Minneapolis catcallers exposed in video series

The men of Minneapolis — some of them, anyway — are getting international attention for their Neanderthal ways.

A Minneapolis woman — identified as 28-year-old Lindsey — has been filming men who catcall. It’s not pretty.

“I am genuinely interested in what place this is coming from,” she tells Buzzfeed.

She created Cards Against Harassment, which offers women ways to respond, including handing them cards which can be downloaded from the website.

Based on her videos, Minneapolis has a diverse group of tormentors.

“The theme I hear the most often is that they truly, genuinely think it’s a compliment, and they are shocked,” she tells Buzzfeed. “If that is true, then simply telling people it’s not a compliment may go a long way.”

  • MrE85

    This sort of bad behavior make me want to apologize on behalf of our gender, and slap the catcallers. That’s not the way a man is supposed to act, guys. Do you need better role models, or what?

    • kevinfromminneapolis

      I agree. There’s a tasteful way to give a compliment and then there’s harrassment as demonstrated here. I think it’s good we not let the distinction be blurred.

      • ironkitten

        Just…don’t. If you are a stranger, please just don’t.

        • kevinfromminneapolis

          To be clear, I don’t talk to people. Period.

        • Great Granny

          Why do people think it is ok to comment about how someone looks? When I was young I got more than my share of “looks” – now that I am much older I get “you look good for someone your age” or something like that – really????????? Am I supposed to be flattered? Grateful? Where indeed are these people coming from?

  • Joe

    Why is that sexist stick figure tickling the smaller stick figure?

  • Dave

    So they apologized (early in the video) for looking at her, yet she continues to berate them. “This isn’t a situation that’s going to result in a date.” Well, that’s nice. Maybe they weren’t after a date. “Most women don’t want to be approached by a stranger.” Missing details here — did they approach her?

    Men look at women. There are whole industries (apparel, cosmetics, plastic surgery) that take advantage of this fact.

    I think this person has an attention deficiency disorder or something. I don’t want you looking at me, but I’m going to come over and film you and your voice with my phone (without your permission) and also interrogate you. Then I’m going to put the video on YouTube. She must walk the streets with her phone in movie mode, listening intently to what strangers say about her.

    I bet she’s fun at a party.

  • Kassie

    One woman has commented on this, and she was dismissed immediately by Starquest. Yet every woman who has spent time downtown, at a mall, waiting for the bus has been catcalled or given unwanted attention. This woman happened to film it, so you blame her. Do you blame every woman? Are we all attention seekers? Do we all get dressed every day in hopes that some jerk gives us inappropriate attention?

  • kath

    I am a 56 year old woman. From the time I was 12, I have experienced cat-calling, harassing behavior in all types of situations – walking to school, shopping, waiting for a bus, jogging, biking, and just trying to get from point A to point B. Men have yelled at me from trucks, bridges, across the street, or whenever they seem to have the opportunity and I am alone. I am just an ordinary, average-looking woman. Although I try to dress nicely and appropriately for whatever my situation is, I wear minimal amounts of make-up and don’t get all “dolled-up” except for special occasions. So my experience tells me a woman doesn’t need to be a “dolled-up” supermodel to receive this unwanted attention. Even when I don’t get cat-called, the fear is always there in the back of my mind, wondering will it happen this time and how will I react? The older I get, the more I believe this behavior is not so much about a woman’s appearance as it is about power and intimidation. Men who thoughtlessly engage in cat-calling need to ask themselves why they are doing it. Does a guy yelling “hey, baby” at me from his car window really think I will feel complimented?

    • Kassie

      Exactly. It doesn’t matter what you wear. I often see young Muslim women get cat-called. They are clearly not dressing in a way that is “asking for it.” It is about power and intimidation.

    • echoegami

      Exactly, and the creepy thing is you don’t even have to be “of age” to get harassed like this. Men routinely cat call young girls who are obviously young and not of age.

      It doesn’t matter what we wear or what we’re doing, men feel entitled to comment upon us because that’s all we’re worth is how pleasing or not we are to men. Of course we don’t have thoughts, feelings, ambitions of our own, we’re only here to be objectified.

