The latest video to have caught the attention of the ranks of the constantly offended is one in which a young woman is filmed walking through areas of Manhattan. The video, filmed over a ten hour period includes various examples of men saying things ranging from “Hey, how you doin’?” to “Have a nice evening, darling”. At the end of the video we are told that if we want to help those who have been affected, we should donate to “Hollaback!”
Curious as to how one helps traumatised women such as the one videoed, who apparently had endured aural and mental torture, I wondered what such money would be going towards. As expected, donations do not go towards providing counselling to women who, after receiving unsolicited comments, are plunged into PTSD nor sadly is the money funnelled into large billboards and public service announcements telling young women to get over themselves and ignore it.
Instead, Hollaback! wants a “culture shift” where unsolicited greetings are seen as taboo, and tells us that catcalling is “sexual assault” and “gender-based violence”, which doesn’t leave many terms to describe more serious offences. If a builder shouting, “Nice legs, love,” is committing an act of sexual assault and “gender-based violence,” then was Rotherham a gender Holocaust?
Despite (or perhaps as a response to) the hilarious identity politics mess it got itself into due to most of the perpetrators of these “assaults” being black or Hispanic, Hollaback!, with the sort of multicultural sensitivity which comes as standard with hand-wringing campaigns, hastens to tell us catcalling is “not a cultural thing” and that all forms of “gender-based violence” follow along the same lines no matter what the country.
Having been to a variety of places I can confirm that in Stavanger, Norway I was more likely to see a flock of catcalling Valkyries than have a man in the street so much as ask me the time of day, whereas in Cambodia I couldn’t be alone for even ten seconds without being propositioned. I imagine that “gender-based violence”, in the world of Hollaback! and its disciples, only refers to catcalling so as not to upset the diversity apple cart, because I can think of a number of countries where women have a lot more to worry about than being complimented on the street.
The problem here, as is always the case when entitled young women who believe they have the right to tell everyone what to do get bees in their bonnets, is that they decide that their opinion is universal among women. It’s why on BBC Radio 5 Live the other week I heard a woman from the NUS saying that at university bars and club nights women don’t want to be approached or chatted up, and that this sort of behaviour must be stopped.
Really? At my university’s bar of an evening there were always groups of girls wearing glamorous outfits and doing their make-up, talking about “hoping to pull” later in the night. Do the NUS feminist brigade ever speak to the sorts of girls for whom fun isn’t defined by brandishing placards proclaiming, “Tory scum, here we come!”, or do they inhabit such an insular bubble that they don’t even laugh out loud at the fact Laurie Penny declared herself the “voice of a generation”?
There are plenty of people who would like to be catcalled; studies have revealed women’s confidence plummets from feeling “invisible” to men as they reach 51, and an American radio talk show host has written a piece about the Hollaback! video making this point. Perhaps these poor young women crying assault need to start checking their “youth privilege”.
The same sorts of feminist, behind the ‘No More Page 3’ and ‘Lose the Lads’ Mags’ campaign fail to accept there are women who like to be objectified, which is why so many Page 3 girls, glamour models, and even just the sorts of girls who read celebrity gossip magazines, are outraged by these middle class prudes wearing (in many cases, literally) what look to be jackboots, attempting to ban ‘Lads’ Mags’ which they and their boyfriends class as harmless fun. “Social justice” 2014 – where privileged middle class girls frown upon working class men and women.
There is also little clarity in what kinds of unsolicited comments are and aren’t a violent assault on womankind. This results in ludicrously subjective anti-harassment codes in student unions that define harassment as “unwanted sexual invitations”. How are people supposed to know whether or not the invitation is wanted unless they ask?
In reality this means feminists have sentenced the Steve Buscemis of the world to sit alone in the nightclub corner nursing a whisky whilst the Robert Pattinsons can flirt their way around the dancefloor with impunity. Liberal Democrat Lord Rennard learned this the hard way.
Words are not, and will never be, violence. The real reason girls are growing up to feel “unsafe” is because feminists of today, rather than encouraging girls to grow up empowered, as men’s equals and ready to face the world, are projecting their hyper-critical view of men where every muscle twitch and turn of phrase must be put through the misogyny detector to scan for traces of possible sexism, and instructing their young female disciples to feel marginalised and vulnerable and report their “microaggressions” to projects like Everyday Sexism.
The Hollaback! website said when they surveyed 811 women they found that 80 percent said they “have to constantly look over their shoulder” and that 45 percent “feel like they can’t go out in public alone.” If these shocking figures are in any way true, it’s modern feminists, not wolf-whistling blokes, that are to blame.