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Talking to Random Strangers on the Street

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posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 10:43 AM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice

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.

You really are asking for it :-)

The fact that you didn't get much of a bite kind of says it all. This is a damned if you do , damned if you don't thread if I ever saw one - if I was a man I'd be afraid to even come into this thread (unless I was willing to apologize profusely for my gender and do a little bowing and scraping)

I hope you'll take me at my word WhiteAlice - I'm here because I'm up for the discussion you should have had - not the one you got. My take on all this is a little different from yours, but that doesn't mean I disagree with you completely


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.

That's practically the motto of feminists everywhere - I'm pretty sure it's in the manifesto. So, in fact, you are a feminist. I think it's interesting that felt you needed to put up a disclaimer in your OP

I have to wonder - what is it that you think is so distasteful about feminism that you felt you first needed to distance yourself from it before you go on to ask for the respect all women deserve?


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.

But, it absolutely is about this woman being attractive - and objectified. I don't see how we can have an honest conversation about this without acknowledging that we just saw the results of following a very attractive woman around Manhattan for hours and hours...

So, my first real contribution to this thread (and trust me - I know what I'm getting myself into here) :-)

Is this: I think it's laughable that they picked NYC - entrapment pure and simple. Catcalling in NYC is practically an art form - it's certainly part of the culture. East coast culture? Yeah - it's it's own thing - and I love it

But, how will it play in Peoria? :-)

It happens everywhere - it's true. But seriously - that video would have been different if they'd made it here in Denver

There has been a lot of talk about this in the media lately - and rightly so. As a woman who considers herself a feminist - without hesitation - I'm constantly made aware of my status - and areas of vulnerability in this world

But sexual objectification is not always misogyny - is it?

Sex - the way we feel about sex, the many different ways we come to react to sexual situations - is the real conversation we should be having

This whole new argument in the media lately (and on campus) about Yes Means Yes Is one of the more fascinating things to happen in our culture to (for?) women in a very long time

Catcalling is demeaning to some women - not to others, and then - sometimes it depends on the situation

I see comments made about and to attractive women here at ATS all the time - what are we as women supposed to do about that I wonder? Should we do anything? Should we even care? :-)

There is a major storm brewing at the moment about actual misogyny on the internet (and in our world) - and it is getting pretty ugly out there. I've been following this Hollaback movement for a while now. I think it's a little - lame

Honestly? If it makes more men aware that it makes some women feel uncomfortable to the point of feeling threatened - more power to them. But I think they're working against nature - and barking up the wrong tree

Men aren't the enemy - our culture is a little closer to the mark, but even then - what is it we're fighting here?

True misogyny is about so much more than sex and sexual attraction


edit on 10/30/2014 by Spiramirabilis because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 02:27 PM
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a reply to: Spiramirabilis

It's not so much that I'm distasteful about feminism in particular. I'm distasteful of most labeling and groupings in general. I'm autistic. I really don't get that stuff and I find that labeling and stereotyping tends to get in the way of every conversation on a variety of subjects. Don't believe me? Take a look at the majority of these threads where one group or another are pointed at with a finger of blame. If one wants to have an actual conversation about a situation, then the foremost thing that should be on everyone's mind is looking at the incident with objectivity. Stripping the feminism brand from this thread was to have a heart to heart without interfering predispositions and assumptions. Sorry that you cannot understand the benefits of that. There is more than one way to do battle, Spira. The direct fashion in which you will be hit with every argument and response that has been played out and shown to be ineffective or you can move sideways and flank.

I never denied that the attention that she was getting on the street was because of her physical endowments. That wasn't even a part of my language. Instead, my point, which I did actually manage to make, was that instead of perceiving all the commentary (or most except the creepy stuff as merely being complimentary) was to juxtapose what she was experiencing against the rules of street smarts. If a man walking down a street in NYC is wary of, as skalla put it earlier, the possibility of "street theater" erupting from random strangers that try to get his attention, then what of a woman who is bombarded as she's walking down the street because she is viewed as being attractive?

