street without being embarrassed and objectified, and if this is what it takes for that right to be accepted and respected, I am all for filming these guys and/or handing out cards.

Another reason I can personally justify Lindsey's actions is because harassing someone on the street is actually against the law in most places (just like picking someone's pocket, or some cops beating up a suspect). I don't go around breaking the law, so I am okay with an exception for recording people who do.

Finally, I think we make moral decisions all the time based on what we feel is 'more or less wrong'. (Eg. Which is worse, to tell the truth and hurt someone's feelings, or tell a lie to spare them?) The possibility of discomfort for the harassers here is a lesser wrong for me. I love my sons more than anyone in the world, but if they were on video for catcalling a woman, I would have NO sympathy whatsoever for any discomfort that caused them (It wouldn't happen, though, because they were brought up to respect women!).

So, yeah, go, Lindsey! (Just please, when you are confronting these guys, be careful not to put yourself in danger, okay?)
posted by misha at 9:48 PM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think Lindsey is doing an awesome thing. I wish I felt comfortable enough to hand out cards to people who make comments to me, but I don't. Too scary, too confrontational for me, which makes me very glad that she is, and other people (from reading the comments) are too.

I'm really glad that her FAQ includes links to articles about what street harassment is like for fat women and queer men. Being fat and queer myself, I can't remember the last time I got a "compliment" from anyone who was harassing me. Not that the compliments are better, but they tend to be less scary and aggressive. I hope she manages to figure out how to incorporate experiences from other people as well, I think it would be insightful and instructive. Watching one queer woman not just verbally harass but physically harass another queer woman in the context of "flirtation" was extremely uncomfortable-making. My reaction time was slow and it was over before it had sunk in, but would I have been over-reacting if I'd said something? Can women do this kind of thing with each other ironically, and was this one of those times? Not questions to which I have the answers, so it would be interesting to see more people exploring things in more depth.

I also thought it was interesting that after watching a couple of videos with men saying how beautiful she was, how she should be a model, etc I became briefly quite curious to know what she looked like. And then realised that that is so not the point.
posted by Athanassiel at 12:48 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Second is an issue I suspect most people here won't care about or agree with in this context, but I think it's an important criticism, and that's secretly recording people. Secret recording is bad. Proliferating it will make and is making our world worse and in some cases (some of them ironic, given the topic) more dangerous. If you think this particular secret recording is justified, either by the men instigating or by the importance of Lindsey's message, that's certainly valid, but I don't agree. There's no need to derail this thread into a repetitive Google Glass debate, but it's something I find troublesome.

No sale, sorry.

My entire issue with google glass and networked wearable devices capable of video recording in general(clandestine or not, if it becomes socially normal) is that they would be used in people of walmart, abusive ways by people who already hold the social power in situations. The whole objection was basically that it was going to automate doxing and smear campaigns against well, people like this woman who piss off nerdy straight white guys.

I think using clandestine recording in this way is a good thing, and that it in and of itself is not bad. I simply see the tides shifting and internet connected wearable devices becoming the norm... and being used for shitty purposed by that aforementioned group of dudes to specifically attack and harass less privileged people who annoy them or that they simply want to "troll". The possibilities for abuse here are massive, and it's really easy to clandestinely upload a video of someone "freaking out" if you can just chop that out of the context of harassing them for 20 minutes beforehand.

And i think it's worth noting that i am not alone in making this point on here. It's come up in every thread about this sort of recording, that the possibilities for abuse of people who aren't at the top of the social power pyramid are huge.

I also think it's lol in general that there ended up being a big referendum on how this is yet another Wrong Way To Handle This, which i saw coming while viewing the material before i had even started reading the comments. It's somehow, always, the wrong way. And somehow doing anything back is always antagonistic in the wrong sort of way.
posted by emptythought at 2:45 AM on July 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


I worry that one of the guys will retaliate. They know what she looks like and this is her regular route.

I love the idea of those cards, though. Writing always conveys some authority. And just by presenting something in writing she is taking control of the situation. The guy has to focus on what she is doing. He has to take the card, he has to read it.

His Spiel is interrupted and reset. Suddenly, he is the one reacting to her. Suddenly, he has to come up with some way to react, defend.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:58 AM on July 21, 2014


It's interesting that we've got a big thread of "She could get hurt! Be careful!" in this discussion. She could get hurt by not doing anything, too. Women get attacked by men for all sorts of reasons, most of them unjustifiable. If a man does hurt her, that's on him, not her.
posted by jaguar at 6:23 AM on July 21, 2014 [20 favorites]


If a man does hurt her, that's on him, not her.

Very true. We rightfully expect people to be conscious, intelligent and civilized enough not to degrade women and treat them like pieces of meat.
posted by zarq at 7:15 AM on July 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


People are cheering this woman because they dislike the people she is recording

Really? I mean, I don't know these guys at all, so I can't really say that I "dislike" them. I dislike what they're doing, though. Hmm, maybe I'm cheering this woman because of that, and not because of anything to do with how much I like or dislike these men that I don't know at all. How about that?
posted by palomar at 7:26 AM on July 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


The opinions voiced in this thread are a bit shocking to me compared to the opinions voiced in the thread directly below this one, which is also about women recording their harassers, albeit in Kabul rather than Minneapolis. Do the men objecting to Lindsey's filming, painting it as a precursor to some sort of digitally-driven panopticon, have the same objections to Afghani girls and women filming men who shout that they deserve to be beheaded for daring to drive a car or walk outside without a head scarf?

The difference between the sort of harassment recorded in these videos and the sort of harassment recorded in this one isn't in intent or purpose, only degree. All of it involves men who feel entitled to punish women who have the gall to exist in public spaces. It creates an atmosphere of hostility that's impossible to describe to people who haven't lived underneath it, and it all exists on a continuum.

I very firmly believe that women who record and publish their experiences with harassment are doing a service to humanity, several times over: They're letting other women who are harassed know that we're not alone (since many women are often told we've brought it all upon ourselves, having somehow invited the harassment, and/or that street harassment is extremely rare, presumably because men don't usually experience it), they're letting decent men know exactly what their brethren are up to (since for many men, it seems painfully difficult to simply take what women are saying at face value without third-party "evidence" or "proof"), and they're showing offenders that harassment will not always be idly tolerated (since most of the time, society agrees with them when it comes to believing that women are naturally inferior and should be kept on a proverbial short leash).

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Women who are brave enough to shed light on how horribly we are often treated when we're just trying to go about our days are straight-up heroic.
posted by divined by radio at 7:36 AM on July 21, 2014 [28 favorites]


Do the men objecting to Lindsey's filming, painting it as a precursor to some sort of digitally-driven panopticon

Actually, the objection was from maybe one or two posters in this thread. Most of the people (not sure of their genders, usernames are often vague that way) posting in this thread agree with your perspective on this.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:20 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's interesting that we've got a big thread of "She could get hurt! Be careful!" in this discussion.

Yes. This kind of thing doesn't help.

Women are raised in a culture of fear from the time we're little girls. We're inundated with lurid true crime stories and bizarre urban legends about ways that we can be hurt. There's a reason that there's such a huge overlap in true crime and women's programming. (Investigation Discovery is a de facto 'women's network,' and 'women's networks' like We and Lifetime show huge blocks of true crime programming throughout the day.)

Women check their back seats before getting into their cars. We get emails warning us that there are bad guys hiding under our cars waiting to slash our Achilles tendons and about dastardly home invaders playing recordings of babies crying to get us to open our doors. We get lectured constantly about all the ways we could be hurt by the world around us, from the commonplace to the absurd.

It's a pretty safe bet that any given woman raised in our culture is already pretty conscious of risk. And women who live and work in busy urban areas generally have a fair amount of personal experience and skills in dealing with real life dangers.

She knows she could be hurt, but sometimes you take that risk in order to live your life the way you want to. She is a grown woman who is fully capable of making her own choices. Leave her alone.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2014 [15 favorites]


I've gotten the 'Are you a model?' thing in downtown Minneapolis. Which is annoying, but not nearly as bad as what happened when I had to escort two teenaged girls through a crowd of drunks when the concert we had attended let out at the same time as bar closing time. We were all grabbed, and several men asked how much we charged for blowjobs. I live in a small town where everyone knows everyone, so going to Minneapolis and experiencing street harassment is a very jarring experience.
posted by LindsayIrene at 9:45 AM on July 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


The cards remind me of the calling cards done in the 1980s by the fantastic conceptual artist/scholar Adrian Piper. "I regret any discomfort my presence is causing you, just as I am sure you regret the discomfort your racism is causing me."
posted by poodelina at 9:54 AM on July 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


she's deliberately exposing herself to personal risk for the good of humanity. She's a hero.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:56 AM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


she's deliberately exposing herself to personal risk for the good of humanity. She's a hero.

Agreed, but she's already getting harassed... any one of these people could be ready to escalate already. And that's not on her.

But good god, I cannot imagine even acknowledging this type of interaction without shaking like a leaf.

I'm 30, I've been catcalled at since I was 13. My mother had me wear baggy sweatshirts when I would go out for a walk as a teenager so I wouldn't attract the wrong kind of attention. Didn't work. I would cut across church parking lots and random yards in Midwestern suburbia to avoid it. Because clearly, it was my fault, for existing and being female and being outside.
posted by RainyJay at 10:02 AM on July 21, 2014


If a man does hurt her, that's on him, not her.

