Trials N Tresses

The Recreation Center for the Natural Hair Community

Are We Missing The ENTIRE Point Of The Viral Catcalling Video?

I kept quiet on this for a few days because as with everything I like to take my time, gather my thoughts, and gain as much knowledge/exposure to the topic before I add my two cents. I watched this video a few times to see what exactly had people in such an angered frenzy. I saw hundreds of comments going back and forth discussing what it means to be harassed, the actual definition of harassment, and that this video was cheapening the word “harassment”. I also saw many comments regarding how she should be thankful that these men are taking the time out to acknowlede her beauty…etc.  There have also been rising issues/comments focused on the racial bias/ slant this video may be causing due to the fact that the Caucassian cat callers were all edited out.

With all of that being said, let me just stop right here and point something out that is very crucial when observing and trying to understand things that you have a particular distance from. You will NEVER truly know how it feels to walk in someone else’s shoes, therefore your two cents should make sense in responding to such manners.  With all of the racial tension that has been brewing in the US from Trayvon Martin, to Eric Garner, to most recently Mike Brown I have been an emotional wreck feeling uncontrollable sadness because of how close these incidents hit to home. And though I may be incredibly close to these situations I personally know that I will NEVER truly know what it feels like to be an African American male living in this country. Though I may attempt to empathize with their pain, or understand what it is that they have gone through, I will never be able to truly feel the fear, and the terror they must carry with them every time they walk out of their homes.

It is a similar premise in being a woman living in this society.  It truly baffles me to see people who will never know what it feels like to walk down the street at night alone in constant fear to be speaking so passionately about something they know nothing about. The idea that you can be sexually assaulted just because you are walking down the street alone is a difficult burden to carry to say the least. Having to fully protect myself just incase something may happen,  before I go out for a simple run does entitle me to feel a bit harassed when complete strangers choose me out of a crowd of people to spark a conversation with.   It does not matter what is said, what matters is we realize that someone has chosen to break a barrier in your comfort zone because they feel like it. That should not be something that we are okay with.

The responses from males that I have seen, (and trust that I have seen some pretty ignorant female comments as well)  have not only been increasingly unintelligent by the moment, but they are also bordering on the line of insane anger and violent hostility. For instance just the three screen shots of comments below range from rape threats, to the quintessential rape mantra tying her wardrobe to savage behavior, that we sadly all too often hear and accept: “what did she expect” Screen_Shot_2014-10-29_at_10.01.45_AM.0

Screen_Shot_2014-10-29_at_10.08.00_AM.0Screen_Shot_2014-10-29_at_10.07.27_AM.0

What did she expect should not be the question we are asking in response to this video, however what did she deserve? Or better yet what did she want? If we as a nation including both men and women want to become so focused and hung up on definitions and meanings of words, harassment: is aggressive pressure or intimidation. It can be replaced with synonyms such as coercion, force, or informal hassle. Therefore this video, as well as all the others that exist, in accordance with the actual lives of women should be reason enough for us to accept the awful factual truth that women are harassed in various ways in many different levels while attempting to get from point A to point B. How a woman responds or does not respond should not be the issue on trial in these comments and response videos.

I understand that some comments in that video may not have seemed to be a big deal. But they are. It is the manner in which these comments were started. I have been on both sides of the spectrum where I have had to walk down the street with my “bitch” face on according to observers and deal with unnecessary comments and remarks when I continue to walk by silently. And there’s the other hand when I know that I have made some sort of eye contact, or I am in a small area in which a conversation seems less strange and random. There’s a time and a place for everything, and these comments no matter how polite served no practical purpose in her routine. She did not smile, wave, or make eye contact with these men. So unless the ” nice, kind compliments, and conversation” many people keep referring to were given to everyone that passed by , there is a call for pause. We don’t know if that is what occurred after she walked by, and we will never know, therefore it is not our place to dictate how one person should react.

Incase the original video has become too far gone to change minds, thoughts, opinions, or comments, let us not forget the video incorporating multi cultural men and women in a similar situation. The facts don’t lie, or change… and thats what both of these videos were created to show. To spark controversy, and conversations, and arguments… so, in that right, they are both a success. And now that we are so virally aware … it’s time to spark a change. Because to tell you the truth its just beyond tiring. Every woman out there is someone’s mother, or daughter, or aunt, cousin, friend, grandmother,  or wife. Stating that someone should be happy they are getting attention, or that they will regret it when it stops, or when they get older/less attractive… is just as disgusting as the comments made by the men above.

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