War Zone

It’s after Labor Day, so the worst of holler season is over. But when my friend Jeanne tipped me off to this documentary, I had to share. In War Zone, a woman with a video camera directly confronts men who harass her on the street. (It was made in 1998 — think of it as kind of a precursor to Holla Back.)

What’s fascinating to me is that many of these men don’t even seem to have a reason for cat-calling. It’s just something they do reflexively. And when she asks them to repeat their harassment directly to her face, it’s clear that many of them are embarrassed.

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90 Comments

  1. Gesyckah
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Thank you FrumiousB! Let’s be more honest about this. It seems that men catcall women no matter where they are or what women wear. Is it so absurd to take clothing out of the picture? Were cavemen walking around with boners all of the time because cavewomen weren’t wearing clothes? Clothing isn’t “natural” and neither is catcalling.

  2. sushi
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Right well that’s obviously well beyond your average cat-calling incident, and I’m sure I’d have been frightened, as well. But, and perhaps I am being naive (but I really don’t think so) men that will get aggressive really are in the minority.
    My motto is be prepared, not scared.
    Buy mace and take karate.
    Then just live your life.

  3. JesiDangerously
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    You’re right, something like that won’t happen every time a guy decides to cat-call a woman. But you can see why we feel threatened when they do something as simple as waving. Because if the gesture is not returned, they can turn violent. And often times in the gesture is returned, their persistence is almost violent.

  4. blucheezz
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    When she said she was making a movie about sexual harassment to the guy with the shades, he said “I don’t harass them, I just look at them. I don’t say nutin’… freedom of sight.” I didn’t think that was evasive.
    She asked another guy “And what’s the message you’re trying to give to women when you check them out?”
    “The message?” he says, “Hello. You either look good or you don’t.” He was sheepish when she asked him to rate her, but I thought he was honest.
    I don’t see why a man should be expected to only look at a woman’s breasts in passing or accidentally. You end up with the the “Sex is Everywhere” speech from Roger Dodger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sXvxpxibhs

  5. JesiDangerously
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know then. Maybe the way that they were looking at her was enough to make her feel uncomfortable. I do not wear revealing clothing, am a naturally modest gal. But I have large breasts, especially for a small girl like myself. Anytime I catch someone looking at them, I feel very self-conscious, and often rather uncomfortable. Being gawked at doesn’t help my body issues one bit.

  6. sushi
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    How about smiling or a simple nod? Does that make you feel threatened? Would you feel better/safer if men just didn’t acknowledge women at all anymore?
    I’m not being sarcastic or bitchy, I’m honestly asking if that’s what you the other women here would prefer?

  7. JesiDangerously
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I live in Texas, and it’s true, we’re all ridiculously friendly. Most times if a person smiles or nods at me, if I notice it, I’ll return it. I’ve got no problem making small talk with strangers, or letting them hold the door open for me, etc. I do have a severe problem with strangers who attempt to flirt with me. I am not a flirtatious person, and do not need to be told by a stranger that I look “good.”
    There are situations where being complimented for your looks is fine, like the other day when an elderly man stopped me and my mom in a store to tell me that he thought I dressed very well and looked very nice. He wasn’t being creepy, just sincerely saying that he didn’t see many young ladies dress like that anymore. I’m fine with that, since I don’t think he intended to imply anything negative. And I get that sort of thing from women all the time, so I know it’s a gender neutral comment.

  8. llevinso
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    You just don’t listen.
    Forget the fact that a smile, as some have pointed out, could be seen as an invitation to further conversation or harrassment. Forget that then a woman would be seen as encouraging said behavior by someone like, say you for example. Forget all that silliness *eye roll*
    How about we don’t need to give them a smile or a wave because WE OWE THEM NOTHING! Our bodies don’t belong to them. They are not their for their approval or whatever. They don’t own us. They don’t deserve our acknowledgment and we don’t need to give it to them if we don’t want to. OUR BODIES ARE OUR OWN!

  9. fatima
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    sexual harassment is sexual harassment. and i fuckign stand up against it no matter WHO does it.
    and fyi just because im queer doesnt mean im a man-hater…or that i think that only men are capable of abuse or misogyny. im a lot fucking smarter than that.