Well yeah! But that doesn't stop me from worrying about retaliation. She's doing a good thing (that I personally would be scared of doing) and it would suck if something bad happened to her as a result.
posted by Omnomnom at 10:14 AM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


She's doing a good thing (that I personally would be scared of doing) and it would suck if something bad happened to her as a result.

If you have the same sentiment towards, say, firefighters, then fair enough.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:18 AM on July 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


LindsayIrene, you make a very good point: the anonymity of big cities more easily lends itself to this kind of behavior. I rarely experienced actual catcalling here in my hometown, though the 'are you a model' kind of stuff happened often.

But on just one short trip to San Francisco for MacWorld--and gosh, I was already in my forties--I got catcalled twice and a homeless man on a corner actually goosed me while I stood waiting for a light to change!

Which is yet another reason why drawing more public attention to street harassment is a good thing.

In a world where many people go through their day largely oblivious to the actions in the crowds around them, just trying to get where they are going, street harassment becomes Somebody Else's Problem, None of My Business. We don't make eye contact, plug in our earphones and tune out. Which makes sense, as a learned survival skill. But it also allows those People Behaving Badly in Public to keep doing it. It's like they have a shield to hide behind that we all forge for them every day.
posted by misha at 10:31 AM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


She's doing a good thing (that I personally would be scared of doing) and it would suck if something bad happened to her as a result.

But it would not be as a result of her actions. It would be as a result of a man deciding to hurt her.

There's a way in which we tend to talk of violence against women as some sort of amorphous act-of-god event that just descends on women. Even the phrase "violence against women" leaves out who's perpetrating that violence. Focusing on her actions in this case as somehow inviting violence reinforces that narrative. She would not just "get hurt" -- a man or men would hurt her. I think, once one shifts one's thinking in that direction, there's a realization that any individual violent man is likely to be violent regardless of any individual woman's actions.
posted by jaguar at 10:49 AM on July 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


Do the men objecting to Lindsey's filming, painting it as a precursor to some sort of digitally-driven panopticon, have the same objections to Afghani girls and women filming men who shout that they deserve to be beheaded for daring to drive a car or walk outside without a head scarf?

Yeah, please, let's not do that here. When you assume that it is men making these objections, you are engaging in sexist behavior yourself.

And comparing street harassment--an aberrant, misogynistic act perpetuated by offenders relying on their anonymity--to the publicly sanctioned and legally codified misogyny in Afghanistan does not help anything. Can you see that comparison going anywhere good in this thread? Because, to me, all you have done is given people an excuse not to take street harassment seriously. First World Problems, etc.

Not to mention that even those in the thread--including me--who have mentioned their initial discomfort with the recording of the harassment have pretty much universally agreed that street harassment is a problem that justifies the measures Lindsay is taking. So let's put away the strawmen pitchforks and keep the productive discussion going.
posted by misha at 10:51 AM on July 21, 2014


I think these risk assessments are pretty far off.

I've always jealously guarded my independence, since I was a very little girl, so I've spent a whole lot of time out by myself just wandering around and minding my own business.

I have been catcalled and flashed and harassed a lot. I've been seeing unwanted penises since I was a kid. I used to have a common issue in one old neighborhood with some kind of charity van trying to pick me up and give me condoms and stuff all the time because they thought I was a sex worker (nope, just an insomniac).

I've yelled at drunks and harassers and creeps lots of times. I've been groped and had men grab me by the arm or around the waist, and I've gotten annoyed and nervous and angry, and I think it's important people know that things like that happen because they suck and they do make the world hostile for women in a way it isn't for men.

But I worry sometimes that by telling these stories, I'm contributing to the fear that so many women live with that keeps them from living their lives the way they choose.

The times I've actually been scared, as in genuinely scared for my physical safety, has almost always been when I was doing normal things everyone does. It's been from coworkers, boyfriends, or friends of friends. The only time I was seriously physically attacked by a stranger was at 2PM in a suburban Target parking lot.

I'm not saying that the risks don't exist. They do, but stranger attacks are actually pretty rare. You're probably safer going toe to toe with a street harasser than you are going home to tell your weird controlling boyfriend about it.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:54 AM on July 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Rereading what I just wrote, it sounds a bit harsh, given that I favorited your comment. Just to add on, I do agree with the general gist of what you were saying, divinedbyradio, and the majority of your comment, about sunshine being the best disinfectant, is spot on.
posted by misha at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2014


All of this concern for Lindsey's safety appears to me as just another tactic to discourage and ultimately silence women who agitate against patriarchy.
Lindsey - all women - are perfectly able to assess the hazards involved and determine their best course of action when they confront the men who harass them.
Suggesting otherwise denies this agency; it insists that women endure crimes committed against them without remark.
Silence never has, and never will, put an end to oppression.

Additionally, it is well past the time for men who witness harassment to step forward and inform the perpetrators that their behavior is unacceptable.
Because harassment is perpetrated by men, men are obligated to actively work toward its end.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:05 PM on July 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


If you have the same sentiment towards, say, firefighters, then fair enough.

When something happens to make their work visible (like, a conflagrations reported on the news), yes. This is different because it's more out of the ordinary. It's one woman's brave actions that I haven't heard done before. I am more accustomed to hearing about firefighters, is all.

All of this concern for Lindsey's safety appears to me as just another tactic to discourage and ultimately silence women who agitate against patriarchy.

This rankles a little for me as a woman who identifies with what she's doing. I can appreciate that I've stumbled unwittingly on a strategic method of silencing women. But for me, what goes through my head is: "Wow. This is fantastic. Could I do this? I'd like to. I think I could handle the talking bit. But I'd be really scared of being stalked and "outed" on the internet by somebody who's out for revenge, and then beaten up or something. I really hope this doesn't happens to her. I hope nobody manages to hurt her, and that she goes on doing this."

Anyway. Sorry to make this All About Me.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:32 PM on July 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


This really looks like a great response to the problem.
posted by rebent at 12:58 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Even the phrase "violence against women" leaves out who's perpetrating that violence.

That's a great point (unsurprisingly). How about we rephrase it to either "male violence against women," or just "male violence"?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:59 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, please, let's not do that here. When you assume that it is men making these objections, you are engaging in sexist behavior yourself.

I don't think it's an out of line assumption to make though. While plenty of women may have voiced their concerns on here, offline in the context of this sort of discussion there's always men who pop up and concern troll going "RU SURE THAT SAFE?!?" and nitpick the approach. The comparisons above to people thinking it's some force of nature or act of god, and not the actions of an individual person are spot on.

And although i can only speak for what i see myself, and what i sort of absorbed through osmosis growing up as a dude in the US, i think there's a two part failure here.

Firstly, there's a lack of acknowledgement that simply walking down the street and existing while being a lady is inherently way above the average dude level for feeling, and being unsafe. It's like cycling everywhere instead of driving a nice, modern car with current safety features and good sound insulation to block out the stupid around you. You can see this very clearly if you're a guy with a fairly gender-mixed group of friends, and one of your lady friends goes "ugh, i was waiting for the bus today and i got accosted by this weird asshole so relentlessly that i had to beg a random person on the street to help me, and only really got out of it because my boyfriend happened to be biking past". The first response from the guys and some of the women will be something to the effect of "Well what were you wearing?" "Did you say anything back to him or just ignore him"(and of course, both are the wrong answer, duh) and just general questions about what she was doing to provoke it.

Secondly, because of the aforementioned lack of consciousness of the reality of existing-while-female being vaguely in the same neighborhood as walking while black, they see this sort of confrontation as a jump from driving their safe car, to riding a motorcycle. There's no acknowledgement that they were already 75% of the way there as their default level of daily risk for bullshit/danger/violence/etc.

Basically, i don't think it's unfair or a derail or anything to say that a lot of these types of comments come from men. Seeing as how i'm a dude, i think i said stuff like this before i had been learned, and i regularly hear dudes have this type of shitty reaction to a woman doing anything besides walking away as quickly as possible. I can also remember several instances of being in a large group of people and therefor sort of having safety in the herd, a woman in the group gets catcalled and yells back, and suddenly it's all the guys in the group telling her to shut up and not instigate shit as if that was the aggressive action, not the initial aggression by the third party asshole.

I'm not trying to erase that there are women concerned here, but i think a large component of the people who concern troll any sort of "bashing back" in any way are men. And there's nothing wrong with acknowledging that. It's definitely not sexist, IMO, any more than saying "99.99999% of street harassment comes from men" or something.

That's a great point (unsurprisingly). How about we rephrase it to either "male violence against women," or just "male violence"?

Because "not all violence is by men, and you're erasing all the violence women commit on eachother or that men commit to eachother!"

Can't you hear it already?

god i fucking hate the fuck out of smug internet warrior dudes sometimes.
posted by emptythought at 2:16 PM on July 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


It's also worthwhile to remember that rocking the boat, that fighting against a status quo in which women are supposed to be subservient to men always, is of course going to feel risky. That feeling of risk is the internalization of the fucked-up status quo; it's the patriarchy's way of telling women not to challenge men and of telling men that women who challenge men are putting people in danger, thus preserving the (false) sense that we're all safe -- and handwaving away men's actual violence against women, as ernielundquist pointed out -- as long as we all maintain our "correct" gender roles.

