I thought this video, which has been widely shared on Twitter, would be all over Facebook by now, but so far no one in my small circle of friends has posted it.

Too often, when women try to explain the sexual harassment they experience on the street, fending off or trying to ignore comments and cracks, men, though they may not say it out loud, think “Girl, if you’re not talking actual assault or rape, I’m tuning you out.” It’s a lot more effective to show it in action, as this video does.

I was going to post it to Facebook myself, because I think it’s a good teaching tool (Jessica Williams recently did a Daily Show segment that makes the same point about sexual catcalling, and I was going to post it too), but then I started overthinking it, as usual.

If I post it, as a man, will I look like one of those creeps who take women’s studies classes as a ploy to get laid? If I forward it to women I know, hoping they’ll post it so I can share it, will they see right through me?

Then I read an article in Slate pointing out that out of ten hours of footage, whoever put it together edited out catcalling white men and left only men of color. So it’s a racist video, and now I’m a racist because I didn’t pick up on that the first time I watched it, no doubt because my inner racist saw those dark-skinned men hey-babying that woman and subconsciously thought, “Well of course, they were all raised in primitive cultures where boys are valued over girls.” Now I’m an awful person just for thinking about posting it!

Like I said, overthinking. Watch the damn video, guys, and try to understand what women are telling you.

© 2014, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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One thought on “Hey, Baby

  • I saw it, and all I could think was, “Damn! About damn time!” Men truly have no idea what it’s like. You want to look at them and say, “How would you like it if someone talked like that to your girlfriend, or your wife, or daughter, or your mother?”

    My worst experience occurred late-ish one night in the middle of downtown Sacramento. I’d just gotten off work (this was back when I was secretary-ing my way through grad school) and was waiting for the bus on a busy, well-lit corner. Some old wino sat down next to me and started on a long and sexually explicit dialogue that only ended when the bus finally showed up. Having been brought up to be a lady (as I said, back in the old, old days) I did the only thing I knew: I ignored him. But, my God, it seemed like forever until the bus finally showed up. I felt dirty, used, and just a little bit diminished, as if he’d taken something away from me.

    Yes, all men should watch it, but I’m not sure they’d get the point. I mean, don’t all men enjoy sexual come-ons? See, women have their own set of myths about men. At least, I certainly hope they’re myths. Someone reassure me, please.

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