  10. fatima
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    okay wow. first of all, i said im queer – not gay.
    second – you dont know anything about my upbringing so you’re snarky comment re: what i was allowed/not allowed to wear growing up, is fucked up and just ignorant.
    and finally – are you suggesting that i should cover my body (even if it means taht i dont feel comfortable in it) as a response/resistance to street harassment?? i mean, really…isnt that the expected response? isnt that a way to keep women in their place and acting (and dressing) the way that society deems ‘appropriate’? the fact that the way that i often dress is seen as wrong or WHATEVER is FUCKED UP. its not okay that i cant wear what i want to wear. and im not telling other people to dress in any particular way – but i should have the freedom to wear whatever the fuck i want.
    see, street harassment has REAL consequences. it can take you from feeling super confident to feeling like you are just an object. i have seen it fuck with so many people’s sense of self. it changes the way people interact with the world. so when a random person on the street says something disgusting to me, im not going to go home and cover up and make myself into something that im NOT just to appease them. my resistance is to continue being who i am, dressing how i feel comfortable, and not letting asshole STRANGERS dictate my life.
    (and by the way, i have been victimized by sexual and physical violence multiple times in my life. and if i hear another person even IMPLY that i asked for it, based on the way that i dress/act/talk/whatever, i am going to lose it. seriously. and i cant believe that this victim blaming rhetoric is yet again appearing on the walls of feministing.)

  11. Cactus Wren
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible that JesiDangerously would prefer to feel that men were acknowledging her as a person? That they were not saying, basically, “Hello, tits”? That they realized there was a human being in there?

  12. Cactus Wren
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Exactly: the gentleman was seeing you, acknowledging you as a person with a consciousness. He was seeing a human being, not merely sexual anatomy.

  13. Cactus Wren
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    But there’s no way to know whether he’s going to be the one who simply walks away, or the one who doesn’t. As Kate Nepveu put it in her comments on last year’s Open Source Boobs incident, “You could, in short, not be a danger to me. But how am I supposed to know that? How am I supposed to distinguish you from the person who says he’s really just whatever, but is actually going to put emotional pressure on me, or make a scene, or stalk me, or rape me?”

  14. cd76
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure you have heard the commonly-used phrase “you ever have that feeling someone is staring at you?” or “you can just feel someone’s eyes on you?” It is a very uncomfortable feeling. You want to escape. It is very evasive. And have you ever been told it’s rude to stare? That’s because it makes people uncomfortable. I’m sure she was making sure people were leering and not absent-mindedly glancing.

  15. cd76
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    And saying with your eyes whether someone looks good or not is just plain rude. There’s a lot of things that just aren’t socially accepted because they’re trashy, offensive and rude. Like rating complete stranger’s acceptance by their bra size. In California when fit men walk around in only swimsuits I don’t leer at their stomachs and think “mmm, that’s an 8.” Why? Because they’ll probably notice. They’ll probably feel uncomfortable. It’s really quite simple.

  16. Lily A
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Where are the moderators? I was giving sushi the benefit of the doubt at first, but the endless victim blaming and derailing and blatant disrespect is starting to get irritating…

