We all saw that street harassment video.
Here’s a follow up, on CNN, discussing it with comedian Amanda Seales and a… well, a bro.
As soon as The Bro starts speaking, though, good luck trying not to desk-flip.
The Bro in question, Mr Steven Santagati, is the author of the book The MANual: A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date, and Mate–and What Women Can Do to Come Out on Top. The book cover is wonderful, with various lines stabbing the man’s anatomy – like one pointing to a watch saying “Time to meet another girl” (geddit?), and another pointing to his eye: “Sees you whenever he feels like it” (so bad *giggle*!). So yeah, Santagati was obviously a great representative for men.
Or rather, the men that think catcalling is fine and that women wouldn’t have a problem with it, if the guys catcalling “were hot”.
Yes, Mr Steven Santagati says this, among other insightful things, so let’s review his wise words for the mens. Beware… it’s stupid. And it’s long. Here we go…
Amanda Seales is asked what she thinks of the video.
Seale: Oh, I live this live every day.
Mr Steven Santagati: <speaking over her> Nice! Nice!
He comes charging out the gate with his mannish stupidity, doesn’t he?
Er, dude, it clearly isn’t nice since that’s what this video indicates and she’s agreeing.
Seales: From the minute we leave the house, we’re expected to be smiling and available for whatever men want to say to us. And don’t get me wrong… “Hello” is fine. Like I’m from…
Mr Steven Santagati: <speaking over her> Oh, come on…
Yeah, quiet woman. You’re wrong about how you feel. Let the man speak, already!
Seales (still answering the question): But a lot of these men…
Mr Steven Santagati: <speaking over her> You… <shakes his head>
Poor baba doesn’t like the woman talking. I’m sure if she was in the street he would’ve catcalled her at least a dozen times by now.
Seales to Mr Steven Santagati: And I can see you shaking your head, but you are not an expert on this, my brother, because you are not a woman walking in the street.
Mr Steven Santagati: <loudly> No… no, but I’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guy
And that ladies and gentlemen is the perfect summation of mansplaining. Right there. Beautiful.
I’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guy I’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guyI’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a guy
Seales: Absolutely not…
Mr Steven Santagati: “…and I know how we think.”
Due to tech, probably, I imagine Seales was responding to Mr Steven Santagati’s assertion that he’s “more of an expert” claim, because he doesn’t say “more of an expert on men” – which might be a better claim. Except reading his statement – as he said it – it seems just to be the classic mansplaining 101.
Mr Steven Santagati: I’m a guy and I know why these guys do this. The bottom line is this, ladies:
Fredricka Whitfield: What?
Mr Steven Santagati: You would not care if all these guys were hot. They would be bolstering your self esteem, bolstering your ego – there is nothing more that a woman loves to hear is than how pretty she is [sic].
Notice how he slipped from claiming to know men to telling women – two of them – what they like. His “expertise” on “why these guys do this” has disappeared. Instead he’s claiming “guys do this” because “there is nothing more that a woman loves… than how pretty she is”. So you see, ladies, men are just trying to please you! That’s why they do it.
That’s not a dude splaining dudes: that’s a dude telling women what they like, even though several of them have just indicated to him that they don’t fucking like it at all.
And so-called Brad Pitt Immunity – “You would not care if all these guys were hot” – doesn’t work and also is a bit dangerous: creeps are creeps are creeps.
First, attraction isn’t universal: different people find different people attractive. You don’t get to declare Brad Pitt obviously hot any more than I can declare oranges tastier than strawberry.
Second, this is about consent and respect for a person’s autonomy. Finding someone attractive doesn’t negate them treating you like shit. I’m kind of concerned by this line of reasoning, since this means people – in this case dudes – who think they’re hot can act however they choose. That’s exactly the point: They can’t. And every one of the entitled jerks who do this have an idea in their head that that’s exactly what they are: desirable and wanted, because look how nice they are, look how cool they are giving compliments. It’s what women want. I’m a nice guy. I’m desirable. So it doesn’t matter how or when I talk to you cos I’m hot. And hotness means immunity to being respectful.
