I didn’t want to respond or blog about that video until I came to the realization that I’ve actually experienced it. You know that video, the one with the woman who walked through NYC for ten hours and endured cat-calling or street harassment. I didn’t want to respond because like most times when things like this come up I think that the affected should be the ones to speak and the unaffected should show support and be silent. Then I remembered how many times I have been walking down the street with my homegirls and heard the cat calling. I’ve chuckled at some (telling a girl she looks like bacon is flat out disrespectful and funny at the same time, who doesn’t love bacon?), I’ve barked back at some (women are people not headless creatures at least have the decency to look her in the eye) and at times I knew that I had to be the stronger one to say, “We need to just ignore that asshole.” However, I wanted to touch on this for a quick second just because it was important to me.

I saw a lot of comments that came about from the posts of the video in various places. Guys – you let me down. Not all of you, not most of you, but some of you decided to be the Tea Party of the Male Gender and you let us down. And as they say, not only do you embarrass yourself but you embarrass us all. Let’s clear this up why don’t we…

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Seven (or eight) things we need to understand…

1)      As men, there is a way to be cordial without harassing someone. It’s important to understand that even if you are being 100% cordial and nothing more; a response is not required.

2)      As women, it’s important to know that the choice not to response needs to also with the understanding that you may very well ignore someone who had no intentions of harassing you. And that in almost every form of communication when you ignore someone their feelings may get hurt. It doesn’t mean that women need to answer every “hello” or “good morning” it just means that they must be aware of the downstream effects on others not just themselves.

3)      #1 always supersedes #2.

4)      There is a spectrum of street harassment and it’s all up to the person being harassed to determine what is serious and what is not. That means, not some man who is observing.

5)      Here’s the thing, men should just not talk to women they don’t know.

6)      The way our world is set up is that men are presumed owners and have eminent domain over everything in it. Men don’t own that shit enough in our world even when they don’t subscribe to the notion.

7)      The feat in women that ALL men think that they have this omnipresent privilege contributes to their stance on street harassment.

8)      On a lighter but serious note: you can’t be telling women to smile guys…

With all that said, I plan to go enjoy my Friday. I hope you all can do the same. The thing I want you all to know that man or woman, if you walk around New York City for ten hours in a day… you’ll get harassed by someone. Drink responsibly.

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Dr. J