  17. PamelaVee
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    god, this is so long. sorry!
    Sushi, I am kind of stunned at some of the things you are saying. It’s like I went into the twilight zone and am reading a slut-shaming “how to not get raped” pamphlet from some 1950′s facility where they put “troublesome” women.
    We’ve had the compliment vs. ill-intent conversation before, and I will opine that it isn’t black and white. I do not believe every man is out to “get” me/rape me/whatever. I do believe some men genuinely want to compliment women. I won’t even disagree that compliments feel good in the right context. I won’t lie and say I don’t care about my appearance, or that I am not flattered if someone respectfully complements me.
    The point is, many men, whether they analyze their behavior or not, when cat calling are doing some or all of the following:
    -establishing dominance or power over the woman they are cat-calling
    -establishing THEIR territory/space/area, letting the woman know she has no ownership of public space, no “right” to be where she is
    -attempting to show the woman she is an object, for his or someone else’s pleasure
    -viewing a woman’s body as public property
    -attempting to degrade/shame a woman
    -looking for a fight/reaction, possibly so as to assert MORE dominance if she speaks up
    -trying to show ownership of a woman
    -(some are) looking for a victim to harrass.
    You can’t win. If you return or acknowledge the behavior, they may assume you are interested. If you are worried about hurting someone’s feelings, you have to reject them and that creates a problem- you do NOT know how someone will react. Sometimes a smile or a nod can be wrongly interpreted as an invitation of interest, even to follow someone. Then if you ask them not to follow, you are then viewed as a “tease”.
    (For you to suggest we smile or nod reinforces the notion that we owe it to men to do so.)
    If you ignore or say something negative (god forbid you stand up for yourself), you are called “bitch/prude/stuck up/slut”, etc. Some people may turn violent.
    No one is suggesting that we as women punch every guy who looks at us or live in paranoia and fear of men. No one is suggesting we not have fun with people (men, women, strangers) or that we never smile at anyone. Many of us have men in our lives that we love.
    For you to assume that we shouldn’t get “worked up” when someone looks at us and licks their teeth like they are literally going to eat us (it has happened to me, and *gasp*, I am generally a modest dresser), I find that to be absurd.
    I was once grossly leered at by a guy in a car when I was walking in the grocery store parking lot. He was so disgusting about it. It made me feel filthy looking at him. I got angry. It was frightening how quickly he started screaming at me after I said he was disgusting. He started calling me names, said “shut the fuck up, bitch”.
    Don’t tell ME this is all harmless and we shouldn’t “get worked up” about it. I love the men in my life. I don’t look around worrying people will rape me all the time. But you can’t explain that feeling I felt when that disgusting piece of shit (and I told him he was one) looked at me like I was on his plate and he was hungry.
    He was doing it to hold power over me, and when I rejected his ridiculous advances (was I going to chase down his car?), he showed me he had the capacity to become violent with me. It was daylight so I was a little ballsy. The point is I shouldn’t have to worry where I am, what I am wearing, if it’s dark, if I am drinking. My body is my own and no one has the right to talk to me like that.

  18. cd76
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Exactly! As for replying to cat-calls, I have found in the past it unfortunately appears to reinforce the behavior. They start by asserting their power to demean someone. Reacting means the attention is on them, that they have made an impression, which in turn allows them to reaffirm their power by making more vulgar comments. And so on…
    Oh how I would love to find a method that makes them stop once and for all…

  19. chechelle
    Posted September 8, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    so am i “asking for it” when I purposely wear long gym shorts or baggy sweatpants, an oversized shirt, and my hair just pulled back? b/c thats what i would do on days that i took public transportation, i wanted to look as “grungy” as possible so as to avoid as much attention and whistles as i could. but guess what? it never worked. i couldnt have been more covered up and i still got whistles and comments

  20. Tenya
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    I’m with you, fatima, I remember once upon a time being out with friends, walking a few blocks, a car drives by yelling “nice legs!!” Although at the time, despite how off-putting it is to have someone yell things at you from a car, I was like “well, at least it was a compliment.” not half a minute later someone yells “slut!” Yeah, I was wearing a mini-skirt, doesn’t give the general public the right to scream shit at me. And there is a world of difference between say, an actual compliment on my legs, versus someone yelling something from a car or along the sidewalk. Someone genuinely noticing my legs and felt the strong urge, not to ask their friend to stop the car and talk to me, but to yell? No. These are acts designed to take me down a peg, to make me acknowledge SOMEONE IS LOOKING AT YOU!! JUDGING YOU!! REMINDER!! you know? Screw that.
    This is not to discount the times I’ve been in ankle-length skirts, full tops, whatever, and still had random crap yelled at me. What the hell does it matter? Leering/yelling stuff (even “hey you!” “Pretty girl!”) isn’t complimentary or a natural reflex, it is harassing.

  21. ekpe
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Of course let’s ban her. Isn’t that always the response here. Jeez. She’s asked some good questions and raised some good points. Non in an offensive manner. Im still waiting to hear what some folks on here advocate. Should men simply stop acknowledging women. Avert their eyes anytime a woman walks by?