Um, fuck that. We’re trying to change men’s perspectives and want them to respect women. Men need to knock off thinking their confidence, their being “nice”, they’re “having the bravery” to approach a woman warrants a reward of sex or even attention. You’re not kings, you’re jerks.
I’ll let my friend Lindsey, who has a YouTube channel of her confronting street harassment, explain it in her own words:
The collective Internet wisdom is that Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, and Adam Levine apparently represent the pinnacle of panty-exploding male hotness and have a free pass to treat women however they choose. The amount of emails and comments I’ve received from angry dudes who insist that if one of these three aforementioned men harassed me I would “be begging for it” is perplexing. First: Have you guys never even HEARD of Joe Manganiello or Idris Elba?? And second, no: If the first words a movie star said to me on the street were that he could smell my pussy, I would not reward him with said pussy. And third: If your biggest concern with my project [of rejecting and confronting harassers] is that mutual attraction may dictate differences in comfort levels, how does that undermine the message that men should be cognizant that their unsolicited attention can be unwanted?
Please drop that idiot narrative, men.
Mr Steven Santagati: These guys [catcalling in the video] clearly don’t have a lot of class… Also, how do we know some of those guys weren’t planted.
Yes. I guess that means we don’t do anything about it, cos “class”. Ahem. And planted men? Please pass my tinfoil hat – even though Seales indicated the accuracy of the video.
Thank god we have Mr Steven Santagati here to represent real men with real class, to splain to women and justify shitty attitudes.
Can’t even transcribe this due to Mr Steven Santagati’s continued insistence of talking over Seales, as she says this is real: this is what she experiences every day. It’s what other women continually have indicated happens. It’s stuff even Mr Steven Santagati agrees happen, but he still keeps trying to talk over her.
After agreeing this happens…
Mr Steven Santagati: But… so what?
Yea, woman! So what!
Mr Steven Santagati: So you’re telling me then that if I compliment you on the street, it’s some sort of abuse no matter how I choose to do it?
Don’t forget, ladies: Intention is magic! MAGIC! It’s your job to interpret our behaviours, it’s your job to judge us. It’s not up to us to maybe think that you commuting between destinations, wanting to be left alone, having probably received 3000 comments, probably isn’t a moral thing to do. Nope. Intention.
Seales: No… that’s not what we’re saying…
Mr Steven Santagati: No, hold on! Hold on! <He now attempts satire of air quotes feminists> If you don’t compliment me when I walk by, that’s abuse! You didn’t bolster my self esteem! I want to find you. I want to start a coalition against women who don’t compliment men.
Seales: <roaring with laughter at Mr Steven Santagati’s air quotes logic>
Yes, how dare women form campaigns to combat harassment and abuse they feel. I mean, all they need to do is calmly explain it to men – like Seales did. And how Mr Steven Santagati totally listened and accepted. Yes.
Seales: He’s [Santagati] wrong… the reality is a lot of women when we leave the house, we are not looking for compliments… we are not strolling the streets waiting like “IS ANYONE GONNA NOTICE THESE PANTS TODAY?” – like that’s not actually how we are approaching our day.
Mr Steven Santagati: Well, y-you’ll have women complimenting you
Mr Steven Santagati: Right I get it. I lived there. No one’s holding a gun to your head telling you you have to live in New York City.
Can’t take the heat, get out the city, amirite fellas? Yeah, again: not up to men to change their behaviour, since they’re more numerous in how they’re targeting, they’re strong, they’re the ones who commit more crimes against women. Nope. Not men. Women. Women need to either handle the heat of brutes or leave. I don’t know where. The moon?
Funny: here I am thinking men can be better but Mr Steven Santagati has written a whole book, so…
Seales: You know what’s funny, you as a man, what your problem is is that you really should just be embracing and welcoming to the fact that women are saying hey we don’t like this – not arguing why we shouldn’t. If we say we don’t like it and we are demonstrating that, then you should actually as a man, who is a man of honor and wrote a book about this, should be saying: “well: lets discuss how we can make you all feel more comfortable…
Mr Steven Santagati: Noooo! That’s not gonna happen.