      • ARCC Guy

        Men, or some men? I agree it is a problem, and family education, peer pressure and bystander intervention need to be increased. But please, let us specify with ‘these men’ and not all men. It isn’t all men.

        • Kassie
          • ARCC Guy

            Thanks, Kassie, but I don’t agree that the term should be used. The points made by the author (interestingly he uses splitting himself multiple times in the first paragraphs: “by many such groups”, ” these men”, ” these loathsome people.” ) I don’t believe it takes away from the discussion. I believe it makes it more inclusive. Asking that all men not be included in the statements does not deny or invalidate the problen, the experiences of the speaker or any person, or the right of any person to be free from harassment. What it does is allow allies. Is it a defensive reaction? You bet. Accuse me of what I do, but please don’t include every group member in your blanket statements that are actually about the actors. Too many men (one is too many) do these things. And too many men (again) are included in all men do these things. Lastly, Kassie, if your friend was robbed by a woman, how would you feel if she posted that women need to learn not to steal?

        • echoegami

          Not all men but #yesallwomen

        • Chris Mattson

          Of course it isn’t all men, I know ecoegami wasn’t talking about me, I don’t behave or think that way, I honestly think the ‘these men’ was implied.

  • echoegami

    Starting at age 5 I’ve been harassed by strange men all of my life. They’ve followed me home, pulled their cars over to ask for directions while masturbating, jumped out of the shadows to proposition me, they whistle, cat call… there was one guy at a bus stop across the street from me who kept yelling at me to come over to him. I ignored him as long as possible until I couldn’t take it any more and yelled back, “I’m not your dog.” He responded by running up to me yelling and threatening me. When I finally got him to stop verbally abusing me he told *me* I have to watch what I say! Where is *his* responsibility to watch what he says? Would you want strange men verbally harassing your mother? Your daughter?

    When I am in public I realize that I am on view for anyone who is also in the area, that is the nature of being in public. However, this does not mean that I should be subjected to your verbal observations and harassment about my appearance nor other more intrusive comments. If I want your opinion I’ll ask you but you can safely bet I don’t care and don’t want to know that you think I’m “hot” or “cute” or that I should “smile.”

    I am so fucking sick of men feeling obliged to comment on me and my sisters, it’s not a compliment, it’s harassment. Period.

    • LtotheP

      Echo, I’m so sorry this has happened to you over and over. I know, I feel like people don’t realize this is actually a thing that happens instead of something we’re “making up.” Just this past Sunday morning I was walking to my local neighborhood coffee shop and saw a man gardening in his front yard. We made eye contact so I said “hello,” his response was to try to get me to go into his house. It was awful, frightening, and pretty much ruined my leisurely Sunday morning… when are people going to realize that this is a huge problem, it makes us feel unsafe, and we should not have to put up with it? I think what Lindsey is doing is amazing, remarkable, and I am so proud she’s from here.

  • ironkitten

    If you are a man and you are coming here to say anything other than, “Wow, that really SUCKS. I’m sorry that happens to women every single day of their lives,” just don’t. Don’t.

    • Humans are very complex. They can agree with the ideal that women should never be harassed and that catcalling is terrible and still raise reservations about a specific case like this. The title of this blog wasn’t “Harassing Women is Bad: Agree or Disagree.” If you don’t want to discuss nuance, go ahead and write everybody who doesn’t perceive everything in black and white off as ignorant monsters.

      I have a girlfriend, a little sister and a mother and the thought of any of them experiencing this harassment on the streets is enough to make my blood boil. But I didn’t write “Wow, that really SUCKS. I’m sorry that happens to women every single day of their lives.” So, am I wrong to express my thoughts in the comments?

      • ironkitten

        What, pray, nuance could there possibly be?

        • “Wow, that really SUCKS. I’m sorry that happens to women every single day of their lives”

          • ironkitten

            You’re a toddler.