  22. sushi
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “The point is, many men, whether they analyze their behavior or not, when cat calling are doing some or all of the following:
    -establishing dominance or power over the woman they are cat-calling
    -establishing THEIR territory/space/area, letting the woman know she has no ownership of public space, no “right” to be where she is
    -attempting to show the woman she is an object, for his or someone else’s pleasure
    -viewing a woman’s body as public property
    -attempting to degrade/shame a woman
    -looking for a fight/reaction, possibly so as to assert MORE dominance if she speaks up
    -trying to show ownership of a woman
    -(some are) looking for a victim to harrass.”
    See, I doubt that this is true in most cases, whether it’s on a subconscious level or not. I think in most cases it’s either good natured or a case of ill manners and poor impulse control. I really don’t believe the average cat-caller is trying to keep women down or put them in their place. Perhaps I am wrong, but I really don’t think they put that much, or any, thought into it.
    “You can’t win. If you return or acknowledge the behavior, they may assume you are interested. If you are worried about hurting someone’s feelings, you have to reject them and that creates a problem- you do NOT know how someone will react. Sometimes a smile or a nod can be wrongly interpreted as an invitation of interest, even to follow someone. Then if you ask them not to follow, you are then viewed as a “tease”.
    (For you to suggest we smile or nod reinforces the notion that we owe it to men to do so.)”
    First of all, I wasn’t suggesting that women smile or nod, I was asking if women felt threatened by men smiling or nodding at them. I didn’t know what the lines were, so I was asking.
    I don’t think women owe men anything. Or vice versa. But I do think we all owe each other a bit of common courtesy and general friendliness.
    But when it comes to unwanted attention, I think ignoring it is always the best way to go, except in cases of aggressive behavior, of course.
    “For you to assume that we shouldn’t get “worked up” when someone looks at us and licks their teeth like they are literally going to eat us (it has happened to me, and *gasp*, I am generally a modest dresser), I find that to be absurd.
    I was once grossly leered at by a guy in a car when I was walking in the grocery store parking lot. He was so disgusting about it. It made me feel filthy looking at him. I got angry. It was frightening how quickly he started screaming at me after I said he was disgusting. He started calling me names, said “shut the fuck up, bitch”.
    Don’t tell ME this is all harmless and we shouldn’t “get worked up” about it. I love the men in my life. I don’t look around worrying people will rape me all the time. But you can’t explain that feeling I felt when that disgusting piece of shit (and I told him he was one) looked at me like I was on his plate and he was hungry.”
    See, now, here I think that you sort of elevated the situation by calling him a disgusting piece of shit. Perhaps he was. Perhaps he has a very low iq and no idea how to behave in public. But I think it’s best to get away from these people as quickly as possible and not escalate the situation by initiating verbal attacks.
    Again, I’m not saying he was not a disgusting piece of shit. I’m just suggesting that you telling him that maybe wasn’t as good an idea as just proceeding as quickly as possible to the safety of the store.
    He was doing it to hold power over me, and when I rejected his ridiculous advances (was I going to chase down his car?), he showed me he had the capacity to become violent with me. It was daylight so I was a little ballsy. The point is I shouldn’t have to worry where I am, what I am wearing, if it’s dark, if I am drinking. My body is my own and no one has the right to talk to me like that.
    Okay, see here is the part where I strongly disagree. Maybe in some utopian world you shouldn’t have to worry about your personal safety. But here on earth you do. I believe that we all owe it to ourselves to take as much care as we can when it comes to our personal safety. Especially when it comes to the drinking part. You simply cannot properly judge situations or adequately protect yourself when you’re out and about drinking. Your body IS your own. And YOU more than anyone else are responsible for its care and keeping.
    I would never say that if a woman is assaulted she is to blame. But there is a lot we can do to keep ourselves safe that for some reason we just don’t want to talk about.
    I personally feel very empowered by the knowledge that to whatever extent, I have a hand in my own safety.

  23. llevinso
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    No she HAS NOT raised some good points. She is VICTIM BLAMING up the ass and not listening to a single thing anyone is saying.
    And moderators don’t just ban people by the way. They also pop into threads and tell people when they are out of line. But you always seem to complain on Feministing about everything we do here so why am I even bothering to explain anything to you?

