Streams

Not Taking it Anymore: One Woman Talks Back to Street Harassers

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh's original posters on Tompkins Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh's original posters on Tompkins Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

As spring sets in, New Yorkers are gladly shedding those layers of winter clothes and women are often finding themselves the object of more cat calls, whistles and roving eyes than they’d like. One artist isn't going to take it anymore.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh says she can’t walk down her street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn without getting cat called or harassed.

“It happens almost daily to me where I get frustrated or annoyed or upset by something that someone has said to me or done to me outside on the street,” she said, speaking from her apartment in Brooklyn.

The artist recently moved to New York where she’d been painting murals in Philadelphia and she wanted to find a way to respond through her art to the men who disrupted her daily life.

Phrases popped into her head, the kind of things she wants to shout back, but doesn’t.

Things like: “Stop telling woman to smile. My name is not baby. Women are not seeking your validation. Women do not owe you their time or conversation. You’re not entitled to my body.”

“A lot of the times you don’t say it. At least I don’t. You keep walking. You keep moving because you don’t have time. You don’t have the energy, or you don’t want it to escalate. You never really know what will happen. It could easily get dangerous,” she said.

Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh on her block in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

In her cramped bedroom she began creating stark pencil drawings of women with those phrases written in bold below. Under the cover of darkness she plastered copies of her posters across Brooklyn.

“I thought this was the perfect opportunity to actually express myself where street harassment happens.”

On Tompkins Avenue, where she hung her first two posters, 22-year old Bed-Stuy native Sapphire Monet walks past the posters and agrees, they send a much needed message. “It can be disrespectful at times,” she said.

“Everyday, a ‘psst,’ or a ‘yo’ or a ‘hey,’ or ‘excuse me what’s your name,’ and they might get disrespectful and call you by a body part,” she said.

Not everyone agrees. In this cultural melting pot, some men, like Anthony Williams, 30, who runs a clothing shop on Fulton Street, says it’s part of his DNA. “I’m a man. I’m supposed to. I think every man, if they see a woman they feel is attractive, should try to do what they can to acquire this woman,” he said.

Other female veterans of the neighborhood say they’re used to the harassment and have learned to cope.

“Nothing beats a try but a failure,” Michelle Brown, 32, said as she gets her nails done at a salon on Fulton Street. “I don’t pay it no mind. I hold my head high, smile and keep walking. It doesn't bother me. They just looking for attention, and I don’t give it to them,” she said.

Since the posters on Tompkins Avenue went up a month ago, they've sparked a spoken and written dialogue on the street. Scrawled in the white spaces are messages. A real-world Facebook wall.

Poster on Tompkins Ave. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Fazlalizadeh let the dialogue unfold over the weeks, but took her posters down last week when someone scrawled a male body part in the center of one poster.

That poster will be on display, along with her other posters and paintings at the art space Fresthetic in Williamsburg for the next few weeks.

But she’s not abandoning her street art either. Her first foray has attracted more attention than she expected, and she considers it a success.

“A lot of the times women feel that they don’t have space like they don’t have a right to the space outside. It put us out there in that environment and claim that space for ourselves,” she said.

Poster on Tompkins Ave. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)


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Comments [83]

Ultimately this entire article and the comments afterward sadly verify what kinds of stereotypes there are out there.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh may tentatively have the right idea saying that society has to get out of the mindset that women are supposed to "smile" or "talk sweetly" but this is all a band-aid solution. Women have to stop being stereotypes and expecting stereotypical men NOT to react in kind. It is poisons feeding off of each other and becoming more potent. This is a ghetto with ghetto types compounding the matter. There will always be un-teachable people who hang on to the culture of gender depravity. No use trying to teach them. Unrealistic and naive women try to "communicate" with unchangeably chauvinistic men telling them to "be respectful" etc. It actually debases women when they morally crawl in dirt trying to tell men, who devotedly think of women in degrading ways, to "avoid the crudeness and catcalls" (etc)
Women who want to help eradicate sexism and the culture of gender stereotypes should not look to the approval of men whose own status in that culture depends on his psychological, social and even literal beating down of women.Women have to try to concentrate on the larger picture and focus on institutionalized sexism rather than what is comparatively individual incidents of sexism.
Women should avoid the jewelry, tight clothing, makeup and hairstyles and the other aspects of "femininity" even "street femininity."
Women should consciously and devotedly try to achieve in endeavors where few women achieve, such as science, math, and engineering etc., without bringing "prissiness" wherever they go .
With few women making decisions in the political world, and few women in occupations in which they can influence society and commerce and the world, women will always be novelties and their place in society will always be trivial and uninvolved with the running of things.
Staying at home with children and waiting for hubby ( or boyfriend) to come home from work has been wrongly re-defined as the most important thing that women do.
If there is to be a battle to the genders, women have really have been giving ammunition to the enemy and being a worse enemy to themselves than the opponent.
Radical feminism was hijacked . Soft feminism like soft racism, has it that women should never be blamed for problems they bring upon themselves.
Sure women are taught from day one to seek approval from patriarchal society.
It has become a particularly problematic matter for inner city women and girls and so-called
Rap music glorifies women who allow themselves to be objectified.
… and don’t get me started.