So, basically, fuck that noise.
posted by jaguar at 2:34 PM on July 21, 2014 [16 favorites]


Yeah, I mean women died fighting for our right to vote the US. What jaguar said, exactly.
posted by sweetkid at 2:39 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Emptythought, I think you missed that divinedbyradio's comment was specifically regarding this thread : "the opinions voiced in this thread are a bit shocking to me", as was my response, so her use of "men" and my criticism of it was specifically within that context.

Hence my point that in this case the assumption was a sexist one, as it was not possible to determine gender in some cases, while being demonstrably untrue that those opinions were not made by men in others.
posted by misha at 2:40 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nah, there's plenty of "I'm not sexist but when you dress in tight-fitting clothes and get drunk around dudes, what do you expect to happen?" just-telling-it-like-it-is-ers.

I got stuck on this because I KEEP running across it, mostly on my facebook feeds, and usually in the Burning Man threads. You know what's so depressing? 90% of the time it's WOMEN excusing the bad behavior, and it's mostly young women. It's consistenyly women posters are post that "she deserved it" and "what does she expect, if she's going to Engage in That Behavior." (=pretty much any behavior that doesn't involve covering oneself from head to toe) And these are in threads concerning bad behavior by men (secret filming, etc).

It's really depressing.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:40 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think, once one shifts one's thinking in that direction, there's a realization that any individual violent man is likely to be violent regardless of any individual woman's actions.

This is quite salient, I think. This woman seems quite able to handle herself in these confrontations, and from that I infer that she's probably pretty good at sensing if a particular man might be dangerous. I don't know of any data linking street harassment to violent tendencies, but that seems to be an assumption running through this thread, that because a man is sexist and rude, he's probably violent, too, and I don't think that assumption is warranted.

In my experience in male-to-male interactions, those who bark loudest are most often paper tigers, crumpling at the first sign of a challenge. The body language of the men she confronts on the videos is interesting and varied--uncomfortable, shifting, preening, defiant--but never looked threatening to me.

Fear of consequences of challenging the status quo is a big part of what keeps the status, uh, quo, and fear of rude assholes ends up empowering them. She's brave for doing this, but she also seems pretty damn savvy and smart, too, so I expect she reads these situations well.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:58 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know what's so depressing? 90% of the time it's WOMEN excusing the bad behavior, and it's mostly young women. It's consistenyly women posters are post that "she deserved it" and "what does she expect, if she's going to Engage in That Behavior."

I think it's a kind of just-world thinking, you know? They - we - are taught that it's pretty much solely our responsibility to not be raped or assaulted, and that there are some sure-fire ways to keep that from happening (don't drink, don't wear specific kinds of clothing, don't do those things *and* be around men).

Acknowledging the lack of control that we have over people who want to hurt us, or who just don't care about us on their way to getting what they want, is pretty awful and scary.
posted by rtha at 3:25 PM on July 21, 2014 [13 favorites]


I don't know of any data linking street harassment to violent tendencies, but that seems to be an assumption running through this thread, that because a man is sexist and rude, he's probably violent, too, and I don't think that assumption is warranted.

Isn't there a saying about how men have to worry about maybe getting in a fight, but women always have to worry if they're going to be killed? I think that applies here.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:26 PM on July 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think it's a kind of just-world thinking, you know? They - we - are taught that it's pretty much solely our responsibility to not be raped or assaulted, and that there are some sure-fire ways to keep that from happening (don't drink, don't wear specific kinds of clothing, don't do those things *and* be around men).

And how much you wanna bet that the same women who say "she deserved it" are also saying that they "don't need feminism"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:10 PM on July 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's consistenyly women posters are post that "she deserved it"

Well, that's disgusting and infuriating!

Thankfully, I don't run into that much.

In fact, come to think of it, have never, ever, heard a woman say another woman 'deserved it' regarding street harassment. Why in the world are you keeping crazy people like that in your Facebook feeds?! Unfriend 'em. Life is too short.

And how much you wanna bet that the same women who say "she deserved it" are also saying that they "don't need feminism"?

Could you guys maybe clue me in to where this is happening online? Is there a place like Reddit's Red Pill but for women or something?
posted by misha at 4:59 PM on July 21, 2014


Isn't there a saying about how men have to worry about maybe getting in a fight, but women always have to worry if they're going to be killed? I think that applies here.

Is it this one, from Margaret Atwood's "Second Words"?
"Why do men feel threatened by women?" I asked a male friend of mine. So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. "I mean," I said, "men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power." "They're afraid women will laugh at them," he said. "Undercut their world view." Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, "Why do women feel threatened by men?" "They're afraid of being killed," they said.
Which usually gets shortened to "Men are worried that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them", or similar.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:01 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Isn't there a saying about how men have to worry about maybe getting in a fight, but women always have to worry if they're going to be killed? I think that applies here.

I think you are referring to Margaret Atwood's,, "Men worry women will laugh at them, women worry men will kill them." But that's not a good analogy, of course, because men worry about other men killing them, too, and in fact men are more often victims of violent homicide.

I think a better one would be, "A man worries a woman might laugh at him. A woman worries a man might sexually harass or even rape her." Not quite as pithy, though.
posted by misha at 5:12 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or kill her. Men being at risk of being killed by other men doesn't exactly exclude the possibility that women are afraid of being raped, harassed, and killed by men.

The point is not that no man worries about being killed by another man. The point is what men worry about getting from women. I don't even know why this has to be explained. It's not about All the Things a man might worry about. It's not about All the People Men are Afraid Might Kill Them. It's "What is the worst thing a man imagines a woman could do to him?"
posted by rtha at 5:40 PM on July 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


Could you guys maybe clue me in to where this is happening online? Is there a place like Reddit's Red Pill but for women or something?

I see it in any space that's not tightly moderated. So that'd be pretty much the entire rest of the internet, to say nothing of non-internet spaces.
posted by palomar at 5:46 PM on July 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


The idea of a woman's value = "rape first, slave-labor second, meat third" is pretty perfectly summed up in Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy (see: Amanda's character in The Year of the Flood/MaddAddam). Only mentioning this here as it's come up in several comments, for those looking to read the specific works being recalled/cited above.

Being female and alive qualifies you for sexual harassment before you can even walk; 1 in 6 American women have been victim to attempted or completed rape in their lifetimes. Per the same page, 1 in 33 men (3%) have experienced the same. And 9 out of 10 rape victims in 2003 were female.

I've yet to see a poster addressing the "male on male crime epidemic" or "how to avoid getting date-raped by your girlfriend" on college campuses. Anyone?

From 2002-2011, the murder rate was 7.4 out of every 100,000 males, and 2 out of every 100,000 females in the United States.

Per the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 80% of homicide victims globally are men, and 95% of the perpetrators are also men. So yes, men have a higher chance of encountering violence at the hands of a stranger, for sure - but 70% of domestic violence deaths globally are women killed by either male family members or male sexual partners.

Harassment can easily turn into verbal threats triggered by feelings of inadequacy/rejection on the man's part, which then has the possibility of devolving into a violent sexual assault.

Any woman who's experienced sexual harassment knows that, and lives in fear of it.

Including me.

If you're a man who loads himself up with knives, pepper spray, has a concealed-carry permit and firearm for personal protection or is taking self-defense classes specifically to protect yourself against strangers, please share what drove you to take such measures here; I mean, 95% of murders committed globally are by men, and 80% of their victims are men. It only makes sense, right?

Such overwhelming statistics should trigger a cross-cultural movement in favor of gun control and curtailing violence worldwide, and yet... I don't see it. Maybe it's because I'm a USian?

Any of us might be killed by a stranger, true. But according to the statistics I've sourced, only 5% of violent homicides globally are committed by women.

I hope that sufficiently supports rtha's point above, with which I wholeheartedly agree. (rtha, imagine my favorite = x 1000!)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 5:58 PM on July 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Could you guys maybe clue me in to where this is happening online? Is there a place like Reddit's Red Pill but for women or something?

There are a ton of women involved in the MRA movement, and there's at least one large right-wing lobbying organization (Concerned Women for America) that explicitly identifies as anti-feminist, including opposing domestic and sexual violence laws.

But that's not a good analogy, of course, because men worry about other men killing them, too, and in fact men are more often victims of violent homicide.

Ugh, can we not have one of the oldest MRA derails in the book when discussing violence against women in this thread?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:06 PM on July 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


It's not about All the People Men are Afraid Might Kill Them. It's "What is the worst thing a man imagines a woman could do to him?"

Falsely accuse him of rape/harassment? That's the Internet Dude narrative at least.

That's seriously the common sentiment i've seen though. Like the worst thing a man can do to a woman is do those things, and the worst thing a woman can do to a man is accuse him of it when he didn't because omg no recourse instantly accepted no proof required straight to prison lol.

This is obviously completely detached from reality, but you can go pretty far into Progressive Thinking Decent Millennial Guys as a group and while they wont loudly complain about it like angry MRA dudes will, if you prime the conversation correctly they'll often agree that it's some miasma-like threat floating around at some low level. Even among guys that should, or otherwise have proven to generally know better with relation to how hard it is to get the police/college admin/workplace/etc to take anything like that seriously even remotely. And even among guys who should know that sort of thing is very rare. It's like, even if they intellectually have the info they still have some weird deep emotional fear of it.

It also didn't help that my small high school had several cases of like, slam dunk, 100% proven to be totally made up by later evidence/witnesses/recantings harassment or assault cases. Fuck, it took me years to realize that wasn't a real widespread thing after that.

