The Problem With That Catcalling Video

The Problem With That Catcalling Video

(Slate) – On Tuesday, Slate and everyone else posted a video of a woman who is harassed more than 100 times by men as she walks around New York City for 10 hours. More specifically, it’s a video of a young white woman who is harassed by mostly black and Latino men as she walks around New York City for 10 hours. The one dude who turns around and says, “Nice,” is white, but the guys who do the most egregious things—like the one who harangues her, “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful! You should say thank you more,” or the one who follows her down the street too closely for five whole minutes—are not.

This doesn’t mean that the video doesn’t still effectively make its point: that a woman can’t walk down the street lost in her own thoughts, that men feel totally free to demand her attention and get annoyed when she doesn’t respond, that a woman can’t be at ease in public spaces in the same way a man can. But 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?”

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