By Rachel Alexander
Last week, a video went viral of a woman walking in New York City receiving numerous flirty remarks from men. At the end of the video, entitled "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman," an organization called Hollaback, which produced it, indicated this was "verbal street harassment" and encouraged people to donate money to fight the practice. It was rather strange, since men regularly give women compliments in public, and most people have never thought twice about it. Some women really enjoy the compliments. The men in the video were mostly black men who didn't appear to be harassing her, simply expressing their opinion about her appearance.
Have we really gotten to the level where the smallest things are now offensive and must be stopped? Where do you draw the line, is just staring briefly at a women also considered harassment? The creator of the video thinks even saying hello is harassment. Should people no longer be allowed to solicit donations, beg for money, or talk to strangers in public because someone, somewhere, might find it offensive? What about complimenting a woman online on Facebook, is that now harassment too?
The truth is, catcalls bother feminists because they're jealous. One of Rush Limbaugh's 35 Undeniable Truths of Life is that "feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society." Feminists are highly critical of women who choose to make a significant effort to look attractive. If they can stop men from complimenting pretty women, they won't have to observe it and feel pangs of jealousy.
The other dynamic at play here is feminists want to make men just like women. They don't want to acknowledge there are differences between the genders; men generally tend to be more aggressive and pursue women.
The woman in the video had big, long hair, was very curvy and wore a tight shirt and tight jeans. She could have chosen not to dress that way and avoid the attention. It is akin to leaving a dollar bill on the ground and making fun of everyone who tries to pick it up, or baiting a hook then laughing at the fish for biting.
Why should everyone else be forced to conform to her choice of dress? The video also portrayed a false, extreme perspective. It was taken over 10 hours of walking around the city, but only the parts where the men complimented the woman were included, making it appear like a barrage.
If the feminists have their way, men will no longer be able to compliment women. This is directly related to the current movement taking place to label men as rape-prone on college campuses. That effort places a stigma on men as more liable to commit rape during a drunken hookup, while ignoring the reality that women also commit rape. This is very dangerous territory, because it leaves the door wide open for women to later falsely accuse men of rape out of revenge, with society conditioned to believe the accusations once the stereotype is put into place.
This is part of an overall pattern by the left to demonize any kind of behavior they don't like, no matter how small, particularly things conservatives - and men - are more likely to do. It tramples all over our constitutional rights. It squelches the First Amendment. If the left can scare conservatives into walking on eggshells, they can silence their viewpoints. They are trying to label every facet of conservative viewpoints into a derogatory category. Males expressing their appreciation for female beauty is put into the sexist and harassment box. Virtually all the descriptions of the video use the word "harassment." It has replaced words like flirt, compliment and even catcall.
Ironically, the more the left attacks behavior on the right, the more it will start overlapping onto areas it claims to champion. Virtually every man in the video who catcalled the woman was black. Black men appear more likely to compliment women than white men, and so targeting this behavior disproportionately affects black men. Hypocritically, there has been little criticism of the video for singling out black men, even though the left is always the first to cry racism.
Also quite telling about the left is that the video took place in one of the bluest cities in the country, run by Democrats. Had the video been filmed in a red city like Salt Lake City, there would have been far fewer catcalls.
Hollaback is receiving taxpayer funding. The New York City Council gave it a $20,000 grant to update its mobile app, which users can use to report alleged harassment to council members. Due to the clever nature of the video, which enabled it to go viral, this ridiculous viewpoint is gaining traction.
The organization's website states that friendly attention "reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces." If the attention makes them feel vulnerable, why not carry a gun? This reveals the hypocrisy of Hollaback. An individual could easily provide themselves with the ultimate self-protection; instead, Hollaback demands that everyone else change their behavior.
Obviously, men should not be crude and rude when complimenting a woman. Most of the men in the video were not overly aggressive. I have no problem with men complimenting my appearance, in fact I have never even thought about it before because it is such a non-issue. However, they may not want to incur the wrath of my protective husband.
Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative. She has been published in the American Spectator, Townhall.com, Fox News, NewsMax, Accuracy in Media, The Americano, ParcBench, and other publications.