And worth noting, if you pay attention to that common narrative, it really cements and trumpets the(statistically true) belief that there is no real common or even for the most part outlier threat of woman on man physical violence. There's no mens pepper spray ads warning of lady attackers. Nor are there scare stories on those MRA forums. They're tacitly acknowledging it's lack of reality, and not even realizing what that says about their points in general. Heh.

If you're a man who loads himself up with knives, pepper spray, has a concealed-carry permit and firearm for personal protection or is taking self-defense classes specifically to protect yourself against strangers, please share what drove you to take such measures here; I mean, 95% of murders committed globally are by men, and 80% of their victims are men. It only makes sense, right?

Maybe i'm an asshole, and maybe this is specious and i know it's anecdata... but all but one person(who wasn't white, heh) i've seriously had a conversation with like that who was a man always struck me as a closet racist.

They're always afraid of the Big Scary Brown Man mugging them, or coming in the window and raping their daughter, or whatever. I've just never seen it be an isolated belief, but rather just a visible part of a larger fucked up matrix of beliefs.

To be clear i'm talking about people who live in urban areas and only have guns for those kinds of reasons, not just because they have a bunch of land around their house out in the woods and wanna shoot stuff because 'murica and hunting and whatever.(who are often completely fine, and if they mention home defense it's usually about methheads).

I mean i have been the victim of random violence. I've been assaulted on public transit, mugged, jumped at a public park, intentionally run over with a car by a road rager, and more. And i just... don't get it. Even when i do feel unsafe, i often realize that it's not that i actually am unsafe, just momentarily uncomfortable. Because in the end, out of all the available targets on the street... very few people are actually going to go for the tall beardy dude in a ripped up denim jacket.

There's also the very valid point of the fact that besides bullying in like... 1st grade, i haven't been the victim of any kind of violence or even threats from a woman since then with the exception of the woman who ran me over(at which point there was the power differential of her being in a locked SUV, and me being a pedestrian). It's just Not A Thing.
posted by emptythought at 7:09 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, that's disgusting and infuriating!

Well, assuming you're not discussing the disgusting number of typos in that sentence (my laptop hates me) ... it's always young women. Using this anecdata, I am extrapolating that feminism in the sphere of the personal has taken a giant leap backwards. On the one hand it's infuriating, and on the other hand I want to give all these young women a hug, who seem to feel that controlling the reactions of every male on the planet is their personal responsibility, to be achieved primarily by means of clothes.

The (somewhat?) positive thing is that it happens often in threads where men are asking everyone what they should do if they see another man sexually harassing or filming or otherwise creeping. That that is a regular discussion is very heartening.

Regarding idea that catcalling would lead me to believe that the same person would be more likely to physically harm m? Yes, I do think that, for two reasons.

1) This person does not see me as a person. He sees me as a sexual OBJECT,. People do not respect an object's bodily integrity.

2) The basic, John Locke-ian argument that once a person violates one aspect of the social contract, you can't trust him to acknowledge any other parts of the social contract. Someone who catcalls me is definitely on my personal no-fly watchlist.
posted by small_ruminant at 7:30 PM on July 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's "What is the worst thing a man imagines a woman could do to him?"

Laugh at my penis? (Which to be fair does have a great sense of humor, but still.)

In other words, Atwood is right. Women are facing real danger (and that often comes from trusted friends, lovers, and family members, not strangers), and men's greatest risk is scorn.

Even if one of these guys escalated, it's in daylight on a crowded city street. Accepting a ride home from a date is probably orders of magnitude more risky.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:33 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


and there's at least one large right-wing lobbying organization (Concerned Women for America) that explicitly identifies as anti-feminist, including opposing domestic and sexual violence laws.

Brainwashing is grotesque.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:23 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ugh, can we not have one of the oldest MRA derails in the book when discussing violence against women in this thread?

Zombieflanders, I don't know how you know what the oldest MRA derails in the book are, but I can assure you I don't have any idea, as I don't associate with any MRAs myself.

If something I said bothers you, I would much appreciate it if you would explain why, like Unicorn_on_the_cob took the time to do. There s no need to use inflammatory terminology like that, and it comes across as very dismissive and insulting.
posted by misha at 8:31 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


misha I think you've been in enough threads like this one to know that saying 'Talking about violence against women is one thing but what about violence against men?!' is so banal as to have become a hashtag meme.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:42 PM on July 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


No one said that, shakespeherian.
posted by misha at 9:03 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


But that's not a good analogy, of course, because men worry about other men killing them, too, and in fact men are more often victims of violent homicide.

I don't know what your intent was, but refocusing a conversation about violence against women onto violence faced by men is a derailing tactic so old that its grey hairs have grey hairs. Even if that's not what you meant, this explicitly echoed MRA and other anti feminist rhetoric and the pushback shouldn't be a surprise.

I think we've all been around this particular block a few times, so maybe let's all admit we know the routine and move on?
posted by Dip Flash at 9:17 PM on July 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


So, uh, reset: not talking about men-on-men violence (which is a problem). We are talking about men-on-women violence (which is a much more pervasive problem for a WHOLE BUNCH OF REASONS even if it is statistically less likely; men don't live in fear of other men. Women do, however, live in fear of many men. That needs to goddamn fucking hell ass change NOW).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:33 PM on July 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's not about All the People Men are Afraid Might Kill Them. It's "What is the worst thing a man imagines a woman could do to him?"

Falsely accuse him of rape/harassment? That's the Internet Dude narrative at least.


Oh, yeah, I think you have a point there. I have seen that 'false accusation' phobia come up on Metafilter in a surprising number of these sexual violence discussions. It's definitely a Thing. Like, even among some of the men here, the facts that most rapes go unreported AND false accusations are quite rare doesn't seem to dispel the myth that women are in the habit of crying rape.

Seriously, why would I want to put myself through an invasive physical examination, skeptical interrogation into my sexual history, and social stigmatization (which is the reality that rape victims who do file a report endure) just to falsely accuse some guy of raping me? Even if he were my worst enemy, like he killed my family and I wanted revenge, given the low percentage of offenders that are actually prosecuted, I would have to be delusional to go that route.

You know, when college campuses across the country were surveyed for the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), the number one recommendation (from both men and women) about how to combat violence against women was "GET MORE MEN INVOLVED!", so they would better understand how pervasive the problem actually is.
posted by misha at 9:37 PM on July 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yes, this thread is about sexual harassment of women and we need to keep the focus there. That's why I also said (about analogies), "I think a better one would be, "A man worries a woman might laugh at him. A woman worries a man might sexually harass or even rape her." " Certainly no intent to derail on my end.
posted by misha at 9:46 PM on July 21, 2014


I tend to worry a man will rape and kill me. So there's that. Which was the point.
posted by jaguar at 10:08 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I mean, the thread is based on several videos of a woman being sexually harassed, and her attempts to talk to her harassers have led many commenters here to worry about her safety. They're obviously not worried about her being sexually harassed, because she's already been sexually harassed. The entire undercurrent of fear for her safety is based on the assumption that she's going to be violently physically assaulted.
posted by jaguar at 10:11 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think a better one would be, "A man worries a woman might laugh at him. A woman worries a man might sexually harass or even rape her."

I really don't understand your resistance to the original. Is it incorrect to say that women might be afraid not "just" of being harassed or raped, but killed? Is that such a reach?
posted by rtha at 10:13 PM on July 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


A man worries a woman might laugh at him. A woman worries a man might sexually harass or even rape her." " Certainly no intent to derail on my end.

Then get your damn facts straight, and do not purport to speak for all women on this score. The vast majority of female homicide victims are killed in conjunction with sex crimes and/or domestic violence. The vast majority of male homicide victims are killed in conjunction in drug- and/or gang-related incidents.

Women's fears are grounded in real reasons. To say that we fear being raped but not being killed because more men are actually killed every year is both a denial of the breadth and depth of violence against women, and a denigration of the genuine fears that many, many women carry on a daily basis.

So maybe you've never feared being killed by a man. Congratulations. But I have, and so have other women in this thread, and so have plenty of other women I've known. Don't tell me we haven't.
posted by scody at 10:20 PM on July 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Anyway, I'd bet money that Atwood didn't do any fact-checking of that observation; that's not the point. It's not a quote from the latest round of crime stats. She's a novelist, not a reporter. But she came up with a truth that resonates with an awful lot of us.
posted by rtha at 10:24 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


So maybe you've never feared being killed by a man. Congratulations

No, I haven't. But I have been raped.

do not purport to speak for all women on this score

I never did this.

Then get your damn facts straight

Why are you singling me out like this in this thread? Your comment feels unnecessarily harsh.

Women are much more likely to be raped than murdered. It seemed to make sense to me to that rape would be the greater fear. It is among the women I know, many of whom have also been raped.

But because you gave me such a hard time, I checked some studies to see if I was way off base. And the facts Back me up on this.

Sexual violence is a very real fear that I don't feel should go unmentioned. Maybe you prefer this analogy:

“Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect while most women fear rape and death.”
― Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
posted by misha at 11:17 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Women are more likely to get raped than murdered, but the consequences of murder are more severe, which affects people's estimation of probability (see also: death by plane crash vs car accident). Domestic violence is more common than both. And both rape and domestic violence can escalate to murder.

