Contra Mozilla

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Catcalling in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

You have surely by now heard of--if not actually watched--the video of the woman who walked around New York silently for 10 hours and was subjected to a bit of verbal harassment (along with a few unsolicited compliments and salutations). Perhaps you have also seen the response video of the man who walked around the same areas for three hours and was subjected to a roughly equal amount of verbal harassment?

These videos seem to demonstrate that some people in New York are jerks (but we already knew that!), though that is not of course the narrative being drawn from them. Actually, from the first of the two videos, the narrative varies depending on which professionally aggrieved or perpetually offended group is the one doing the narrating.

To b fair, there were a few jerks in the 10 hours' worth of the woman walking. There were a few more jerks in the three hours' worth of the man's walking*. All of which goes into a personal theory of mine: men and women receive about the same amount of verbal abuse and harassment on average, but we deal with it differently. I do not here intend to go into details, but might I suggest that this is a large part of what's behind the typical woman's complaints about harassment from colleagues.

Indeed, I suspect this is also a large part of the harassment women face in the STEM fields, where such things are alleged to happen frequently. In truth, guys pretty much do this to each other too, though admittedly they may focus a bit more on the one obviously different person in the group (e.g. the one female present). It should be remembered that this is sometimes how we bond, including how we at times bond with coworkers (light hazing).

I can't explain it either, but it does seem to me that the disruption of this particular bonding behavior is one consequence (intended or otherwise) of an integrated workforce. Certainly it is a consequence of the disappearance of mens' space (e.g. the increasing forbidden-ness of any men-only clubs or establishments).

And for a palette cleanser, here is a video of what it's like to be Princess Leia in New York:


*The woman got 100+ instances of harassment in 10 hours--basically an average of once every 6 minutes. The man got 30+ instances of harassment in 3 hours--basically, an average of once every 6 minutes.

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