Instead, he’ll sit there and splain and yell at women. Which, ironically, is exactly what Seales is talking about um not doing. He’ll use his limited time and energy to maintain the status quo, defend poor men, instead of trying to improve the situation and claim men are wrong. Because that might mean altering his view of women being persons. Which sounds like, you know, effort.
Seales: <continuing to indicate what Mr Steven Santagati SHOULD rightfully be saying> “And I as a man who says that I have class need to help and talk to my, my brothers about this.”
Mr Steven Santagati: The men in this video… Maybe it’s part of their culture…
Seales: <scratches her chin in a very Holmesian way, noting the white dude talking about “their culture”>. Ohhh..
The CNN hosts notes the criticism of that the video edited out a large population of New York City, focusing on mostly men of colour.
Mr Steven Santagati: <wagging his man finger> But we ALL look. We all look. We all look.
Mr Steven Santagati <over the host> Hollaback! is pathetic.
Yes. The campaign to try raise awarness of women’s safety is pathetic. The brodude defending the status quo making women feel unsafe is amazing, though.
Mr Steven Santagati: Listen, I was there in the 80’s, I remember how it was. It was a lot tougher than it is right now [please note, Mr Steven Santagati is a white dude saying this to two women of colour]… but you have to understand something. Political correctness has gone too far.
Women speaking for themselves? Wanting men to change their behaviour to be less threatening and less dickish? What silliness, I say! Political correctness gone too far!
Mr Steven Santagati: You don’t like it as a woman, turn around and tell ’em to shut up; stand up for yourself; act like a strong woman in 2014.
Seales: Because that doesn’t get you killed right?
Mr Steven Santagati: Nooooo!
Seales: Because a woman… got killed for doing that the other day in Detroit, actually. So you, sir, do not know what you are talking about.
Mr Steven Santagati: <talking over her> Then carry a gun!
CNN host: Oh my god…
Note again: Mr Steven Santagati doesn’t say men should change, he proceeds to tell women who experience this daily how to respond. Because they’ve never heard that “advice” before. Because they’ve never considered these matters to try find ways to protect themselves from the brute force Mr Steven Santagati is defending. Nope: Mr Steven Santagati’s is clearly offering the best solution.
Oh, he’s got a standing and platform to try change men’s behaviour but that might mean he can’t yell at women he thinks are hawwwt. And that would just be too tragic.
Mr Steven Santagati <makes gun fingers and laughs>
Seales: <eyes wide> A woman got killed for that…
Mr Steven Santagati: Well how many women get killed for it versus how many stand up for themselves?
Seales: I stand up for myself all the time.
Mr Steven Santagati: Alright then what’s the problem?
Yeah, what’s the problem again?
This is utter nonsense. Another straight white guy defending the status quo, using his platform and voice to be boring and make insulting, stupid assertions; talking over marganlised people, people who saying outright “Please don’t hurt us”. And nope, nope, nope: boys will be boys. Don’t like it, leave the city, carry a gun, stand up for yourself.
I also like how we points out that the men who catcall won’t be watching this interview, because apparently some dudes have a magical power to knock which men catcall and what their reading and watching habits are. One of the men who think this way, as a Twitter Follower pointed out, was on the show.
It’s telling when he goes from defending dudes to claiming those dudes don’t watch the show. It’s telling when men’s first reaction is not all men, or only men of not very high “class”, or only “ugly” men. Nope. Just agree: It’s men. I’m acknowleding it’s men. I’m a man. I know it’s men and it’s needs to fucking stop. And men with power and platform need to stop defending the status quo.
And fucking CNN needs to not give bullshit mansplainers and Not All Mans a platform so that more young men, who feel affronted and anxious, can have their worries transformed into gold and sold to them as entitlement.