These sayings aren't based on statistics, but on a general observation of *comparative* fears during interactions between men and women. Laughter versus physical violence: I don't think we need to quibble about the details to understand the intent of the phrases.
posted by harriet vane at 11:34 PM on July 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


It seemed to make sense to me to that rape would be the greater fear.

Oh my god. It's a novelist observing (and quipping) about the worst thing a woman can do to a man (laugh at him) and comparing and contrasting that with the worst thing a man can do to a woman (kill her).

It is not about statistically accurate reporting of what is or is not actually feared vs what should or should be really be feared.
posted by rtha at 5:35 AM on July 22, 2014 [12 favorites]


Is it me or is the quibbling over exactly what women are afraid of ("rape plus murder? or rape and not murder?") starting to sound like the Peoples' Front of Judea vs. the Judean People's Front?

Because both of them are a far sight worse than "being laughed at" no matter how you slice it. I would even say that murder is worse than a false rape accusation - because at least someone falsely accused of rape is alive, and thus is able to attempt to restore his reputation. A woman who's dead isn't able to do that, or anything else for that matter.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 AM on July 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


> I think you are referring to Margaret Atwood's,, "Men worry women will laugh at them, women worry men will kill them." But that's not a good analogy, of course, because men worry about other men killing them, too, and in fact men are more often victims of violent homicide.

This is ridiculous. I am a man and I have never worried about other men killing me (of course, as a conscientious objector I didn't go to Vietnam, where I certainly would have had such worries). And I'm pretty sure I'm not an outlier among the men I know and have known. Of course, that's a predominantly white, middle-class group; men who are poor and/or members of disfavored minorities are far more likely to have such worries. But that's precisely the point: such men worry because they are in situations that inspire rational fears of violence. All women live in that situation just by virtue of being women. Why is that simple point so hard to grasp?

I don't think you're a Bad Person, but you consistently say things on this and similar topics that get pretty much everyone mad at you. Only you can decide whether that's because you're a lone warrior for truth and justice and everyone else is confused or because you're looking at it from a skewed perspective and should maybe rethink your approach.
posted by languagehat at 6:38 AM on July 22, 2014 [16 favorites]


Why are you singling me out like this in this thread? Your comment feels unnecessarily harsh.

Because you're the only one who has insisted (twice) that the idea that women fear being killed by men is incorrect, thus implying that other women who say this are either mistaken or lying. You're the only one who has corrected this (twice) to what you claim is the truth, i.e., we "only" fear men raping or harassing us, but we don't fear men killing us.

It has twice been wrong, and it has twice been insulting.
posted by scody at 8:19 AM on July 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Women are much more likely to be raped than murdered. It seemed to make sense to me to that rape would be the greater fear. It is among the women I know, many of whom have also been raped.

And this is why I told you to get your fact straight. The circumstances under which men become homicide victims (in the U.S., at least) are overwhelmingly tied to drug- and/or gang-related activities; as languagehat points out (and which I was assuming would be an obvious inference to make, but apparently not), this does not translate to either a higher risk or a higher fear among men in general, regardless of the fact that men consisted of 77% of homicide victims between 1980 and 2008.

By contrast, the circumstances under which women become homicide victims are overwhelmingly tied to sexual assault, rape, and/or domestic violence; all women are at risk of being the victims of these crimes, so (again, by inference) the more generalized fear among women of being raped means that many women fear that these crimes could also end in their murder, regardless of the fact that more women are raped than murdered every year. In other words: Schroedinger's rapist might also turn out to be Schroedinger's murderer. We don't know.
posted by scody at 8:50 AM on July 22, 2014 [12 favorites]


Empress, I agree with you. The quibbling over this one thing is ridiculous and exhausting. I responded to a comment and my response was not a derail, it was on topic.

My lived experience is no less valid than any other person's in this thread. Nothing I have said here is untruthful or off-topic. People are (or should be) allowed to voice their opinions in a thread without being continuously attacked for them.

My mistake was attempting to engage rather than FIAMO.
posted by misha at 9:14 AM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


So, Stop Street Harassment has a 158 page report that came out after International Anti-Street Harassment Week last April.

If you're in the US and interested to see what (if anything) your area has been doing, you can begin with page 82 of the PDF and look for your state (they'd in alphabetical order). Or, you know, you can always check out what people all around the world are doing to combat harassment.
posted by misha at 9:26 AM on July 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Could you guys maybe clue me in to where this is happening online? Is there a place like Reddit's Red Pill but for women or something?

I can't believe I forgot to mention in my first response to this... have you not heard of the Women Against Feminism movement? Try Googling that.
posted by palomar at 4:22 PM on July 22, 2014


And there is in fact a subreddit: r/RedPillWomen

It's very tightly moderated, so dissenting points-of-view tend to be removed unless they are perceived as friendly to the cause. It will be a challenging read for anyone who thinks women shouldn't be allowed the full dynamic range of views and expression of those views, including views that run contrary to feminism.

I am not a red pill woman; just stating that caveat as a casual observer of that forum.
posted by nacho fries at 7:27 PM on July 22, 2014


It will be a challenging read for anyone who thinks women shouldn't be allowed the full dynamic range of views and expression of those views, including views that run contrary to feminism.

Women can be wrong, too.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:03 PM on July 23, 2014


And?
posted by nacho fries at 6:03 PM on July 23, 2014


... and in this case, they are? That seems implicit.

(Although, as Vice points out, a lot of these women seem to have an odd idea of what feminism is, and also surprising problems with opening jars.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:11 PM on July 23, 2014


I'd love to know what they think we man-hating feminists do about the Jar Problem. Do they think we don't use anything that comes in jars? Or that we just smash them open with hammers? Maybe they think we employ jar boys (the feminist version of shabbos goys). Does it have something to do with ketchup bottles? INQUIRING MAN-HATERS WANT TO KNOW
posted by scody at 7:38 PM on July 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


Jar boys.

Jar... Boys.

Okay then.
posted by zarq at 7:50 PM on July 23, 2014


Personally, I use my powerful testicle-crushing mandibles to open jars.
posted by desjardins at 7:55 PM on July 23, 2014 [7 favorites]




It is possible to be an outspoken feminist while having masochistic sexual fantasies and valuing the usefulness of stronger people such as men to open jars and deal with heavy shit.

The problem is that many people, especially young people, see feminism as a monolithic belief system like Catholocism or communism which you must either take wholesale or be condemned by as a heretic. And a lot of that impression has been created by bona fide batshit crazy people who have been taken seriously by the movement consensus. (*cough* Dworkin *cough*)

My wife made more money than I did for quite a few years by writing pornographic fantasies for letters magazines. She was always quite pissed that people she was supposed to admire considered her some kind of $EPITHET for this. Every year that MS magazine was in print they got a subscription check from us (and I mean us, I found it worth reading too). But you can't expect her to contribute to your PAC when you're campaigning to make her livelihood illegal and marginalize her sexuality.

You know how young people seem to be more OK with LGBT sexuality? Well, they're more OK with deviant sexuality in general, and they don't want to hear how wrong it is that E.L. James' prose pushes their buttons in a way they like. They don't want to hear how people are somehow exploiting them by doing nice things they like. They don't believe gays are bad but they also don't believe porn is bad or that prostitution is bad because they don't think either is rape, just like they don't think marijuana should be a Schedule I drug. And if you tell them they can't have your movement without putting aside those heresies, they just won't have your movement.

My wife will be with you for the most part, because she remembers abortion really being illegal. But it's always easier to see the present than the past, and always easier to see the shit than the shinola. And the young people don't really remember how bad it was and how much has been accomplished. In this moment today the reality of me opening a jar is much clearer than that of maybe dying in an illegal back-alley abortion. Maybe the feminist movement should make it clearer which is really important. IME they have done a very poor job of that since 1985 or so when the antiporn nuts infiltrated and nothing has been quite right since.
posted by localroger at 8:11 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, in advance: You're welcome for mansplaining that.
posted by localroger at 8:12 PM on July 23, 2014


[Folks, it seems like maybe we are getting sort of far afield from the harassment thing?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:18 PM on July 23, 2014


LM maybe we should go back to how she is setting herself up for the mother of all lawsuits by not just taking the pictures (legal grey area mitigated by the guys being acting-out dicks) but publishing them on the internet (Does she have model releases? That's pretty clear-cut).

That's not about feminism either, but everyone acted like it was when I brought it up upthread. And really, that's the problem. It isn't always about feminism.
posted by localroger at 8:26 PM on July 23, 2014


[localroger, you've previously made your points about surveillance/legality at some length; that doesn't seem like a good reason to now add to a further derail (which is not just you) that seems to be turning into an absurdly-broad "anything about any version of feminism" thing. I'm saying maybe we can reel it back somewhat here.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:34 PM on July 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


Well LM I bowed out before despite the derail sputtering on and I will do so now, except to point out: Maybe this keeps happening for a reason. Ciao.
posted by localroger at 8:41 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


The problem is that many people, especially young people, see feminism as a monolithic belief system like Catholocism or communism which you must either take wholesale or be condemned by as a heretic. And a lot of that impression has been created by bona fide batshit crazy people who have been taken seriously by the movement consensus. (*cough* Dworkin *cough*)

I attribute that kind of "feminists are all like this amirite" attitude more to feminism's detractors, personally.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:00 PM on July 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


Andrea Dworkin has been dead for nearly a decade and hasn't been a household name (such as she ever was) for at least two decades. Claiming that she's been the primary influence on the perception of feminism for people under the age of 30 is sheer nonsense.
posted by scody at 11:16 PM on July 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


bona fide batshit crazy people

Is this how you seek to discredit those you disagree with -- by pulling the crazy-card? It is extremely tiresome. It's also intellectually flaccid. If you want to dispute a writer's actual work -- the words they wrote -- that's one thing, but to pathologize them just because you don't agree with their opinions and theories...eh. Not cool.