          • It’s really cool when you’re participating in a discussion in the comments and then somebody comes in later and declares that every comment that doesn’t state “Wow, that really SUCKS. I’m sorry that happens to women every single day of their lives,” is the result of a misogynist. Go participate in the Star Tribune comments if that’s all you can add.

          • ironkitten

            Did you hurt yourself with that leap? Make sure you are doing your stretches. Don’t want to pull a hamstring.

          • ironkitten

            Seriously. What are the “nuances” of cat-calling? I think we’d all like to know. Is it that you can make kissy noises and stick your tongue out at a woman if her skirt is shorter than her fingertips but not if she’s wearing pants? Please explain.

          • I was wondering if using the videos is the best way to handle this or if perhaps a part of the sensationalism of this webseries is to create the viral sensation that is currently going on. You and I agree 100% on this topic. I never want to hear about my girlfriend being harassed walking through the St. Paul Skyways ever again. Where I disagree with you is that I do not believe that there is only one way to comment. People should be free to voice their thoughts and opinions.

          • Dave

            There was no cat-calling in the first video. The construction workers only said something to her after she approached them (with camera rolling).

          • ironkitten

            Oh ok, Starburns.

      • Veronica

        No, but the “She’s asking for it” tone of the comments is disgusting, there IS no nuance other than you thinking the women you know don’t deserve to be catcalled, but some women do. Not how it works.

        • I don’t understand where in any of my comments you can infer the suggestion that some women deserve to be catcalled. That’s a terrible thought, Veronica, and not one I advocate. I do advocate the freedom to discuss ideas and topics. It’s much better to correct a person who mistakenly thinks something is wrong than to say they don’t deserve to even speak about it.

    • ARCC Guy

      Sorry, Iron, but I don’t agree. Without engaging full participation in these conversations, you lose almost half of your audience, if not more. Everyone should be involved in talking this out.

      • ironkitten

        OK, I’ll bite. Talking what out? Cat-calling is fine if she’s wearing red lipstick, but not fine if she’s an uggo?

        • Maybe a person actually thinks that he’s being nice and complimenting women with his catcalls and by commenting and saying so, he will finally have the opportunity to be corrected and informed about the error of his ways by somebody who knows better.

        • ARCC Guy

          No, more like how do we change the culture? How do we get parenst involved in educating civility and respect? Is there a role for the legal system, the school system, unions, large employers? That kind of discussion-based exploration of solutions.

  • CheeseMan

    It goes beyond catcalls. I am a 50 year old male who has lived here for over 25 years. The has been a shift in behavior. We hate to go out in the Twin Cities much anymore because everywhere we go my girlfriend gets propositioned and groped even when I am standing with her holding hands. Testosterone and porn apparently has made life their personal fantasy to act on. There is much wrong with the Minnesota male attitude. I have heard many stories recently where the woman is scared to stay and afraid to leave. As father of 3 daughters, i deplore this and encourage all to take some action to educate and increase assault arrests.

    • echoegami

      Don’t fool yourself, CheeseMan. This isn’t limited to the Twin Cities, it happens every where and I would argue there are places outside of MN where it happens more frequently and more dangerously.

  • ARCC Guy

    I get (and support) video 2, but the conversation with the group of men who looked at her- that I have a harder time with. We don’t get to see what she did, but asking that people don’t look at you is a tough standard, isn’t it?

    • Susan WB

      There’s “look” and then there’s “ogle,” and those are not the same thing.

      • ARCC Guy

        Perhaps they had tongues hanging out, but the video didn’t say. With no auditory addition to looking, where is the line, Susan?

        • Susan WB

          As with most things, different people will draw the line in different places. But the point is, how many guys like these stop to consider that maybe the recipient of their attention doesn’t want it? Are they really surprised that it’s uncomfortable for some, or even many, women? Even if only half of us are creeped out, isn’t that too many?

          • Dave

            The construction workers do not appear to have vied for her attention.

            Does that fact matter in this discussion? It doesn’t appear so.

          • Susan WB

            I think you misread what I said. No, they weren’t trying to get her attention, but she wasn’t trying to get theirs, either, and received it anyway. That’s the point.