I'm actually pretty satisfied with this thread. If you think I'm unaware of things, perhaps you should review my participation on these forums on the various subjects. I'm not down with having those preset arguments that fail.



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 04:02 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice

I'm distasteful of most labeling and groupings in general.

Declaring you're not a feminist is still labeling yourself :-) If it was unnecessary to your argument, you' wouldn't have said it - which is why I brought it up


Stripping the feminism brand from this thread was to have a heart to heart without interfering predispositions and assumptions. Sorry that you cannot understand the benefits of that. There is more than one way to do battle, Spira.

Preparing for battle is still preparing for battle - it's your own expectations that set that course

Which is neither here or there - I'm not here to do battle. If you had read what I wrote, you would realize this is true :-)

I just don't agree with your premise - or conclusion - not that I think (at this point) that I understand either one

You said this in an earlier post:


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.

Which tells me that you and I are having two very different conversations - with each other

My post was a reply to your OP as I understood it then, but having reread through some of your posts I now realize that it's a perfectly valid reply to the video and the people behind the video - but not at all to what you were really trying to say

So, with that - we'll just leave it at that

I love the city and almost all that comes with it - even though in my heart I will always be a country girl

It's not for everyone WhiteALice - and that's the truth. It can be scary and unsettling. We do have to take certain precautions, we always need to be aware - and to some extent we have to have a certain appreciation for 'street theater' in our blood to thrive in an urban environment



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 04:26 PM
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originally posted by: Benevolent Heretic

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.


The problem with that line of reasoning is that if someone does not say "Hi" to every single person, then they if they say "Hi" to you, you are making the assumption there is something creepy to it. Maybe you just met their eye?

I do know that if half the stuff in this video is "sexual" harassment, I was "sexually" harassed by a policeman in the Quick Trip this morning who asked me if I had watched the last World Series game last night while we were both filling our coffee cups. I was also harassed by the older man who was crossing behind me at the counter when I happened to back up into him and he said "Excuse me, ma'am!" And I also get verbally harassed every time someone holds the door for me or I for them and we say "Thank you!" or something else.

I just ask myself, if this were coming out a woman's mouth, would it upset me? If the answer is no, then I don't get upset.



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 05:11 PM
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a reply to: Spiramirabilis

I think you're misunderstanding a whole lot. Saying one is not a feminist is not donning another label. It's an avoidance of the use of social grouping based on an objective viewing of oneself. If I were to look at "what is a feminist?" as a label, I would fail that definition of being a feminist on multiple counts based on my perception of what being a feminist is. For example, using your preceding post, one of your chief complaints was that women are objectified and that this is something to be disturbed with. However, I see a whole lot of women who routinely objectify men and so it's hypocritical to complain about the objectification of women by men when there is just as much objectification of men by women. That's hypocrisy.

One's sexuality and attractiveness, regardless of gender, is going to lend towards some level of objectification via the presentation of statements by the attracted party and it is a predilection in both genders. All one has to do to see that is examine a conversation online about the latest and greatest "hottest men" on earth--Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson, or whomever floats your particular boat. Even the cute delivery guy to an office can be a recipient of idle chatter and dream statements that thoroughly objectify the young man. Women, in that regard, are just as guilty of that as men. The difference, however, is when it is stated and, ergo, sociological.

A woman may actively objectify a man but odds are, because of sociological gender differences, is very unlikely to directly say so their face. Odds are it'll be stated in confidence to that woman's peers. The vocalization of that objectification does not occur generally within hearing range or within the presence of that cute delivery boy. A woman catcalling a man is an almost incongruous image. It is not socially acceptable for a woman to do so as it is "unwomanly". The sociological tendency over the last hundred years has been for a woman to be "above such things" while for men, you have cartoon examples showing catcalling as being "ok" (Helloooooooo Nurse!). Both genders still do it. It's just a difference in timing and whether that attractive individual is made aware of it.

