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Talking to Random Strangers on the Street

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posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 01:55 PM
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In a way, I feel like I'm asking for trouble by posting this video and introducing conversation on these boards as there's been a lot of commentary about feminism. I want to state for the record that I do not consider myself a feminist. I consider myself a human being with feelings and I'd love to see a frank and open discussion on this subject from that standpoint--one person to another, simply based on their feelings. This isn't about whether somebody thinks this particular woman is attractive. This is about what is documented in the video and how it's received. I really am hoping that we can have a mature discussion about this. Please don't prove me wrong, lol.

I was 13 the first time I was catcalled by a group of men passing by. I was so humiliated and a little scared. I didn't even know why but boy do I remember it still. My face was burning and I just wanted to sink into the ground and disappear. Over the years, I've had a whole lot of bad experiences in a variety of public places. I've been actually physically touched, been sexually harassed and even followed off of mass transit by a sexual harasser, which scared the crap out of me (thankfully a woman sitting next to me walked me to my car as she'd witnessed it all). I struggle with agoraphobia because of this history and a particularly bad event.

A lot of the stuff that is going on in this video could just be written off as friendly invitations to conversation. Those aren't so bad but at the same time, they can still be pretty unnerving for a woman walking alone down the street, particularly if you've been violated previously whether by unwanted touching or even having some guy touching himself in a public setting. Regardless of whether one is a man or a woman, some total stranger trying to start up a conversation with you is going to be slightly unnerving unless you're both captive on mass transit and are clearly bored out of your minds. On the street, it's a pretty different matter as because city streets don't have the best of reputations for being necessarily safe for anybody of any gender. You don't know if that "hey how ya doin?" guy is going to hold you up for your wallet if you stop and acknowledge them or be a total nutter. For women, it's pretty much the same thing with that potential added layer of being possibly violated. To be fair, I've been just as freaked out by getting way too much attention from a lesbian as I have any guy so it doesn't have anything to do with the gender of the catcaller.

Anyways, I really do hope that we can have a good conversation about this and exchange views, person to person, without this turning ugly and hopefully exchange some perspectives. My thought is in that it can be awfully hard to figure out some random strangers' intent on the street so that bit of attention is probably not going to be well received by most. Then again, I'm somebody with agoraphobia so perhaps my perception is skewed, lol.

Thank you in advance.
edit on 29/10/14 by WhiteAlice because: edit title




posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:00 PM
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I saw this video earlier today. Seemed like half of it was guys saying "Good Morning" or "How are you today"? It didn't seem like a big deal to me. Maybe society has me conditioned?



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:08 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice

Rude comments can be scary especially when you're young. I've never lived in a large city but the bothersome situations I've experienced with strange men, and sometimes men I knew, just involved a stare when no one else was looking, obviously meant to intimidate.

The most surprising act of male indecency I've ever seen happened when I was 16 working as a car hop at Sonic.

I went out to bring an old grey haired man a hotdog and he was waiting in his truck, pant less, with legs spread showing me his hot dog! I was so shocked I just turned right around and ran in to tell my boss, who then called the police.

I'll take cat calls over indecent exposure any day.


edit on 29-10-2014 by JessicaRabbitTx because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:11 PM
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Already posted:
www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:11 PM
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Someone beat you to it yesterday.

Link



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:17 PM
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originally posted by: jjkenobi
I saw this video earlier today. Seemed like half of it was guys saying "Good Morning" or "How are you today"? It didn't seem like a big deal to me. Maybe society has me conditioned?



I thought the same.
There are some obviously creepy, weird, harassing guys in the video... at least half we're just "good morning" "Hi there" "how are you today" and yes... I'm sure they were because she's a good looking woman.... but do we really live in a world where people can't say hello to someone?


Like I said, a lot for sure were trying to pick her up... but some were just being friendly.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:23 PM
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originally posted by: Benevolent Heretic
Already posted:
www.abovetopsecret.com...


