Fangirls, I’m at the first of 2 conventions I’m going to this month, and I know New York Comic Con is coming up next month, so it’s time for a refresher on the importance of safety at conventions. It’s really important to be aware of your surroundings, along with being aware of yourself.
Trigger Warning: Harassment
Since it was uploaded nearly two weeks ago, Fangirls, this video has been outrageously a buzz. It’s one of the most talked about pieces of female awareness that I’ve seen in a long time. I’m happy that it’s gotten so much recognition and that it’s started just a national conversation. I’m not happy, however, about a lot of the ridiculous negative responses that have come from the video, which have been getting just as much press as the video itself.
In this video, a young woman walks around all areas of New York City, wearing jeans and a t shirt. She experiences over 100 instances of verbal harassment and gets followed multiple times. She did nothing at all to provoke these men, as often most women do not. Some may think that this video is extreme, some also think it’s not real. Regardless if any of this was staged or not (though I assure you, it’s real) women have been talking about how unbelievably accurate this video is. This is a portrait of the lives of many women, just trying to get wherever they’re going. Take a look at the video, the ten hours is reduced down to just two minutes. It’s overwhelming to see all that was thrown at her, and know that this was only a small fraction of her day.
The video was done by a group called Hollaback!, who are dedicated to bringing awareness to and ending street harassment. A lot of people have responded really well to the company and the video, bringing up a much needed conversation about this kind of verbal harassment. However, there is also a lot of people who have also brought up a whole other side to the conversation, a much more negative one. You see, there is now this other video, one that has now gotten more views that the street harassment video itself. The video is from CNN and presents a conversation between the host, comedian Amanda Seales, and Steven Santagati, author of MANuel, a guide to how to “be a man”. What happens is an electrifying and frustrating argument between the two guest, and some absolutely outrageous things come out of this man’s mouth. He talks about how men cannot be blamed for looking at and appreciating a woman, and wanting to give them a “compliment”. He says that women should be happy that they get so much attention, and if they don’t like it or feel threatened, they should carry a gun.
This man makes my blood boil, and he represents a whole other side to this conversation, of people who just don’t get it. They think that these men are simply complimenting these women, they don’t see that these women are not asking for this, that they are being harassed, that it’s disrespectful and completely wrong. To them, this is all happy dandy and women are there for them to oodle with their eyes at all time. Back the fuck off, Santagati. You haven’t got a whole lot of people on your side.
However, it is important that this argument is happening. Street harassment is something that everyone sees, everyone endures, yet no one really talks about. It’s become a way of life, something that women (& men, too) have to go through, and something that has no remedy. But we all know that’s not true, there’s ways to cut this crap out, to teach people to back off, and give everyone some respect.
To learn more about this project and Hollaback! Visit their website right here.
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