Well, ok, just to confuse everyone, I’m going to disagree with one feminist claim about street harassment. The claim is in a piece by Kat George (whose work I’m not familiar with) on the harassment video and what counts as harassment. She starts with the fact that with any harassment story there are always men and some women who will say “oh but that’s not harassment, it’s just being nice.” True enough. But then she goes on.
Here’s the thing: by the inherent nature of being a woman walking in the street, almost ALL uninvited attention from men is threatening. Women are victims of sexual violence EVERY SINGLE DAY, even in “liberal” cities like New York. Whether it’s a man jerking off on the subway, a stranger sticking their hand up a woman’s skirt (or worse, raping her) we hear stories of sexual assault on a near daily basis, if not on the news, then from the anecdotes within our social circles. Women feel vulnerable on the street, period. When a man interacts with her on any level she did not invite, it’s threatening, period.
No. That’s really not true.
It might be true for very young women and very busy impersonal big city streets, but other than that, no. A man might ask for directions, for example; that’s not threatening. And there are all kinds of little momentary situations where a man can speak to a woman on the street – even when she didn’t “invite” it – when it’s not threatening. A beautiful day, a very windy or rainy day, waiting for a bus, watching a crane in operation, a bouncy dog making people laugh, a toddler making people go “dawww” – all kinds of things. It’s not that unusual or fraught to have a brief exchange with a man in the street; it’s really not.
So no. Let’s be careful not to get so irritated by poo-poo-ers and deniers that we make wild assertions that it takes 10 seconds to realize aren’t true.