I'm going to just change the title to be honest because what that thread is about and this one, although inspired by the same video, is really two different things. Mine is coming from the perspective and the approach of saying "is it okay to talk to a random stranger on the street in a city?" as it's proposing that nobody would be comfortable with it--regardless of gender.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:26 PM
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I saw very little harassment. If she was a child, or they were perhaps gross then there would be a problem. Even on the guy who followed her, a simple looking him in the eye and saying "no thanks" might have done the trick, had it not then there would have been a problem.

I know plenty of girls who like gaining the attention of men and being told they are pretty. a hey beautiful, or even a daammmm is really nothing to get anyone's panties in a bunch. When this women is old and has lost her outward beauty she will miss the attention she once had.

Not that men are not gross sometimes and yes when it is bad it can be disturbing to go through, but seriously why is there such a push to disallow men the right to compliment a women, to tell a women she is pretty? Not to be vulgar, but there is a huge difference between a "hey baby" or a "how are you today beautiful" than a "I want to go balls deep in that a..""

I have had both good and bad experiences with men while walking down the street, and you are correct it is disturbing when one is just a child. But this sort of thing makes the nice men not want to give compliments and the dirty dudes will still keep up their shenanigans.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:30 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice

Ignoring the harassment line of the other thread, i think it's a bloody shame that talking to a "random" someone on a city street an see you labelled as a loon etc.

I've shared some genuinely funny and touching moments with strangers (not that kind of touching, but i'll keep trying!).

Being friendly and open used to be regarded as an admirable quality one day way back when, now it will often just get you a blank stare - it's sad really.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:31 PM
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originally posted by: WhiteAlice
Mine is coming from the perspective and the approach of saying "is it okay to talk to a random stranger on the street in a city?" as it's proposing that nobody would be comfortable with it--regardless of gender.


I agree completely with your first post. I have felt VERY uncomfortable in a similar situation. These guys weren't just being friendly, saying "Hi" or they would have spoken to other strangers on the street. Most of these "greetings" were a sexual solicitation of sorts, many pretty obvious. A person walking down the street is not on display in a zoo for people to comment on.

I have been in that situation and it's very scary. IMO, it's not OK to do what these guys were doing. It's rude and aggressive.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:34 PM
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a reply to: brandiwine14

Well, that's also why I tried (and obviously failed at) saying that honestly, from my perspective, would be uncomfortable in a city situation where they would have some random stranger try to talk to them--regardless of gender. When look at this woman walking down the street, some of it is conversation and some of it is creepy. However, I hazard that a guy walking down the street and having some random dude notice them and do the same could also come off as being unnerving.

I think part of the reason why we can perceive those "how ya doin?" guys as being not threatening at all is because we watched the video from the relative safety of our desks/homes/workplaces. Put on a street, particularly in NYC, it's placing an entirely different context to it. We have the luxury of being able to consider their behaviors where, if it were us on the street, would it be so comfortable?

Again, I obviously didn't make it clear enough, but someone talking to me on a street would be unnerving if I was a man or a woman because of that context--city streets aren't known to be safe. The guy trying to get my attention may be wanting to hit me up for a couple dollars for bus fare, could pull a gun on me and say "hand over your wallet", or could be a total lunatic.

It's the context of those city streets that I'm asking for people to view it.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:38 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice

I would only say a few things to this, starting with the NY Penal Code 240's description of harrassment in the 1st degree:


S 240.25 Harassment in the first degree.
A person is guilty of harassment in the first degree when he or she
intentionally and repeatedly harasses another person by following such
person in or about a public place or places or by engaging in a course
of conduct or by repeatedly committing acts which places such person in
reasonable fear of physical injury. This section shall not apply to
activities regulated by the national labor relations act, as amended,
the railway labor act, as amended, or the federal employment labor
management act, as amended.
Harassment in the first degree is a class B misdemeanor.