It's also super uncool to use slurs against the mentally ill in this forum.
posted by nacho fries at 12:31 AM on July 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


It occurs to me that if any of these gentlemen actually take a moment to visit the website listed on the card, they will be presented with enough information to contact Lindsey and ask that she please remove the video of them.

I truly and sincerely doubt that she'd say no if specifically asked.

At each interaction, she's giving these guys the tools to learn that they've been filmed and also do something about it. If they decide to just bin the piece of paper that the uppity slut bitch gave them, well, that's on them.
posted by phunniemee at 4:23 AM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Andrea Dworkin is awesome and I wish she were still alive so we could be buds.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:34 AM on July 24, 2014


As much as I'd love to rhetorically level the whole "self-righteous dude feels the need to tell all us internet dummies that feminism has been Doing It Wrong for thirty years" thing bit by hilarious bit, I can just let it slide with ease, because the Straw Feminists are already on the case!

We just want to tell you that all men are garbage, and women are never wrong.
posted by divined by radio at 6:46 AM on July 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


It occurs to me that if any of these gentlemen actually take a moment to visit the website listed on the card, they will be presented with enough information to contact Lindsey and ask that she please remove the video of them.

There is indeed an email address on the site, although no automated removal mechanism or instructions for removal. And she has apparently been contacted by the guy in the "Minnesota chicks are hot" video, and the fact that it's still up suggests that, actually, she's OK with leaving the content up even if its subject wants it taken down (which actually feels ethically better to me, in a way, although I guess in the long term it favors ultimately people with the savvy and resources to throw the amount of legal shade it usually takes to get a video taken down - but that's just capitalism for you).

But! Switchbacking away from that concern, somewhat, there's a subset of the "public shaming" argument that got a bit lost in the apparently now concluded head-emptying session upthread about the laws of public videography, which is the race question. Cribcage raised the concern here:
Third, and most striking to me, was whom she's confronting and how. We might be talking about her vulnerability, but I'm watching those videos and I'm seeing and hearing some other obvious differentials. Someone else inferred my point here and suggested that I watch the fourth video...and no, having watched that one, I'm more convinced. Without #4 you can argue, well, walking around the Harvard campus isn't her experience, this is her experience, and she can't help its makeup. But #4 underlines it for me. She was much more thorough about blurring his face. It's conspicuous.
The argument being made here is that "Lindsey" is confronting more black men than white, and taking more care to blur out white faces than black faces, and thus that she is a racist.

(Although "confronting" is an interesting way to put this, since she might more correctly be said to be reacting to people. I guess it's possible that she is ignoring lots of harassment by white men, but it's a hypothesis.)

I haven't frame-by-framed the videos to see if that checks out, but looking at the top of the page containing the videos provides more info about the anonymizing process:
Although I use Youtube's face-blurring option, it is an imperfect and imprecise tool and I have no control over which videos blur better than others.
This is interesting, not least because it suggests that YouTube is racist - or more correctly that YouTube's algorithms are better at recognizing white people's faces, which certainly does not seem totally impossible. I guess one could argue that it is remiss of her not to learn enough video editing to blur the images frame by frame herself, and take the time to do so, but I think the response would probably be that she is not actually that interested in doing more than the minimum, here, when her time would be better spent on other tasks than protecting the feelings of street harassers.

The article linked to by jaguar, above, is interesting reading on the broader issues around this question, but "Lindsey" also addresses the issue directly.
The short answer is: I'm not targeting anyone. The videos have been filmed in the past weeks on my daily commute: from my home to my bus stop, from my bus stop to my office, and back at the end of the day. I do not go into particular areas of the city on a "sting" operation and I do not selectively film some people more than others. For purposes of my documentation, I have been filming my commutes to and from work, and if street harassment happens it results in a video that gets shared. I have not initiated contact with any of the people in my videos, or sought them out in any way, nor do I let certain people off the hook more than others based on their appearance or race.

That said, I am cognizant that we live in a world that is extremely hostile towards black men and am very troubled that some will watch my videos and draw prejudiced conclusions from them. The continuing vice of racism is that if I had a dozen videos of white men catcalling, it would just be considered a "male" problem, but if people see a dozen videos of black men catcalling, they somehow think it depicts a "black male" problem. It doesn't. Wider data on street harassment shows those kinds of generalizations are baseless. In fact, the data I have seen on street harassment makes clear that there is only ONE appropriate racial generalization that can ever be made, and it's that women of color experience street harassment far more (and more severely) than anyone, from men of all races. I cannot make videos that tell other peoples' stories but I will be looking for ways to share/promote other women's voices to help broaden the pool of experiences shown.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:48 AM on July 24, 2014


I think it's worth recognizing that one's intent may not be racist but the effect of one's actions may still be. I believe that she's not targeting black men, but if she ends up with a disproportionate number of videos posted of black men harassing her, then she's certainly (intentionally or not) supporting the idea that it's mainly black men who harass white women. I do hope she works consciously (as she says she will) to make sure that's not the message she's sending.
posted by jaguar at 7:04 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, absolutely - if the society you are living in is deeply racist, trying to deal with that racism is going to be a constant issue, and individuals may not be best equipped to detect it and respond appropriately.

I mean, the YouTube blurring question is an interesting one for exactly that reason. How was that algorithm trained? What is it programmed to look out for? Were its initial tests run on video of YouTube/Google employees? Was a test group compiled from other people living around YouTube's HQ in Santa Bruno (median house price $719,000, African-American population about 2%), or Google's HQ in Mountain View (median house price $1.1 million, similar African-American population)?

And, confronted with a one-click algorithm that blurs out faces, if it turns out that it is better at detecting and blurring out white faces - and we've seen this issue in facial recognition algorithms built in Silicon Valley before - then what is Lindsey's obligation in response to that? What duty of care does she owe the harassers, and/or the broader community? How about if she was doing this in 2011, when YouTube had no automagical face blurring button at all?

It's an interesting question, but absent a deeper look I think simply saying that she is racist in her target selection and presentation is kind of throwing mud at the woman and seeing what sticks.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:22 AM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


(We can assume, I think, that any level of face-blurring would be inadequate to defuse the "public shaming" claim, because we've seen that no level of anonymization is enough to stop that claim: there is always some way that a man could possibly be identified and shamed if a woman draws any attention to his behavior at all. But there are questions about how responsible someone is for the conclusions people might draw, and possible response - like removing the video altogether, or providing transcripts instead of audio and so on... what's a good use of time and resource?)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:42 AM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is why I never go anywhere without a can of spraypaint and a stencil that says I HARASS WOMEN so that I can appropriately tag any offenders in the most equitable way possible.

Kind of like Inglourious Basterds except without all the forehead gore.
posted by phunniemee at 7:52 AM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's an interesting question, but absent a deeper look I think simply saying that she is racist in her target selection and presentation is kind of throwing mud at the woman and seeing what sticks.

I agree with this. It's an uncomfortable distinction to be sure, but if she's getting a lot of black people harassing her it would be a crying shame to not forge ahead with the project until she got an appropriate number of white/Asian people/Hispanic people.

Also the way some of the guys try to call her out on it "oh when a black man says..." is really ugly.
posted by sweetkid at 8:07 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Kind of like Inglourious Basterds except without all the forehead gore.

This may just be your masterpiece.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:08 AM on July 24, 2014


On the race issue: my experience of street harassment has been that white guys tend to do it more when they are in a pack (a pack being two or more men), or from the safety of their car. Specific examples I've seen recently: a group of guys sitting at an outdoor table at a pub, holding up rating cards as women walked by, and adding their own editorial comments about the women's various physical attributes. Similar example: three guys sitting on a wall next to the bike bath, holding up hand-written signs. Examples that happened to me directly: group of guys in a SUV idling at a stoplight, me waiting to cross the street on foot, them giving me the hairy eyeball but keeping their lips zipped, they wait till the light changes and then offer their unsolicited opinions about the configuration of my backside as they drive off. Or, me being out with a group of male coworkers for lunch, outdoor patio dining, and the guys take it upon themselves to hurr-hurr-hurr-girrrl make comments about women passersby (I shut it down, but still). I'd never seen any of these same guys hassle women when they (the guys) were rolling solo. Only in a pack.

It may be that there is some sort of class thing here too -- perhaps a person on foot is more likely to encounter someone who isn't white, hence the videotaped comments will be representative of the on-the-street demographics. This I think is true of my city to some extent, but it might not be true of other cities.
posted by nacho fries at 10:27 AM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Just this morning riding the elevator up to work. One guy sharing the elevator with me, and I asked him a question. He brazenly stared at my tits for a solid ten seconds, not even pretending to hide it, while answering. When I shifted my shoulders, he looked up at the ceiling for a second and then immediately back down at my chest. Didn't look me in the face even once.

Odds are good given the floor he got off on that he is a very, very well compensated (white) trader.

