Thoughts on the viral 'New York catcalling' video?

There may be a thread on this already - if so, I haven’t seen it, so here goes…

One of those viral online videos has been doing the rounds recently: it shows a woman walking around NYC for 10 hours (filmed by someone walking in front of her wearing a backpack-with-a-camera-in-it), edited down to show all the times she is catcalled, verbally harassed, or otherwise on the receiving end of unwanted (and unsolicited) verbal interaction.

It’s the sort of thing that’s easy to have an opinion about - as one might imagine, it has set the twitterati and Facebook commentariat alight…

What particularly drew my interest was this comment from Slate…Some noticed that most, if not all, of the men doing the harassing were black or latino. This will be fodder for some ultra-right-wing/neo-KKK sorts, for sure (‘White men don’t do that shit because we’re better!’), but this writer had another explanation:

I am both intrigued and unsettled by this idea. It got me to thinking, though, because so often those in public who are the most domineering, forward or in some way ‘in-your-face’ are also the ones who seem to be more at the economically-disadvantaged end of the scale (exceptions notwithstanding, of course…). This explanation has some currency for me at face value, but I defer to the judgement of those here…

Any thoughts?

Outrage away.


(I’ll get started reading that…)

They edited out white guys. They claimed that (mysteriously!) the white guys didn’t record well; someone on another forum joked that it’s because white guys emit white noise, so of course they don’t record well.

Catcalling is tends to be more overt and brazen in Latino culture, at least in many countries. Here in Panama, I hear it directed to women on the street far more often than I do in the US. So part of the difference is probably cultural on the part of Latinos at least.

This said, there may be something to the socioeconomic idea. Even here, catcalling is more likely to come from taxi drivers, street vendors, etc., than guys in business suits. I grew up in a working class area of the Bronx. The guys I went to high school with were more likely to catcall than anyone I knew in college.

In a city with unaffordable housing, a still considerable crime problem, employment issues, environmental issues and an uncertain future due flooding from climate change that a video of an average looking woman walking down the street safely but getting the occasional catcall, is making major news shows that the mainstream media is constantly on the lookout for meaningless news stories to outrage the masses.

That the video was carefully edited to primarily show and record minority males makes it even more useless than it already was.

Has anyone stopped to consider how the term “catcalling” affects feline-Americans, who, to my knowledge (and experience) do not engage in this behavior at all themselves?

However you slice it, men can be creeps. The guy walking next to her especially. Every one of them should know better.

Um, I don’t have a cite handy, but earlier today I saw that the video’s authenticity is being questioned. Apparently they edited out a lot of the white men’s comments… Someone apparently had an agenda. :frowning:

Of course. But it’s just a small way to rebel against our feline overlords.

I fear that an argument about the ethics of games journalism has gone too far!

“We got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera,” or was ruined by a siren or other noise. The final product, he writes, “is not a perfect representation of everything that happened.”

Not that I believe them for a moment.

What do you think actually happened during the taping? What, if anything, do you suspect was selectively edited out of the video, and for what reason was it edited out?

I don’t “suspect” they edited anything out, they admit they did in fact edit out white men. What I don’t believe is their explanation. Poor recordings don’t magically happen according to race.

I believe they wanted exactly what they got; a compilation of dark skinned, lower class men talking to a woman. They wanted to demonize men, so they picked men that most Americans are inclined to look at as demonic already. The video was designed to cater to American racism.

They didn’t want to show prosperous white men talking to her because our society hasn’t been conditioned to look at well off white men as born criminals who deserve death, like it has lower class dark skinned men. They wanted to make sure that the video was full of the sort of men who if some cop was to shoot one of them, the media would immediately put up photos chosen to make him look like a thug while most people would immediately start rationalizing why he deserved it.

So, you think they purposefully used racism to camouflage their misandry?

Man, those are some bad dudes.

I think the video was mainly Hispanic and AA men because that’s really 99% of what they had as responses. If they had any substantive white male responses they it would be front and center on the video, his excuses are bullshit. If you go through certain neighborhoods it is likely you will get shout outs and creeps annoying you. This was as true 50 years ago as it is today. That she had to stroll around 10 hours in those neighborhoods to get that handful of shout outs also indicates 99.99% of the men in minority neighborhoods are keeping their mouths shut as well. How many thousands of men did she pass by walking in 10 hours in NYC to get that little basket of shout outs?

Beyond this the video really does give the impression “Hey ladies! Black guys and Hispanics will harass you if you are around them!” The funniest part is that you can tell they really, really hoped they would get a lot of white guys responding and are bitterly disappointed this did not pan out. They wanted a woman oppressed by men video and all they got was underclass men being rude. It a desperate stretch and it’s virulently racist.

It comes under the same category as “wolf-whistling.”

I suspect adaher is very loosely correct about why the video is dominated by minority men. I’m satisfied that catcalling correlates negatively with socio-economic status, and that’s going to correlate with ethnicity. I hope I don’t have to turn in my Liberal Card if I suggest, also, that it’s possible there may be a cultural effect. I certainly don’t know that this is the case, but it may be that catcalling is more common in certain black and latino communities.

I also doubt that they’re outright lying about white harassers not on the video. I’m sure there were tons of incidents, involving people of all ethnicities, that just didn’t show up well enough in the audio or video to be usable. With such a small sample, just a couple dozen, it would only require two or three outtakes to radically change the impression that was left.

I bet they did want to get some white guys on tape, but not because of some fight-the-oppressors nonsense. They would’ve liked to have shown some white faces there because failing to do opens them up to exactly the kinds of criticism we’re seeing here – from the left, from the right, and from Jupiter – which both detracts from their message and, well, makes them look bad.

Your posts can be indistinguishable from articles in The Onion. This one is no different. There is a very simple reason why you don’t see really white men in that video - we don’t do it as a general rule because it is a cultural difference. That is forbidden in our native culture on Wall Street and all other streets from London to Boston unless you are a construction worker.

What is so mysterious about that? Some men from other cultures love to vocalize when they see a pretty lady while really white guys like me clam up because we are, let’s face it, dorky and emasculated from American women today.

Have you ever been on a flight with Puerto Rican’s or any Latin Americans for that matter? They clap and cheer enthusiastically when the plane lands because they find joy in the inevitable. That is a good trait, not a bad one. Many Africans and Mediterranean people are very expressive too even about simple things. I think we may need to send our so-called Progressive friends here back for some remedial training because they seemed to have missed some key lessons.

That video was a perfect example of white, first-world problems that don’t exist. I used to live near gay bars in New Orleans and was thrilled when they cat-called me when I walked past. It wasn’t as if they assaulted someone that didn’t look right. It was their version of a compliment. Learn some tolerance and lighten up.