            I get that you don’t like what she’s doing, and in particular you object to her methods. And I’m not a big fan of recording people without their knowledge, either. But the bigger issue here is not her methods, it is that they document a very common phenomenon that makes many women in our community – including me – feel unsafe while going about their daily lives. Is that not a concern to you?

          • Dave

            Yes, it’s a concern for me. That isn’t the point. My sympathy for her declines when it becomes clear that she is obviously trolling.

            The cynic in me now really wonders: what WAS she wearing? She evidently has a lot of men really wagging their tongues at her. Now please don’t give me some crap about me saying she deserves it, because that’s not what I’m saying. But I wonder, does every woman who walks downtown receive this kind of harassing, unwanted attention? Because if that’s the case, then we have a real problem that needs to be addressed by law enforcement.

            She wasn’t trying to get their attention. OK. Sure, you can say that. Next time I walk downtown (or anywhere), I’ll wear a blindfold so that I don’t accidentally look at someone who is not trying to get my attention.

          • Susan WB

            Actually, yes, many of us do receive it. Regularly. Not just downtown. Walking down the street in my neighborhood, or out to lunch at work. Maybe she was trying to get attention. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. But I know that I’m not seeking it, and it happens to me, and it happens to lots of women I know. You don’t have to wear a blindfold. You can just refrain from staring at me or whistling or calling out. Is that really so much to ask? A little respect? And don’t tell me you don’t know the difference between “looking” and “staring.” Your mother probably taught you not to stare at people. Would you stare at a guy in a wheelchair? Someone with a disfiguring facial injury? Apply the same restraint to women, and you’ll do fine.

          • Dave

            Thanks for the advice, Susan, but I already do just fine.

            And yes, sometimes people stare at a guy in a wheelchair. Sometimes people stare at a guy with an an injury. I lost my hair at 16 and people started at me. Sometimes people stare at women, and sometimes people stare at men. Sometimes WOMEN STARE AT MEN.

            Somebody else in this thread said that humans are complex. Holy christ was that a mistake.

          • Susan WB

            Of course people stare in other instances. That doesn’t mean it’s not rude. And FWIW, I’m sorry people stare at your hair loss. That’s rude, too. I’m glad to hear you treat people you meet out in public with respect. I just wish more people did.

          • Dave

            You’re right, staring is rude. But why do some people stare? Are they just being intentionally rude and piggish? Or is it something a little teeny eensy bit more complex than that?

          • Susan WB

            For the most part, it’s probably because they haven’t realized they’re being rude. Which is kind of the point that was made in the final comment in Bob’s original post.

          • Dave

            That’s not what I’m asking. Everyone knows it’s rude. I’m asking why people stare at people. Why is there a temptation?

          • Susan WB

            Noticing difference is part of what the human brain does best. The temptation to stare probably comes from that. But there are many natural impulses we learn to control in order to be part of civilized society. I’m trying to teach my son not to stare at others who are different, but it’s not an easy lesson.

          • ARCC Guy

            I agree- creeping someone out is bad. But I’m trying to grasp the idea that as I, say, wait for the Green Line, and I am passed by a person I find interesting, attractive, intriguing- whatever- that it is offensive to look at them. I’m not talking about being on the train and keeping eye contact, or spending the ride or a large portion of it giving this person the many-times-over. I’m talking about noticing and looking as the person passes by. Are we to spend our lives with eyes to the ground? I know there is a line somewhere, Susan. If I see the person coming down the sidewalk and I watch them approach, pass and walk away, that may well by uncomfortable. That is why I ask about the line.

          • Dave

            The answer is apparently so simple! Sure, you can look. Just don’t look “too much.” Don’t stare. And not at the wrong person. Or in the wrong place. And definitely not if that person is filming you. I mean, do I have to spell it out?

