Recently Hollaback posted a public service announcement (that opened many people’s eyes while also garnering a lot of opposition). The video featured a young actress, dressed very casually, walking around New York City for 10 hours, with a hidden camera on a person’s back pack as he/she walked in front of her. In that 10 hour span, this inconspicuous young woman was the subject of over 100 instances of street harassment. From seemingly polite inquiries (ie “good morning, how are you”) to abject cat calling, and even what I would consider stalking (some men followed this woman for several minutes while she tried to ignore them), this video was sad proof of what life is like for an average woman right here in North America. Check out the video for yourself right here:
Pretty intense right? Hollaback’s mission is to end street harassment around the world by bringing light to this very global issue that women and many other individuals who the general public like to single out (homosexuals, transsexuals, people of visible minorities, just to name a few) are subjected to daily. We at Addicted are not against people talking to the objects of their desire, as long as they’re polite, safe and most of all respectful about it. So here are a few tips for those of you who want to show your appreciation, but don’t want to join the ranks of these rude, ignorant and disrespectful harassers.
1. DO NOT CAT CALL
How would you feel if you were on your way to work and someone started commenting on your appearance, body or anything else related to your person? Be respectful, do not treat women like parade floats passing by solely for your entertainment.
2. Read social cues
If you are genuinely attracted or interested in a woman that you pass or see walking around, do yourself and her a favour and have a little social decorum. See if you can catch her eye, see if she perhaps finds you attractive as well, rather than just objectifying her and making her feel uncomfortable or worse, unsafe.
3. Learn the art of polite conversation
If you are successful with number two, it’s now time to engage this woman in polite conversation like the respectful and non creepy human that we all know you can be. Ask her how she’s doing, how her day is going, if she goes to x place (wherever you’ve met her) often. This applies not only to random chance meetings such as these, but any conversation with a new person you’ve just met. You’d be surprised how well you can do by just being nice, polite and most of all respectful.
4. Eyes up here sailor
When you are actually engaged in said polite conversation, please continue to be respectful in every manner, including what your eyes are doing. Avoid letting that gaze drift down, no matter what this woman is wearing. If you do well enough being a cool and polite dude, you’ll get to see the goods soon enough. Don’t blow your chances by being unable to control those baser instincts.
5. Lead by Example
Now that you’ve established yourself as a respectful guy who knows how to talk to women, spread the word and lead by example. If you see instances of street harassment happening in front of you, in your group of friends, do your best to safely and effectively discourage it. I’m not saying you should resort to fisticuffs with the construction workers catcalling a woman on your street, because that can end just as badly for you, but just put the positive, respectful and good guy vibes out there. The sooner more men get on board with this movement, the sooner women everywhere can walk down the street in peace.