Now that we have that out of the way, there was only one guy on there that is guilty of harassment--the fella that creepily followed her for >5 minutes. Hell, even as a man I would have started to fear for my personal safety.

The rest of what took place is not harassment as it pertains to the legal system. Sure, they are presumabely unwanted comments, some of which went on a bit too long, but much of it was just people giving a greeting in what I see as an immature way, thinking it made them sound smooth.

See, the problem I have with this video is that it presumes that walking around in public for 10 hours in one of the most densly populated cities on earth should be free of other people from talking to you unless they know you like the comment--it's not a realistic premise on which to base a movement, let alone a video seeking donations for a cause that has an impossible goal.

We live in a society where freedom of speech is a coveted and oft-used right, which includes comments to people in public that are not direct threats. None of these comments were direct threats. Do you sincerely think that if I was built like a male fitness model and walked around in skin-tight clothing that women (and men, probably) wouldn't make the same comments? If so, I think you're fooling yourself into believing that this is a sexism problem. I don't discount the reality that it happens more to women than men, but at the same time, biology does make a difference, and testosterone does create a more sexually-aggressive human being in males. That said, the vast majority of males have matured past vocalizing or acting on that in public to strangers, but many have not.

But really, think about it...100 comments in 10 hours is equivalent to one every six minutes (assuming she was constantly walking). In such a populated are with the number of people she walked past, I'm willing to bet that this is equivalent to less than half of a percent of the men that she walked past. While not ideal, that's still not a big issue, imho.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:38 PM
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a reply to: skalla

No, I'm not saying that talking to someone on a street automatically equates one to a loon. I'm taking it from a perspective of someone who once lived in a downtown setting and taking those events that I know occurred downtown that had nothing to do with sexual harassment. The point is you don't know who the person is and what their intentions are. They could be the nicest person trying to make pleasant conversation or they could be a total lunatic. NYC is NOT known for having very safe city streets.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:40 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice

Thank you for posting this. I've always been able to handle myself with cat-callers but sometimes it goes way beyond a simple "hey girl." I've had several scary encounters and a couple where I thought something might actually happen.

Yesterday was one of those days, some man felt the need to expose himself to me. Thankfully my husband bought me pepper spray after a precious scary incident, so I pepper spayed the man and ran like the wind.

Like you I was about 13 when I had my first experience with a group of grown men cat calling. I was walking from my friends house to mine when a truck with 3 grown men drove by, then again, then again. Another of my friends brothers was driving by and saw them turning in his rear view so he turned around and swooped me up. We hated each other at the time but I am forever grateful to him because if he hadn't picked me up, those men might have.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:42 PM
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originally posted by: Benevolent Heretic

I agree completely with your first post. I have felt VERY uncomfortable in a similar situation. These guys weren't just being friendly, saying "Hi" or they would have spoken to other strangers on the street. Most of these "greetings" were a sexual solicitation of sorts, many pretty obvious. A person walking down the street is not on display in a zoo for people to comment on.

I have been in that situation and it's very scary. IMO, it's not OK to do what these guys were doing. It's rude and aggressive.



Maybe I'm just naive?
Like I said, a lot of them were hitting on her for sure, and some were quite rude, aggressive and frankly scary and that is never acceptable, certainly for a woman on her own ... but some seemed to be genuinely saying "hello"
We also don't see whether they say hi to anyone else because they are only filming the comments and greetings aimed at her.

I'm not the kind of guy who goes around saying hello to pretty girls (or anyone really) I see on the street, but often if someone makes eye contact I'll nod or say hi.

I can see both sides of this to be honest.

The cat calling, wolf whistling and kind of building site sexism is one thing... but saying hello to someone who walks by in a friendly manner, I see no issue with.


edit on 29/10/14 by blupblup because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:45 PM
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a reply to: blupblup


Like I said, a lot of them were hitting on here for sure, and some were quite rude, aggressive and frankly scary, certainly for a woman on her won... but some seemed to be genuinely saying "hello"
We also don't see whether they say hi to anyone else because they are only filming the comments and greetings aimed at her.