          • ARCC Guy

            Yes, you are a funny guy, Starquest. But this is actually a real topic. using myself rather than talk in abstractions, if I would never make these kinds of comments, but I use my eyes to enjoy who and what I see around me, including attractive people (let’s stipulate in non-creepy-stares), am I still making those people uncomfortable with enough frequency that I should alter my looking? And if it is one in a thousand, or one in one hundred who might be offended, do I get the percentages, or is that chance too much? This is a cultural reexamination, or at least the chance for one.

          • Susan WB

            I don’t have good answers for these questions. I guess my rule of thumb would be, “Would I object to someone else behaving this way towards someone I care about?” If the answer is ‘yes,’ or ‘maybe,’ then perhaps reconsider. No matter what we do in life, sometimes we’ll unintentionally cross lines. Do the best you can, and try to say something if you think others are crossing the line. That’s about all anyone can do.

        • echoegami

          When three men stop talking and outright stare at me as I walk past it’s a bit intimidating not to mention really irritating.

  • Susan WB

    That jerk who believes that women dress up specifically in order to attract attention from strange men on the street really ticks me off. Sometimes I have a big presentation at work. I dress more nicely, fix my hair up, wear more makeup because I want to make a good impression at work. Sometimes I’m going out with my husband. Or visiting a nice establishment where I feel it isn’t appropriate to show up in yoga pants and a t-shirt. Sometimes I just like to feel good by wearing a pretty dress. Newsflash, buddy: the world does not revolve around you.

    • Dave

      The world does not revolve around anyone, neither the guy who made the remark, or the woman with the camera.

  • MNLakes

    Last winter at a Timberwolves game the strange man in the seat next to me put his arm around me and pulled me up against himself, totally unprovoked. I hadn’t said a word to him the entire game. I reacted angrily and loudly, but nobody else around me said a word, and most looked the other way uncomfortably. I should have gotten security involved, but regretfully I didn’t, and he stayed in his seat, yelling at LeBron James for the rest of the game. He ruined my experience and I’m still upset about it. I couldn’t believe nobody around us said anything. I am sure most women have stories and experiences like this. It’s hard to convey how threatening, scary and lonely it is to be on the receiving end of such behavior. I applaud Lindsey for bringing attention to this issue.

    • Dave

      A similar thing happened to a friend of mine at a concert at the Target Center. She yelled at the guy behind her when he brushed her long hair out of the way to read the back of her shirt. I would have given her a high five if I hadn’t felt a bit uncomfortable myself with his behaviour.

      • MNLakes

        This discussion is important for us all to remember how wrong such behavior is so maybe next time someone would back me, or your friend, up in those circumstances. I felt like I was the one making a scene.

  • SaraG

    All I can say is you girls are lucky. I don’t want anyone stalking me or groping me, but I wish a man would notice me once in a while. Nobodies head ever turns when I walk by. I dress up and try to get attention, but I am just not their type of woman.

    • Kassie

      No woman wrote this.

  • Susan WB

    Hey, Bob, why did you remove your own comment? I was going to say thanks for posting. Also, women I know have conversations like this quite frequently, usually when it’s “just us girls.” Maybe we need to start having them when the guys are there, too.

    • It didn’t go where I needed it to go. Standby.

    • echoegami

      I try to have that conversation but most guys don’t even see it let alone have a desire to change it.

      • Dave

        What guys are you hanging around with?

  • In the nearly eight years of doing NewsCut, this is one of the most depressing threads I’ve seen in a long time.

    Maybe it’s possible that as men, we are in no position to judge what women should or shouldn’t accept in the behavior toward them. It seems to me that maybe if we are inclined to catcall, we should just keep it to ourselves.

    I’ve thought about this in a number of stories recently.

    On matters of race, the old, white guy (I’m one so I feel free to speak) adopts the victimization by being outraged that an African American should believe race is at the bottom of a particular treatment. On matters of Indians mascots, for example, it’s the non-Native who is the quickest to dismiss the concerns of racial stereotypes.

    I was just discussing this the other day with someone in observing that we are a species that believes in assessing a judgment without really having knowledge.

