Hey beautiful

The Wall Street Journal reports on the reactions to the Hollaback harassment video.

[T]he woman in the video, actress Shoshana B. Roberts, and the anti-harassment organization that sponsored it, Brooklyn-based Hollaback!, have also received a host of death and rape threats, officials say. Those threats, which have been passed along to New York City police, underscore how casually some people view street harassment, experts say.

“We’ve had so many people reach out saying, ‘Thank God, this is exactly what my day looks like,’ or people who were shocked, saying, ‘I had no idea that this is what women face. I’m so grateful,’” said Emily May, the co-founder and executive director of Hollaback!. “But we’ve also gotten this tremendous backlash from people saying just horrific things and a number of violent threats.”

Because how dare anyone document street harassment of women? It’s a human right to harass women on the street. Women are public property, and pretty women are like 90 squillion times more public property, so obviously if they object to it there has to be a tremendous backlash.

The video was shot by filmmaker Rob Bliss, who approached Hollaback! with the idea in August after his girlfriend told him stories of being harassed while walking down the street.

“I felt like no one had really clearly demonstrated what street harassment looks like,” Mr. Bliss said. “No [one] had shown the world what it looks and feels like to a person.”

Mr. Bliss’s team recorded the video over the course of 10 hours using a GoPro camera hidden inside a gym bag and two microphones held by Ms. Roberts. The team navigated the city’s busiest and most frequently cited places of harassment: Midtown Manhattan, Wall Street, SoHo, the Brooklyn Bridge area and Harlem.

In the video, several men yell things such as “hey beautiful” and “how you doing?” to Ms. Roberts, who is dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt and doesn’t respond to the catcalls. One unidentified man follows her for five minutes.

Hey, she’s outside, she’s on the street, she’s fair game. Public property, I tell you.



  1. says


    So the first guy says “hey they were very respectful, they were complimentary – she may not have wanted it, but I have a hard time seeing how that’s harassment.”

    It’s the “she may not have wanted it” part, you asshole!

  2. Athywren says

    I saw a comment (many actually, but one in particular) on facebook about this, complaining about how men should be allowed to talk to women, and the extinction of the human race, etc.
    I can’t help but think, regarding these guys who are so deeply upset that other people’s behaviour is causing them romantic problems (because they are saints, d’you hear?!), why don’t they take an active stand against the people causing the problem? They’re so sad that women might ignore them when they try to talk to them on the street, but they go after the women for being unfair in not being willing to hear the supposedly nice guys – because women can read minds and tell what type of guy you are at a glance, don’tcha know? – rather than the men for contributing to an environment in which women don’t want to engage with random guys on the street. What the fuck, guys? How can they think they’re being logical? You don’t want to suffer splash back from the shit that women have to deal with, but you’re going to shout down any attempt to actually reduce the amount of that shit? I don’t even.
    I mean, seriously, if your problem comes from the fact that women responding to a hostile environment makes it harder for you to meet women, it seems pretty clear that the solution is to help clear up the hostile environment. Throwing tantrums about the fact that women won’t talk to you is only adding to the hostility, reducing your chances. It’s almost as if that whole argument is just a ruse!
    (I actually do believe that at least some of them are sincere in their complaints, but that doesn’t make their choice of solution remotely sensible.)

  3. Athywren says

    Damn it!

    regarding these guys who are so deeply upset that other people’s behaviour is causing them romantic problems (because they are saints, d’you hear?!),

    Fixed that for me.
    I’m getting too sleepy for this shit. Good night, all.

  4. Anthony K says

    and the extinction of the human race, etc.

    “Oh no! I just checked my bank balance! It’s at 7.25 × 10^9 and growing exponentially! I’m really worried about going broke!
    …and ethics in games journalism.”

  5. says

    The “men should be allowed to talk to women” argument goes right back to Thunderf00t and his argument against anti-harrassment policies.

    And it’s also completely beside the actual point, as Athywren helps to clarify. That we are still debating this is just depressing, to me.

  6. kevinkirkpatrick says

    @MrFancyPants #1:

    Almost missed it the first time I watched the Fox reaction video –
    Woman in blue dress: “So let me tell you something, I think there’re men who are quite nice and appropriate and they compliment… I mean, I’m telling you, walk around New York City, if you don’t have a jacket or something… if I walked around in my Fox News [outfit? drown out by laughter]…’
    Man in white shirt: [Deep belly laugh at this statement, interrupting WIBD]
    WIBD: [continuing thought, over MIWS laughter] “… Forget about it… “[gives mock-shove to still laughing man in white shirt]
    Man in red shirt: [Gives advice that women should shame harassers by posting their pictures to the internet]
    WIBD: “Hey, can I give you a taste…”
    MIWS: [Cutting off WIBD, talking to her directly] “You should wear a, should wear a jacket.” [Says no more. Stares at WIBD]
    WIBD: [Looks at MIWS. Turns face back to camera. Closes eyes, shakes head] “Whatever.”

    At this point, I suspect that WIBD realizes that the conversation is heading in a direction where her role as a female anchor on Fox News demands she not allow it to go, and she blatantly shifts the conversation away from what the guy just said.

    I’d recommend everyone watch that little exchange, from 3:30 to 4:00 in the video… the sexism is so palpable, and the power dynamics backing that sexism are so transparent. Fox news at it’s worst.

  7. k_machine says

    “Those threats, which have been passed along to New York City police, underscore how casually some people view street harassment[.]” Judging by the backlash people who harass don’t view it casually at all, more like seething rage behind a casual facade.

  8. johnthedrunkard says

    The photographer does raise a point. Men who act like that, tend NOT to show such behavior in front of male witnesses. ‘Normal’ men have no idea what women experience.

    On one hand, this should encourage a wave of disgust and shame directed AT harassers from the rest of us. But it seems that most men default to defensiveness that they have no reason to feel. Why would any heterosexual man feel an instant of ‘solidarity’ with these trolls? But our shock and dismay doesn’t strike back at them. We don’t see them show their real faces.

    According to Lisak, some 1-3% of men are sexual sociopaths. Corporate structure, ‘elite’ fraternities, and high-school football seem to gather these creeps into pockets. No ‘real man’ has any reason to identify with, or justify, anything about these social cesspits.

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