Why are they saying hello? What's the intentions? I've responded to a simple hello on the street next thing you know I'm being followed. A woman walking alone has to be careful...



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:46 PM
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a reply to: skalla



To add a little more, I've seen stuff like this happen downtown where someone who starts off friendly to another guy and the circumstance ends up rather explosive. I've seen total strangers throw a punch at total strangers who did NOTHING long before the whole "knock out game" stuff.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:49 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice

Sure, it's not my intention to imply you thought it made one a loon, just my reflection on how people can perceive someone talking to a stranger in a busy city.

I've lived in some pretty rum areas, though as a dude it's a slightly different experience ofc. I often find that the rougher the area, the nicer and friendlier the decent folk, but then there have been times when folk may have assumed i was the potential trouble maker and given me a wide berth.

Sadly, sometimes it really is safer to view everyone as a threat and flat out avoid them (rather than just being a potential threat and to be alert). But it's a shame when we cant give a fellow human a little leeway and it's no surprise many communities have disintegrated when there is no trust, though in many case one can understand the reasons for extreme social caution.

Myself though, i'll carry on as i am and give a little trust to all except those that really set my dogs barking, but as a man who can still look after himself in most situations it's a lot easier for me to say that.



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 02:53 PM
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originally posted by: Jennyfrenzy
Why are they saying hello? What's the intentions? I've responded to a simple hello on the street next thing you know I'm being followed. A woman walking alone has to be careful...


Who knows? Because it's polite, because they have mental issues... because they're in a good mood, because they're hitting on her?

It could be a number of reasons.

As I said.. any actual harassment and creepiness is completely unacceptable and I'm sure "leading some creep on" (in the creeps mind) by saying hello isn't too nice to have to deal with.
But perhaps some people are just genuinely being nice?

Or perhaps America is more crazy than the UK?
Or perhaps I'm a dreamer? Maybe in reality every guy who says hi to a woman is really hitting on her

Reminds me of the Chris Rock sketch... He's probably spot on.


edit on 29/10/14 by blupblup because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 03:03 PM
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originally posted by: blupblup
Like I said, a lot of them were hitting on her for sure, and some were quite rude, aggressive and frankly scary and that is never acceptable, certainly for a woman on her own ... but some seemed to be genuinely saying "hello"


So, a lot of them were hitting on her, rude, aggressive and scary, but a few were saying "hello"? Well, without sounding too bitchy, good for those few. As a woman and rape victim, I'm not even going to hear the few who are genuinely saying 'hello" to me. I'm scared, feel like a piece of meat on display and totally creeped out. I don't think you're being naive, I think you're maybe NOT thinking about her feelings in an attempt to protect those few who MAY have been just being friendly.



often if someone makes eye contact I'll nod or say hi.


I say hi to people all the time. I live in a small town and that's the way we are here. But it's not gender specific and it's never about how one looks or how their ass looks or anything like "DAMN!" ... I NEVER call anyone "baby" on the street. Do you? This woman was NOT making eye contact. She was clearly disturbed at all the attention she was getting. But the men just kept bothering her.



The cat calling, wolf whistling and kind of building site sexism is one thing... but saying hello to someone who walks by in a friendly manner, I see no issue with.


I don't think ONE guy in that video was just being friendly. But to give them the benefit of the doubt, let's assume a few were. I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the vast majority who told her to smile, and persisted when she didn't, commented on her looks, mentioned money, called her "mami", "baby", or "darlin", said simply, "Nice!" or "Damn!" The guy who said "God Bless you, have a good day" is the one who followed her for 5 minutes. God bless you, my ass! He was a freaking stalker.

Watch the video again and see how many genuinely friendly "hellos" there were... while they watched her ass as she walked away.




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