    The video series is designed not to call our attention to the person doing the catcalling, but it’s designed to call our attention to the fact there is catcalling and it’s offensive. If we can’t understand that, there really is no hope for us.

    We wouldn’t treat our sisters this way. We wouldn’t treat our wives this way. We wouldn’t treat our daughters this way. That’s the message and it’s a pretty simple one.

    If men can’t understand that, maybe the proper reaction is for men to ask themselves why they can’t? Maybe the proper response isn’t, “what’s the matter with you?” Maybe the proper response is, “what’s the matter with me?”

    • Dave

      Bob, men can understand that. I understand that. Every man in this thread understands that.

      • Noelle

        But the problem here is you’re hung up on the one video with the construction workers where you can’t see what the provocation was, and focusing your attention on that, rather than the issue that so. many. women. have dealt with unwanted attention on the street. Move past it and please make more constructive comments.

        Like Bob mentioned above, she’s posting these videos to prove how commonplace street harassment is, and she’s trying to get to the root of the issue by calling the guys out when it happens.

        • Dave

          I did not address the video at all with that comment. I addressed Bob generalizing men. I don’t catcall or harass women.

          And frankly, I cannot take her videos as any kind of gauge on harassment because there a lack context.

          • Noelle

            I disagree with you there, but quite frankly I feel like you’re trolling this thread and just stirring the pot, rather than providing meaningful discussion. The big point is that street harassment HAPPENS and is an issue that needs to be dealt with, because it makes women feel unsafe and uncomfortable (at the very least). I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove.

          • Dave

            Sorry Noelle, I’m not gonna sit here and parrot the talking points. That’s not a meaningful discussion.

          • Kassie

            Every woman on this thread says, “it has happened to me,” yet you cannot take her videos as any kind of gauge of harassment? Everyone one of us is saying THIS HAPPENS. Why are you choosing to dismiss us all?

          • Dave

            Oh, I believe it’s happened to every woman. But as I said, I think her videos lack context. She walks around with her camera on, waiting for someone to do something, then confronts that person. If you take that as any kind of indicator, then we should talk about the availability heuristic.

            Maybe I would feel differently if I were secretly observing the situation as it played out, I don’t know.

            In a few of her videos, she’s pestered by shall we say — unrefined? — men.

          • LtotheP

            “Unrefined.” Pot, meet Kettle.

            If all she has to do is walk down the street on her way to work and she is all but guaranteed to be catcalled, I don’t see how she is “waiting for someone to do something.” She isn’t provoking anyone, she’s trying to get to work. She’s filming the interactions to raise awareness that this is a problem, that it’s not just an innocuous compliment, and that it makes women feel unsafe.

    • David

      this is it: “assessing a judgment without really having knowledge”

    • kevinfromminneapolis

      No fair that you can make your own comment the featured one.

  • SRM

    I wasn’t very impressed by the videos that were posted. My first reaction was that this lady is over reacting, but after reading some of the other comments, I see that it really is a problem. I’ve lived abroad in Spain and Argentina, and I found cat-calling to be a HUGE problem that made me very self-conscious. I haven’t experienced it much in the States yet. If this is a growing trend in MSP, we definitely need to put a stop to it as a community. It’s not OK to talk to women that way. And in some cases it does lead to violence against the woman… I’ve experienced it myself. I got punched by a guy that was harassing me on a sidewalk in Madrid after I tried to tell him to get lost. That said, I’d still say something to put a cat-caller in his place. The point I’m trying to make is that cat-calling is just accepted as an everyday part of life in those countries. I don’t want that to become that case here due to complacency.

    • J

      I thought it was interesting that the videos used in this post are some of the mildest ones from her website.

  • J

    I am a woman living in Minneapolis as well, and until now have accepted that one of the tolls of city life is enduring these degrading, threatening, and annoying incidents on a daily basis.
    Lindsey’s work has made me realize how downright infuriating it is to have to simply accept this as a condition of living and working here. Maybe we DO deserve to walk down the street in peace. Maybe these men DON’T have a right to harass passersby for entertainment. I am sad to say that this is honestly the first time this thought has occurred to me.

