Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tyranny of strangers

It used to be you couldn’t walk for 10 hours around New York City without being mugged. Are we so soft that we view being accosted by strangers in public with as much fear? Shoshana Roberts says, “I do not feel safe right now,” but she feels safe enough to throw caution to the wind and venture into all manner of neighborhoods in form-fitting clothes.

  • “Nice!”

  • “Hi, beautiful. God bless.”

  • “What’s up, miss?”

  • “How you doing?”

  • “Have a nice evending, darling.”

If this is typical street harassment today, we should all be so lucky.

How entitled is this princess to demand a right to not be spoken to? How dissonant her real desire for men’s attention as a woman and an actress! If she were into her craft, she’d smile and hand her admirers a playbill of whatever show she’s doing.

New York is a confined space and much of life is lived on the street. The natives have developed a studied tunnel vision so as to not get distracted from their daily lives by what they see and hear. You can see it in the way Roberts keeps walking, never turning her head to acknowledge anyone, never breaking pace. People reasonably expect to be ignored, and so they say what they want.

Mollie Hemingway writes:

One of the things missing from the conversation about the viral street harassment video is the fact that women have—or used to have, at least—quite a bit of sexual power. As sexual mores change radically, that sexual power seems to have diminished even as we’re told that the opposite has taken place.

Indeed, when you dangle free sex like a carrot in front of men, the animal, amoral sexual marketplace treats women as bodies to be used, not lovers to have and to hold.

Now, some comic relief:

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