October 29, 2014

THAT CATCALLING VIDEO: It’s a racist production about white women not wanting attention from black and Latino men. “The video also unintentionally makes another point, that harassers are mostly black and Latino, and hanging out on the streets in midday in clothes that suggest they are not on their lunch break. As Roxane Gay tweeted, ‘The racial politics of the video are fucked up. Like, she didn’t walk through any white neighborhoods?'”

Maybe she did.

UPDATE: Catcalls And The Death Of Chivalry.

After a brief search on social media, the video was being shared by several flamboyantly contrite men and enraged women. “Wow! I guess men still don’t get it.” “Men are disgusting animals.” “All you men should be ashamed of yourselves.”

I didn’t have the slightest shame watching the video, nor should any male with whom I associate. We don’t catcall. Of course some guys are boors as are some women. I don’t need a video to prove that human nature is a thing.

In the young woman’s 10-hour stroll through New York City, the video shows 20 incidents of harassment (two per hour), while text at the conclusion alleges more than 100. Some of the behavior is downright creepy while much isn’t disturbing at all.

Apologies to the video editor, but “how you doing today,” “how are you this morning,” and “have a nice evening” hardly count as harassment. If they do, I’m violated by polite tourists, panhandlers, and assertive shopkeepers every time I stroll along a busy city street.

All gentlemen agree that catcalling is a bad thing. In fact patriarchal Victorians were so disgusted by such rudeness, they enforced an elaborate public morality that elevated women with a higher level of respect. Thank goodness feminism and secularism drove a stake through chivalry’s heart.

Chivalry was a system, which imposed behavioral obligations on both women and men. Women found those obligations too onerous, but still expect men to shoulder them.

And let’s be honest. What makes these catcalls offensive isn’t that they come from men. It’s that they come from low-status men. Like an unconsented kiss from President Obama, if the catcalls came from George Clooney there’d be much less female outrage.

In fact, maybe these catcalls are a way of striking back at privilege. Any grievance-studies major should be able to flesh out this line of thought . . . .

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