  • Sad

    “We wouldn’t treat our sisters this way. We wouldn’t treat our wives this way. We wouldn’t treat our daughters this way.”

    Sadly, the “men” (I use that term loosely) who think it is acceptable to engage in this kind of behavior would ABSOLUTELY treat their sisters, wives, or yes, probably even their daughters this way. The point is, the “men” who do this are in the minority and they are morons. Is it worthwhile to point out this idiocy and ask them to change? Sure. But as a wise man once said, “You can’t fix stupid.”

    • John

      I fear that they are not the minority, but I’m with you on the rest of it. (I happen to be a man, and one who would never catcall anyone besides.)

    • An anonymous woman

      Yes, “men/males” do treat the women/girls/wives/mothers/sisters…FEMALES in their lives like this…at HOME. That is where both sexes learn it, and where it needs to be addressed, first.

      This needs to stop with the next generation… Teach the young ones coming up at home about respecting the women and girls in their lives. And for them to stand up for them in public, as well as at home.

      It is what I did with my boys.

      Abuse stops with education and willing minds who WANT TO CHANGE.

      As for those in the street doing this, they have to decide if they want to change. If they aren’t invested, or if they think “Well, it’s not my females…just some random woman on the street” then it will be hard to change that second class mentality.

      They have to be invested in the change for perception.

      • An anon woman

        Invested in the change OF PERCEPTION

  • kk

    As a woman in her age group, I think this woman is freaking out over nothing. It’s worse to dress to impress and not get acknowledged. She is overly-assuming that women don’t want the attention as much as she criticizes the men. I don’t ever want to date them or get their number but there is nothing wrong with telling me I look good.

  • We might be too far into the “retreat to your corners” phase of this discussion, but I do have a practical question:

    Men don’t cat-call my girlfriend when I’m around (I’m 6’2″ and heavy enough to defend myself). When I’m not around, it happens to her constantly. How can I step up and help her if men won’t do it when I’m in earshot? Nothing upsets me more than hearing that she was harassed by strangers.

  • Bill Johnson

    It seems to me that what offends women the most about being catcalled is that the men doing it are low-status and unattractive. These videos feature construction workers (low-status) and older men (unattractive). The attractive men whose attention younger women would prefer to receive generally don’t have to resort to catcalling to get a woman’s attention, even if they are thinking what the guys in this video are mistakenly vocalizing. Should a good looking and higher status male catcall he’d reveal himself as rude and poorly socialized, which would make his advantageous looks and money count for nothing. That’s too risky, especially when looks and money will do all of the work for you with women as long as you don’t have an ugly personality. The low-status and unattractive males, on the other hand, have nothing to lose by being sexist. They can take whatever fleeting feelings of dominance and power they can get from catcalling at no cost to themselves because a good-looking, well-dressed woman is never go for them anyways. Having said that, while I do think women are the victims here, I don’t agree that they are purely innocent when faced with scenarios like this one. Contrary to what she argues in the video, women do dress to impress strangers all time, as do men. Everybody cares about what strangers think of them – that’s why people wear nice clothes to work and on a night out. Say whatever you want about the male gaze, there are a lot of eligible men in the offices and bars downtown after work and it’s disingenuous to say that the professional women downtown aren’t looking to catch their eyes.

    • Kassie

      Some of us find both construction workers and older men attractive. And when did a construction worker become “low-status?” And why wouldn’t a “good-looking, well-dressed woman” never go for them? That’s ridiculous.

      And I’m a professional woman downtown and the only eyes I’m looking to catch are my boyfriend’s.

    • John O.

      As an “older guy,” I have but one question to ask you: which fraternity did you belong to?

  • Jerry

    I must say this thread has been an amazing example of presumably reasonable people will fully misunderstanding each others comments to put them in the worst possible lights (mixed in with genuine creeps of both genders).

    • kevinfromminneapolis

      We no longer accept nuanced opinions in our discourse. It’s best to just not express them.

  • Yancy Fry

    There is so much negativity in this thread, it would be nice to discuss some of the positive effects these videos are already having.