I think that is the point where conflict arises and, as you said in your post, it's cultural. If one doesn't like that, then what does one do about it? Well there are two basic options--one would be to fight those cultural norms that make it more of an acceptable activity for men (as you put it, an "art form" in NYC). Or, alternatively, women could start doing the same to men and stop pretending that they don't objectify them ever. I personally think the latter would probably be easier and quite possibly more effective. If there is more contentiousness on some of these issues, then perhaps it is because men, thanks to the internet, can now see that women do, in fact, objectify men and are also noting that hypocrisy.

Does the above views make me a feminist or not? Who knows and frankly, I don't care. I'm just observing human behaviors and pointing out the hypocrisies on both sides. Therefore, I am neither here or there on the subject and thoroughly planted on the in-between. Most of all, what I see as occurring between the two genders from my perspective, is a lot of the same arguments and accusations being hashed out over and over again with little efficacy. We're all grown ups, here (well presumably). You'd think that we could have a decent conversation that rises above finger pointing and instead, shares experiences and perspectives.

Not every guy in that video was a misogynist. I saw a couple that looked like they could've been homeless. Some men calling out and even saying something complimentary are just trying to get attention because they're hoping you'll reward them with a buck in their cup. I've been called out to as beautiful by a homeless guy and I knew exactly what he wanted--a bit of change for whatever he was aiming for at the time. Are there true misogynists? ABSOLUTELY. I'd say that those two creepers that followed her are the real examples of that.



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 05:31 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice

She is an attractive lady by most men's standards.

These men want to tell her that or say hello. And this is NYC for crying out loud. I don't think it's very representative of other parts of NY or the world due to the literal crazies being set loose every few years by the state to cut costs. I went to Brewster NY and everyone there was polite and courteous. I've been to Yonkers, same deal. I go to NYC proper and someone smacked my Boston Red Sox Hat (go sox) off my head and then got surprised when I smacked his head hard enough to knock him over

I say hello to random strangers. I also say good morning.

Does that make me sexist that I say both to women and men? What is the point of this video?
Is it that women in NYC get harassed by random catcallers? It's been happening since the dawn of time and no amount of feminism or any other ism will ever get rid of the urge to talk with an attractive member of the opposite species



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 05:51 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice

I hate cities and never walked around one really but this stunned me.

What is going on? Are the men desperate not enough women? This is an average looking person not a known movie star or something! If this were my city population around 10,000 people would smile at one another and walk by. I lived in Redding ca when I was 11 population around 90,000 now, this didn't happen to my gorgeous older sister guys looked, smiled and walked on.
Now how do I feel about it? I feel like I would never walk down the street it would be just too much for me.

In stores everyone talks to me, my hair starts conversations and some are pretty silly, a woman with two guys asked me the other day "does it ever get in your butt crack!" LOL yes really she did! I put up with all these things and much more just because I look different but the girl on the video to me looks normal and average.... maybe the back of her is really astounding :-0



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 05:53 PM
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a reply to: thisguy27

Nope, it sure doesn't. It makes you a person who chooses to be friendly in a sometimes unfriendly world. I'm guessing you might have missed the part where I said that most of the people in that video were probably just trying to be friendly. The attractiveness may have been what led them to note her but their intentions were most likely not ill. Hence why I titled this thread as "talking to random strangers" instead of "sexism in NYC".

I have had some pretty disturbing things happen on the street (or on public transportation) and I think those are the real issue. I've never been to NYC, btw. Different metropolis on the West Coast. Like you said, with our mental healthcare system the way it is, those people are more likely to be on the streets than somewhere where they are actually getting help. The problem, I think, that that video shows is that, when confronted with the crazies over and over again, the distinctions between intentions start getting blurred til they can no longer distinguish between the friendly and the actual threat. It's a different kind of street smarts where you'd just prefer to be invisible on the streets instead of dealing with the possible crazies.

I suffered from that issue myself for a good long while and while I still would prefer invisibility, I'll still give a smile and a nod to someone who doesn't creep the hell out of me. I was able to re-balance my perspective to a healthier one.



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 06:03 PM
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a reply to: skalla



Should one use that as reason to never talk to another human in a public place who you have not met before?