There is no demographic of men that doesn't do this kind of thing.
posted by phunniemee at 10:40 AM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Most of the people who have catcalled me have been black, but that doesn't mean I think catcalling is a black man's problem or that black men do it more often based on my anecdata or white men don't do it. If see/meet a black man I don't have the expectation at all that he will catcall me automatically. I guess that's where I see the distinction.
posted by sweetkid at 10:46 AM on July 24, 2014


It may be that there is some sort of class thing here too -- perhaps a person on foot is more likely to encounter someone who isn't white, hence the videotaped comments will be representative of the on-the-street demographics. This I think is true of my city to some extent, but it might not be true of other cities.

In NYC pretty much everyone's on the street regardless of class. so I don't see it as much a matter of class here. In cabs drivers ask me to go to dinner and weird stuff like that. It would be nice to just be left alone more often. Really nice.
posted by sweetkid at 10:48 AM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Shoot, I think I had an instance where a Hasid tried to pick me up on the street.

I mean, compared to other street harrassment it was ridiculously polite, and it actually took my telling an account of the incident to a Jewish friend and having him say "You know he was trying to pick you up, right?" for me to realize that was what had happened, but...yeah. It takes all kinds.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:30 PM on July 24, 2014


LM maybe we should go back to how she is setting herself up for the mother of all lawsuits by not just taking the pictures (legal grey area mitigated by the guys being acting-out dicks) but publishing them on the internet (Does she have model releases? That's pretty clear-cut).

What? There is no legal grey area. They are in public, they are speaking to her by their own volition, and Minnesota is a one-party recording state. You don't need model releases to film people in public for a non-commercial venture. I'm not even sure if you do for commercial ventures, or every person in the background of every news story would have to sign a release, right? Also, there is no defamation case, she's not asserting anything untrue about them.
posted by desjardins at 12:30 PM on July 24, 2014


shhhh don't invoke the filming-in-public issue again we've moved on it's like if you say "voldemort" at this point
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:31 PM on July 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Sorry. We'll pretend it didn't happen.

I think this thread jinxed me because I almost never get cat-called (too boyish and too old, I'd imagine) but yesterday someone yelled at me from his car as I was walking to mine. Nothing threatening, and it was in broad daylight with plenty of people around, but it was really jarring and I can't imagine dealing with that all the time.
posted by desjardins at 12:46 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


publishing them on the internet (Does she have model releases? That's pretty clear-cut).
Q: How do I know when I need a model release?
A: The answer to this question can be reached by asking a series of questions about the subject and the use of the photograph. A model release is needed from each person whose likeness appears in a photograph that is used for advertising or trade (business) purposes when the person is identifiable. Look at the photograph and the person(s) in it and ask these questions:

1. Could the person in the photograph be recognized by anyone? Be warned: It is very easy for a person to show in court that he or she is recognizable.

If the answer to question #1 is No, then you do not need a release.

2. Is the photograph to be used for an advertisement? (In law, “advertisement” is broadly defined.)

3. Is the photograph going to be used for commercial business purposes, like a brochure, calendar, poster, web site or other use that is intended to enhance a business interest?

If the answers to question #2 and question #3 are both No, then you do not need a release.
posted by scody at 1:36 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


It would be nice to just be left alone more often. Really nice.

I have a lot of respect for women in NYC (and other cities of its ilk) for what sounds like really incredible resilience in the face of 24/7 everywhere-anytime potential for getting hassled. In my car-centric city, I at least have the option of cocooning myself in my vehicle, parking close to my destination (ex: parking on the same level in the parking structure attached to my destination so I don't need to take the elevator/stairs), and decreasing the amount of time and distance I spend in the presence of potential creepazoids.

I thought I was so clever to do just this when I went to my doctor's appointment recently. Parked on his floor, walked into the waiting room, whew...made it without getting hassled. Except then some guy in the waiting room thought he was being "cute" and amusing by making sexualized comments to all the women waiting. Keep in mind this is a skin cancer doctor's office, and all of us women in there were there to get something potentially scary dealt with, and were just trying to be cool and calm, and here comes Mr. Middle Aged Well-Dressed White Guy with the gross comments. Which he also directed at the doctor's staff as he was (mercifully quickly) led away from the waiting room before my jaw had a chance to unhinge and bite his face off, verbally.

Just when you think it's safe...

Anyway, props to you NYC et al peeps. Your world sounds like mine but magnified many times over.
posted by nacho fries at 1:59 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well since Scody kicked Voldemort again, I'll point out that under that broad definition of "advertising" Lindsey is very clearly on the wrong side of a line. These aren't just her holiday snaps that just hapepn to have a person in it that she put up on her personal face book page. She's publishing these things to encourage a clearly stated political outcome.

Anyway, on the old staircase I finally realized what it was that was making me feel so unconfortable about this project. And of course, it's that another situation where a bunch of people think it's morally proper to walk up to and step over this line is outside of abortion clinics.
posted by localroger at 6:11 PM on July 24, 2014


I am astonished that you cannot tell the difference between people walking down the street/into a place of business while not talking to or bothering anyone else at all, and people actively harassing those people.
posted by rtha at 6:16 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am astonished that you cannot tell the difference between people walking down the street/into a place of business while not talking to or bothering anyone else at all, and people actively harassing those people.

Did you even look at the article I linked? To the law, and to the people taking the pictures, there is no difference at all. The abortion nuts think they are documenting MURDERS COMMITTED RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM !!!111!1!! They would probably tell you that Lindsey's little problem with the catcallers is NUISANCE111!!1 by comparison. And the law has not worked this out so far in a way that looks good for Lindsey.

That is probably not how it should be, but that's how it is. "Offense" is a nebulous thing and it's very hard to justify an illegal response to an offensive act which is not itself actually illegal.

I really don't get how so many people here don't understand that the way this has been interpreted so far protects women in general in far more situations than the specific project Lindsey is running.

It is typical of how these threads go that I came here with an objection based on long experience in an unrelated field to say there is a problem, and a bunch of people jumped on me for being against Lindsey and antifeminist. No, there is a problem here that has nothing to do with Lindsey's specific project or feminism at all. If what she's doing is in fact legal it establishes a precedent you really don't want established for a lot of other much more important reasons.

Anyway fuck Voldemort, I'm done. If you don't get it by now you just don't want to.
posted by localroger at 6:25 PM on July 24, 2014


Anyway fuck Voldemort, I'm done.

How many times has it been that you've flounced out of this one thread now?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Two and a half, plus or minus a half. Best of intentions and all that jazz.
posted by localroger at 6:31 PM on July 24, 2014


If you honestly didn't get that that was a dig then I would question whether WE'RE the ones that "aren't getting it"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 PM on July 24, 2014


It is typical of how these threads go that I came here with an objection based on long experience in an unrelated field to say there is a problem, and a bunch of people jumped on me for being against Lindsey and antifeminist.

Actually, mainly for not knowing what you're talking about. The fact that you are still talking about this as a "precedent" makes it very clear that you do not in fact know how either the specific law in this kind of case, or law in the US in general, operates.

The fact that you kept talking about photographs makes it clear that you have not visited her site, or even carefully read the OP.

The one useful takeout here is that, in future, if you tell a moderator that you are leaving a thread, that moderator should assume that you are not telling the truth and act accordingly.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:34 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


She's publishing these things to encourage a clearly stated political outcome.

You keep claiming that she is required to get model releases. But what she is doing does not meet the requirements for model releases in the United States. (There are more restrictive laws being implemented in places like France and Hungary that might actually apply to something similar in those countries, but they do not apply here.) You can keep insisting otherwise, but it won't make it true.

"Offense" is a nebulous thing and it's very hard to justify an illegal response to an offensive act which is not itself actually illegal.

This isn't about nebulous conclusions of what might or might not be offensive. Many forms of harassment are actually themselves illegal. Having our bodies grabbed or fondled on public transportation, for example, is assault. Being told that someone would like to take you back into an alley to fuck you is a rape threat. The fact that it's been normalized for women to have to endure this sort of shit, day in and day out, doesn't alter that.

Anyway fuck Voldemort, I'm done.

Is this something I would have to read Harry Potter to understand?
posted by scody at 6:36 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Additionally, I'm not clear what your "long experience in an unrelated field" is, but it doesn't seem like it brought you in contact with the broader legal and historical issues surrounding photography, privacy, and public spaces. Your contention upthread that "being photographed when you aren't aware of the recording and without permission and having those photos published without your permission is, in nearly all circumstances, a bad and dangerous thing", if put into practice, would render much of the past 150 years of street photography, documentary photography, and photojournalism illegal.
posted by scody at 6:48 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


The fact that it's been normalized for women to have to endure this sort of shit, day in and day out, doesn't alter that.

In Minnesota, as an aside, the use of obscene, abusive or offensive language in a context where the user knows (or should know) that it will cause offense, resentment or a violent response is disorderly conduct - so, a huge swathe of harassing behaviors can already probably be interpreted as misdemeanors.

(I think, if memory serves, the model penal code mentions coarse or obscene utterance or gesture and abusive language as being disorderly conduct. You'd probably have to do it for a long time actually to get arrested, but much street harassment is pretty clearly an infraction in those terms.)

"Lindsey" specifically addresses the question of whether the wants to see street harassment criminalized, and highlights that many forms of harassment are already criminal, but that widening that net would probably just result in the police and justice system disproportionately using those new powers against poor and ethnic minority men, so she feels the best way to challenge harassment is to effect social and cultural change.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:55 PM on July 24, 2014


Yes, it's not as if Lindsey is putting up these men's photos, unblurred, with names and addresses or anything. You'd pretty much already have to have a really good idea who someone was in order to recognize his voice and mannerisms from one of the videos and say to yourself, "Hey, that guy's Bingo Little! I work with him," or whatever.