    Is it not somewhat encouraging that, despite their offensive and disrespectful behavior, at least two of the people in the first video were quick to apologize and engage in a discussion about their attitudes? It seems that in many cases, people are not even thinking about the implications of their actions, and simply acting through force of habit. Maybe we could discuss the culture around us which leads to habits such as this rather than engaging in a right or wrong argument. I’m glad she is taking the time to draw attention to this issue, and I hope it results in an insightful dialogue that can lead to real change!

    I am in no way defending any of the offenders in these videos, but simply wondering if we can approach this issue from a more thoughtful angle.

    • kevinfromminneapolis

      No. We cannot. The fact that you needed to add that you aren’t defending the offenders in the videos demonstrates that. Of course you’re not defending them. But you would have been accused of it I bet.

      • Yancy Fry

        Do you think we are unable to take that approach, or do we choose not to because it is easier and more satisfying in the short term to react with vitriol?

  • restorative justice

    How wonderful that this woman was able to take a stand against oppression. I call this “restorative justice”- she is able to take a healthy stance choose to confront the problem in a way that is not demeaning or shaming to the oppressors.

  • UrbanGirl12

    After 6 years of working at the State Capitol I am sorry to say that I had to adjust, and accept this behavior in order to work there. No where had I encountered such open stares and blatant comments than in the tunnels below the Capitol Rotunda during session lunch hours. As far as we’ve come, some of us (and apparently the people we elect for public office) still have a long way to go.

  • mlm

    There is a way to politely compliment a stranger male or female on their attire, hair etc. It does not include the words “babe, chick, honey, baby” whistling, leering, groping, touching or following someone down the street trying to get their attention. All you do is say “That is a very nice dress/shirt/pair of shoes/hair cut” This is an incredibly depressing thread to read but an important conversation to have. This article is about the objectification of women but I think it would be best to broaden the conversation to treating everyone with decency and respect no matter your gender. As Mark Wheat says “be peaceful to one another”

  • Heather L.

    MNLakes What the man did was very wrong. You didn’t say exactly how you responded perhaps those around you thought you were with the man and they were witnessing a domestic argument…yes you should have called.for security to remove the man.

  • MrSkeptic

    I just asked my wife if she likes catcalls. She said, “Yeah, I like them.” I just laughed because I have had women cat call me, and I liked them too.

  • John

    Some men are pigs. I’d like to apologize on behalf of those pigs, for being pigs, but I really can’t. I can’t because for me to mean it, I’d have to believe they are going to change. At this time and place, I don’t really believe that they are.

    About 80% of the men commenting in this thread mean well, but end up getting backed into a corner where they need to defend pigs. I hate that, but I also hate that the male of our species has been long made the butt of jokes and bumbling worthlessness in the (usually fictional) media (look back to “Home Improvement” for my first memory of this) for many years and is understandably starting to feel emasculated to some extent. It likely goes back longer than I’m aware of, but I’m not old enough to know.

    Many of the comments I read here (and I read all 147 posted at this time) seem well intentioned, or genuinely critical of the goals and efficacy of her method, but seem to mean well when carefully digested. (the other 20% can go pound rocks). Unfortunately, it is difficult to have a nuanced discussion in a comment thread – there’s no room for tone, and much of what is being said ends up sounding to my ears like a “blame the raped for being pretty” type of argument. (Which is total BS).

    Good to see this kind of discussion happening. It’s too bad everyone felt so compelled to back into their corners on it (as Bob pointed out at 4:20 today).

  • Linda

    From a biological evolutionary standpoint, we all look. But yes, men look more.

    From a sociological standpoint, the Puritanical history of America (especially where religious sects have historically settled….Midwest) has off-set sexual behavior and drive. So yes, men act out. And media reinforces it.

    From a “Chill the #@%* Out” standpoint, this obviously attractive woman yelling at these guys for acting like…..guys, is like yelling at an emotional eater who’s obese to get skinny.

    There are better ways to educate in my opinion.