  24. sushi
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Cave people? Really? Well if we’re going to look to them for behavior models, I guess men should just start clubbing us on the head and dragging us by the hair to their caves?
    Clothes may not be “natural”, but I’m pretty glad we wear them. And even in the most primitive of remaining tribal cultures, they cover up their genitals, as far as I know.

  25. sushi
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe I am victim blaming. Certainly that is not my intention. I have been polite and respectful and asked genuine questions. Perhaps you don’t think any of my points are good, but I do, and perhaps some others do as well. I don’t think it’s healthy to be so knee-jerk reactionary and dismissive of differing opinions or perspectives.
    You know what’s funny? I have been commenting ona women hating web-site for over a year- sticking up for women and trying to bring some balance to their oft ridiculous generalizations and misconceptions. I get called a feminazi and a cunt all the time. They’ve been telling me forever that I belonged here instead.
    Guess not.

  26. alixana
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Cripes, we’re really rolling in the typical derails here, aren’t we? Now we’re at, “Aren’t you so sorry you don’t have me as an ally now?”
    Doesn’t matter if you believe you’re victim blaming or not. Your tone and “respectfulness” have nothing to do with that. You are telling women that a) their actions caused their harassment, and b) it is up to them to react correctly to the harassment. There is no believing or disbeliving here, this is the very definition of victim blaming. I mean, I might decide today that I don’t believe that the sky is above my head, but it sure doesn’t change things.
    Stop with your “concern” about what’s “healthy” for us. We don’t care what you think about that. Your use of the words “knee-jerk reactionary” shows you think as little of women as you do of men. I’m tired of your suggestions that men simply lack “impulse control” or have low IQs like you did in your newest down below. We’re ALL smarter than that. We all think about what we do and have full control over it. The people who disagreed with you did not have knee-jerk reactions, they had fully considered thoughts. And the men who cat-call do not lack impulse control or intelligence. They choose to harass and can choose to stop. Give everybody a little more credit than that. Or don’t. Your negative view of everyone is trite and tiresome.

  27. Ann
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Enough enough enough. You’ve made your point, and people have responded. Time to stop replying to every comment on this thread.

  28. sushi
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I’m not saying that women’s actions caused their harassment.
    Nor am I saying that men in general have low iqs and poor impulse control- I was speaking then specifically about the leering tongue man, and I do believe that in that case that probably was, well, the case. Most men just don’t do that.
    My intention here really was just to find out what constituted harassment/threatening behavior in the minds of most women. Is it looking? A whistle? What is the line? If it varies from woman to woman, how are men supposed to know?
    I mean there is behavior to me that seems obviously intrusive and vulgar- following, yelling obscenities, tongue wagging etc.
    But when it comes to the more benign behaviors, I guess I have a hard time thinking of a woman who gets whistled at as being a victim. Is that really so weird or bad?
    And I do think there have been some knee jerk reactions. I think perhaps some people have decided on my intent and simply aren’t open to anything I have to say.

  29. PamelaVee
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Oh that POOR MAN. I “initiated” a verbal attack after he leered at me, I told him not to, and after he called me misogynistic names. You really are thick! You really do not get that men are responsible for not treating women poorly indoors or in public? It’s a pretty simple concept.

  30. blucheezz
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I’d agree that it can be rude and inappropriate, but think it’s a stretch to call an admiring look “sexual harassment”.
    I don’t understand why you’d want to repress your feelings of physical attraction toward someone, in your own head.

  31. Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    This morning someone submitted this story to my street harassment blog, which I think illustrates why a “hey gorgeous” or “hey beautiful” can be threatening to women. You do not know if the harasser will escalate from there!
    Also, yesterday one of my co-workers told me how over the weekend when she was riding the metro in DC in the early evening, a guy told her how beautiful she was and she just smiled to acknowledge him but not encourage him further. When it was her stop, he made a big deal about clearing everyone out of her way for her to get off, got off with her even though it wasn’t his stop, grabbed her arm, pushed her up against the wall of the subway station and demanded that she put his phone number in her phone and call him. she put his number in – as he continued to hold her arm – and he then left her alone. (oh and there were people around but no one helped her.)

