That is one excellent article by Janet Bloomfield on the sexist and racist hollaback video! Contains basically everything that I have wanted to say for the past few weeks but didn’t find time to. She even includes her experience of visiting Germany 🙂 where she very aptly observed that no one talks to anyone here. That’s what Germans go to the US for. Not seriously, but during my studies of English and American Literature and Culture I shared one experience with my fellow students and even lecturers: coming back from the US where people are soooooo friendly and having a culture shock because in Germany people on the streets pretend that other people do not exist. So, I found it very weird when the BBC was reporting on that Hollaback video, claiming that this is what women experience in major cities around the world. Absolute BS!
I added to her list of countries this one:
“Also, I would like to add to the list of countries that you have given: Pakistan, where I traveled for 6 weeks, two years ago. I wasn’t out and about that much as I was with my friend from there, stayed with her family and was never far from a car for security precautions as the current threat from terrorism is felt quite severely there. However, I did have interactions with men and those were 100% respectful and polite. Even on the crowded Sunday Bazaar nobody approached me in any way. Guys didn’t stare at me either. They looked just as many women did and were genuinely happy to see a tourist in their country that is feared around the world these days.”
By now, I am sure you have seen this video of a prissy white woman walking the “streets” of New York for 10 hours and being subjected to “harassment”. Those words are in quotations because it turns out that the majority of the people saying hello and other inanities took place on one street in Harlem. Princess has rightly been called out for racism and hysteria, forcing Hollaback to issue an apology. “Gee we had no idea targeting men of color would make us look racist”. Oh whatever. Nice backpedal there, assholes.
I’ve written about street harassment before, specifically from the racism angle but today I want to talk about something bigger than just the racial element, although that’s still a big part of it. What the Hollaback video, and indeed the entire organization and all that is represents does is contribute to a climate of fear…
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