A ton of information is in a tone of voice. I would say hi to anyone and do who say hi to me but not if they are using that...tone.



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 06:11 PM
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a reply to: Char-Lee

If I had to guess, it'd probably be her front that would've been the eye catcher. As Spira above remarked, doing this in NYC where catcalling is an art form, the video is a bit of an entrapment. On most streets of other cities, it'd be more like your sister's experience of just being stared at for a moment and then a smile with the occasional experience with a super cretin. I was apparently "striking" (which I always equated with being so ugly that it was like getting hit in the face with a brick) when I was younger and I've had both the experience like your sister and the totally repulsive happen. I do agree with Spira that it's likely to be a NYC culture thing and the only thing that is consistent from city to city are those occasional, very scary super cretins. The super cretins do exist everywhere but you know what? They aren't representative of the whole of the male species. They're representative of being nutjobs.

I used to have super long hair for a time and lol, know what you're talking about. I finally hacked it all off to chin length because I got sick of people commenting on my hair. I was beginning to feel like all people saw of me was my hair so that was the logical course for me, lol. Not to mention it was a total pain in the rear to maintain. My condolences oh long haired one, lol.



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 07:00 PM
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Yeah, I live in a city in the Midwest, and I've only really had one experience that I would qualify as harassing to the point I felt uncomfortable. I was working with an inventory company, and we were counting at a store that paired us up with its employees. My employee partner totally harassed me all day. I even pointedly talked about my husband and it did nothing.

But aside from that, most of my experiences have been just men being friendly. Maybe there was more to it, but if there was, it was hidden in the small talk.

My other observation is that with African Americans, "Damn!" was a sort of catch-all exclamation. So all those times someone was exclaiming after her could be catcalling and could be them catching a glimpse of her stink-eye because she wasn't carrying herself in a very friendly or inviting way.



posted on Oct, 30 2014 @ 09:34 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice


For example, using your preceding post, one of your chief complaints was that women are objectified and that this is something to be disturbed with.

Here you're not understanding me. I observed and acknowledged that she was being objectified - I never said that this was something disturbing. The word objectified is maybe a bit pejorative, so I see how you think that's what I meant. I think objectification is normal - obvious - expected


However, I see a whole lot of women who routinely objectify men and so it's hypocritical to complain about the objectification of women by men when there is just as much objectification of men by women. That's hypocrisy.

Absofreakinglutely


Does the above views make me a feminist or not? Who knows and frankly, I don't care. I'm just observing human behaviors and pointing out the hypocrisies on both sides. Therefore, I am neither here or there on the subject and thoroughly planted on the in-between. Most of all, what I see as occurring between the two genders from my perspective, is a lot of the same arguments and accusations being hashed out over and over again with little efficacy. We're all grown ups, here (well presumably). You'd think that we could have a decent conversation that rises above finger pointing and instead, shares experiences and perspectives.


I'm not invested in your being a feminist WhiteAlice. In fact, after this post - I'm kinda happy to accept that you're not. You're a humanist - which is even better

Oops! Sorry - another label. You'll have to forgive me - I'm only human :-)

And anyway - the term feminist is like a pair of training wheels on a bike - ultimately the goal should be for all of us to accept that we are all human, equal, and yet - not. At least, not all in the same ways - if you know what I mean

Which brings us back to gender and all the many differences that come with all of that - endlessly fascinating

Nothing to argue with here - and, as I mentioned earlier - we were having different conversations anyhow. My first post really belonged in that other thread


...If one doesn't like that, then what does one do about it? Well there are two basic options--

I would add one more option - accept that this is a behavior that exists for a reason, and carry on

I know that for many women most of this behavior is unacceptable and that that kind of attention is not welcome. Out of all of it - I personally believe most of it is harmless. But, when it's not harmless it's a real danger. I've been in a few situations myself, so it's not like I don't understand what women are complaining about

I just think that a movement dedicated to stopping street harassment is a waste of time - in more ways than one and for more than one reason

I think this a great topic - I hope this thread gets more attention




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