  32. rustyspoons
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    And I really dislike how people who come on here with victim blaming attitudes like “asking for it” (which you did use, rephrase all you want, it’s there) then whine when they’re called out like the trolls they’re being.
    Besides, I thought victim-blaming was against the TOS?

  33. cd76
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh, well thank you “admiring” my boobies! That makes it sound like pedestal. You admire a painting. You don’t admire a stranger’s crotch and chest. And saying “I want to hit that” with your eyes is unfortunately just as irritating as coming out and saying “I want to hit that.” You know what makes me even more uncomfortable than people starting relentlessly at me? Strangers staring at me with thoughts about [insert fantasy as far as the perverted imagination can take you here]. I’ve seen people admire things. And I’ve seen leering at women. Not the same.

  34. Darkmoon
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    No. Just no. That line of thinking excuses men for bad behavior. A smile is all it takes for some men to see an invitation…will you accuse women of “asking for it” when they smile at someone? A guy tried to pull me into his truck the other day when he stopped me on my way to the market to ask for directions. I was wearing a t-shirt and jogging pants, had no makeup on and certainly gave him no reason to believe I was interested in being “claimed”.
    Women have been blamed for the actions of men towards them for long enough. It’s time for men to own up to their own fucking behavior and either control their urges (like those of us who don’t see them as beasts incapable of rational thought know they can) or spend more time spanking the monkey to get it out of their systems. If they can’t do that, they should be held responsible and punished accordingly when they harass or assault.
    Fuck you and your rape apologist attitude.

  35. cd76
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    And for some odd reason I feel like my freedom to walk through town without wondering what that creepy stranger imagines doing to me while he is leering at me overrides his “freedom to stare.” Fine, look at women. You don’t understand how leering is sexual harassment, I don’t understand how it is oppression for men to refrain from staring at my boobs with crazy eyes.

  36. cd76
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    “But there is a lot we can do to keep ourselves safe that for some reason we just don’t want to talk about.”
    …Like not leave the house without a man? How far are we going here? Every reaction you can give to a cat-call has a possibility to lead to harassment. Any way you dress gets a cat-caller. Only going out in the day still leads to cat-calling and following. Going out with another female means twice the females to cat-call. Being in public doesn’t help, as pow3rful explained with her story. What am I doing wrong here? Did I miss something?

  37. Napalm Nacey
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    However, I do believe that as women, we are strong. I am not afraid of men
    Well, bully for you. A lot of us are afraid of men, for good reason. I think it better that men stop acting like pigs than it is women police them or wave our hands and roll our eyes and sigh, “Men!”

  38. Tracey T
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Women aren’t seen as sex objects because of the way we dress but because of our very existenance. We were treated as no more than madonna/whores when wearing girtles and tons of fabric and are treated as such regardless of if wearing long skirts or hot pants.
    Are you for real? Women are often cat called because they are in public space, that’s it.

  39. Tracey T
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7514567.stm
    “More than 60% – including female respondents – suggested the scantily clad woman was most at risk. But in reality the study concluded the majority of the victims of harassment were modestly dressed women wearing Islamic headscarves.”
    The reports from Egypt are the easiest ones for me to google, but I can also recall the stories of many, many women both in the U.S. in small and large towns and abroad who dress “modetly” but are harrassed never the less. And you know what’s interesting? Internationally they come to the same conclusions:
    - It’s not about the way women dress
    -Men do it to assert dominance, entitlement and claim to space
    Drop the clothing claim, it’s BS on so many levels and studies the world over have shown that. In addition, even panties and pasties don’t illicit an involuntary response of harrassment. You remind me of one story in particular from a modest dressing woman who berates women for “deserving” and “attracting” harrassment for the way they dress. When she herself is harrassed in an ankle length skirt and loose blouse w/sleeves, it is of course a different story.
    If women try to dress in a way to discourage catcalling, it will be a slippery slope to male escorts when out and staying home as much as possible.

  40. Erik
    Posted September 15, 2009 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Maybe she shouldn’t be “surprised” or “shocked”, but that doesn’t mean men’s behavior is OK. I wouldn’t be “surprised” or “shocked” if I was in Paris and I got my wallet stolen, but that doesn’t excuse the pickpocket’s behavior.

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