Let's face it, if old Bingo's out there on the street openly catcalling women, he's already left himself wide open for that kind of exposure, anyway.
posted by misha at 7:27 PM on July 24, 2014


Did you even look at the article I linked?

I can't, because it's paywalled.

Is it about publishing the names and addresses of people photographed, and not blurring faces? Because Lindsay is not doing any of that.
posted by rtha at 7:45 PM on July 24, 2014


I mean, here's the thing, localroger. It's not that I don't understand your point. It's that I disagree with you, and I am trying and failing to come up with a way you could rephrase for the umpteenth time that would make me go "OH! You're right! What she's doing is just as bad as what [people I don't like] do!"
posted by rtha at 7:51 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


rtha: What she is doing is not JUST AS BAD as anything. It's that if what she is doing is legal, then other stuff you would like a whole lot less is just as, and probably a lot more, legal, and that is probably a thing you do not want.

And sorry about the WSJ paywall clusterfuck, I GOOG'd it and did not realize it was an issue. That is unfortunately the best article I can find about the worst downside of this thing.

OOOOOUuuuuuttttt.......
posted by localroger at 8:10 PM on July 24, 2014


The case cited in that WSJ article was actually about medical records, for anyone trying to keep track.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:23 PM on July 24, 2014


it's not as if Lindsey is putting up these men's photos, unblurred

If we remove the names-and-addresses goalpost (where did that come from?), that's exactly what she did in four of the five videos. Not all five.
posted by cribcage at 8:26 PM on July 24, 2014


It's that if what she is doing is legal, then other stuff you would like a whole lot less is just as, and probably a lot more, legal, and that is probably a thing you do not want.

That is not automatically true, and you have offered no evidence for it, other than your personal opinions. We understand you think it's true; we disagree.
posted by jaguar at 10:36 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Once again folks, please drop the localroger vs everyone thing. Everyone's said what they want to say, so, please, just leave it be and get back to the wider discussion.]
posted by taz at 4:29 AM on July 25, 2014


#notallfivemen?
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:42 AM on July 25, 2014


It's been observed that "white guys" are more likely to do this kind of thing if they're in a group. I wonder if it's not more of a class thing than a race thing? As in, middle-class guys have been socialized that this is rude, so they need a cluster of other guys around as "cover" so they can get away with it, and lower-class guys just never got the memo that this behavior was rude.

Which makes the catcalls from middle-class guys worse - they know it's rude but do it anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on July 25, 2014


Don't underestimate the pressure to dick-swing in homosocial groups. It may not be 'cover' but the pressure to show the other dudes around you what a hetero virile man you are.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:49 AM on July 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think there is an element of male in-group preening and pecking-order behavior in the group-context harassment. My observations were that the guys were performing for each other -- they would look back and forth to each other ("Did you see what I just said there? Did you hear that?") to gauge reaction.

In the example I gave of the work lunch, the harassing behavior was instigated by the male supervisor who had organized the lunch for the group. He was senior to the rest of the men by about 20 years, sat at the head of the table nearest the sidewalk where the women were passing by, and was the first to make a comment. His younger subordinates followed his lead. (I'd had meals out with some of these same men in the past, and they didn't act out.) I do recall that a few of the guys at the table didn't participate and looked extremely uncomfortable about the whole thing. The peer pressure was very apparent.

To any men reading along: had you been at our table, I would have been so impressed and relieved if you had been the one to say something. I handled it, and would do it again in a heartbeat, but goddamn if it wouldn't be nice to have some backup from the fellas.
posted by nacho fries at 7:06 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


So wait, nacho - this was a situation where one of your supervisors had you and a bunch of other guys out together? And the supervisor started the catcalling?

I wonder if a word with H.R. would be in order, depending on your company's sexual harassment policy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:16 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


HR at that particular company was worthless. The head of HR (a woman) would regularly behave in very inappropriate, sexualized ways toward men in the office. She also organized a more or less mandatory work lunch for all the women in the office to celebrate another HR woman's pregnancy. And she hired a male stripper to "entertain" us at that lunch. (The male stripper picked up the head of HR and swung her around over his shoulders, which I have to admit was entertaining.) Head of HR was one of the original employees (it was a startup that went big), was the CEO's right hand woman, and was palsie-walsies with the company's in-house legal counsel. It was a sick system.

I left the company not long after both of those incidents. Cashed out my stock options, gave notice, had an "interesting" exit interview with HR.
posted by nacho fries at 7:25 AM on July 25, 2014


I freely admit that when it comes to situations like this I can be vindictive as all hell. But this is the kind of thing that would spur me to say all sorts of interesting things about the company on social media the next time it comes up in the news or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:42 AM on July 25, 2014


Yes, Empress, but that's something you don't want to do when you're young and starting out and can't afford to burn bridges. You don't want to look like you aren't a "team player'. You don't want a reputation as a troublemaker who couldn't get along with everyone. So you don't say anything openly, you just keep your head down and, if you can and the job market is good, look for work somewhere else. And that's how this culture of harassment thrives, in the shadows.
posted by misha at 7:52 AM on July 25, 2014


Heh, no worries about them skipping off into the sunset unpunished. They hung themselves by their own petard, with a little outside help involving a certain former employee with world-class sleuthing skills and some "coincidental" SEC intervention. 'Nuff said.
posted by nacho fries at 7:54 AM on July 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh very good, then. (And why does it not surprise me that this sounds like it was a finance operation?)

And Misha - honestly, I've never taken the "but it'll harm your reputation if you speak out" advice to heart, because (and honestly, there's an XKCD for everything) fuck. that. shit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:56 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


To any men reading along: had you been at our table, I would have been so impressed and relieved if you had been the one to say something. I handled it, and would do it again in a heartbeat, but goddamn if it wouldn't be nice to have some backup from the fellas.

I'll be honest that while it's easy to shut down a guy who is making comments to women, it's a lot harder to stop someone making comments about women -- it's a different social dynamic with very differently understood rules and boundaries. The situation you describe is clearly not ok and from the sounds of it I hope I would either have said "not cool" or simply redirected, but more sophisticated jerks know to keep their voices down and maintain just the right level of deniability, making shutting it down much more complex.

Done carefully, that kind of commenting is like the microaggressions that have been discussed before -- there is nothing specific to point to and yet an overall pattern that is unmistakable.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:03 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sophisticated jerks are my least favorite flavor of jerk.

I worked at a different company that actually had really great sexual harassment policies and training in place -- the guys there were super respectful, and there was never a glimmer of bad behavior that I witnessed or experienced in the office. It was a top-down culture that valued diversity and respect in the workplace -- very impressive.

And yet:

On breaks, when people would migrate outdoors to grab a bite from a food truck that showed up in the parking lot, I noticed that there were three guys who always stood in a certain spot, and I wondered why they would stand there, in the broiling sun, when there was a perfectly shady place to stand or sit nearby. I got really curious. I noticed that where they stood put them in the perfect viewing point to watch people walk down the narrow stairs, and to watch people while they stood in line at the food truck. The guys had on dark sunglasses. I noticed that there would be a subtle shift in the tone of their conversation when women were doing that sort of side-step thing in high heels down the stairs en route to the food truck. The men didn't say anything; they didn't head-swivel (didn't need to -- their eyes were already facing the right direction, "innocently" overlooking the food truck). But the tone and timber of their voices would shift.

It may seem odd that a woman would spend so much time analyzing and dissecting relatively benign behavior, but a lifetime of running the gauntlet of the male gaze will do that to a gal.

Sort of pertinent to the original topic: that company had security cameras everywhere, and they made it known that they did. While the cameras weren't there specifically to capture harassing behavior, I do think in some ways the panopticon may have reinforced good behavior. When you know someone is always watching -- or better yet, when you never know quite when someone is actually watching, but know that they may be -- you keep your nose clean. (Foucault had lots of interesting things to say about the latter dynamic.)
posted by nacho fries at 8:23 AM on July 25, 2014


> I've never taken the "but it'll harm your reputation if you speak out" advice to heart, because (and honestly, there's an XKCD for everything) fuck. that. shit.

That's an easy attitude to admire and aspire to, but very difficult to put into practice. That's one of the many insightful points made brilliantly in Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice, which I'm reading now thanks to this thread. Doing the right thing is hard.
posted by languagehat at 8:24 AM on July 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's why I admitted that this is just something I'm prone to, and definitely is a foolhardiness that'd make me speak out, rather than courage - a blind-rage sort of "oh no you DIDN'T" kind of moment. And I very well could have shot myself in the foot if I really had to have done something like this. (Fortunately, the one time I had to lay a smackdown on someone in a work situation, it was more about a producer who was flaunting theater union rules all over the damn place, culminating in not having taken out a worker's comp policy, and all I had to do was write the union a letter - and they took that shit REALLY seriously and that guy will never produce in this town again. Heh.)

I don't see any reason to train myself out of that, though, is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:33 AM on July 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


That might explain our different perspectives, Empress. I live in the Southeast, and we do not have a strong union presence here. Workers have it tough enough without being seen as that person who cannot get along with others.
posted by misha at 12:42 PM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


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