Mar. 08 2014 10:15 AM

Ultimately this entire article and the comments afterward sadly verify what kinds of stereotypes there are out there.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh may tentatively have the right idea saying that society has to get out of the mindset that women are supposed to "smile" or "talk sweetly" but this is all a band-aid solution. Women have to stop being stereotypes and expecting stereotypical men NOT to react in kind. It is poisons feeding off of each other and becoming more potent. This is a ghetto with ghetto types compounding the matter. There will always be un-teachable people who hang on to the culture of gender depravity. No use trying to teach them. Unrealistic and naive women try to "communicate" with unchangeably chauvinistic men telling them to "be respectful" etc. It actually debases women when they morally crawl in dirt trying to tell men, who devotedly think of women in degrading ways, to "avoid the crudeness and catcalls" (etc)
Women who want to help eradicate sexism and the culture of gender stereotypes should not look to the approval of men whose own status in that culture depends on his psychological, social and even literal beating down of women.Women have to try to concentrate on the larger picture and focus on institutionalized sexism rather than what is comparatively individual incidents of sexism.
Women should avoid the jewelry, tight clothing, makeup and hairstyles and the other aspects of "femininity" even "street femininity."
Women should consciously and devotedly try to achieve in endeavors where few women achieve, such as science, math, and engineering etc., without bringing "prissiness" wherever they go .
With few women making decisions in the political world, and few women in occupations in which they can influence society and commerce and the world, women will always be novelties and their place in society will always be trivial and uninvolved with the running of things.
Staying at home with children and waiting for hubby ( or boyfriend) to come home from work has been wrongly re-defined as the most important thing that women do.
If there is to be a battle to the genders, women have really have been giving ammunition to the enemy and being a worse enemy to themselves than the opponent.
Radical feminism was hijacked . Soft feminism like soft racism, has it that women should never be blamed for problems they bring upon themselves.
Sure women are taught from day one to seek approval from patriarchal society.
It has become a particularly problematic matter for inner city women and girls and so-called
Rap music glorifies women who allow themselves to be objectified.
… and don’t get me started.

Mar. 08 2014 10:15 AM

Ultimately this entire article and the comments afterward sadly verify what kinds of stereotypes there are out there.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh may tentatively have the right idea saying that society has to get out of the mindset that women are supposed to "smile" or "talk sweetly" but this is all a band-aid solution. Women have to stop being stereotypes and expecting stereotypical men NOT to react in kind. It is poisons feeding off of each other and becoming more potent. This is a ghetto with ghetto types compounding the matter. There will always be un-teachable people who hang on to the culture of gender depravity. No use trying to teach them. Unrealistic and naive women try to "communicate" with unchangeably chauvinistic men telling them to "be respectful" etc. It actually debases women when they morally crawl in dirt trying to tell men, who devotedly think of women in degrading ways, to "avoid the crudeness and catcalls" (etc)
Women who want to help eradicate sexism and the culture of gender stereotypes should not look to the approval of men whose own status in that culture depends on his psychological, social and even literal beating down of women.
Women have to try to concentrate on the larger picture and focus on institutionalized sexism rather than what is comparatively individual incidents of sexism.
Women should avoid the jewelry, the tight clothing, the makeup and hairstyles and the other aspects of "femininity" even "street femininity."
Women should consciously and devotedly try to achieve in endeavors where few women achieve, such as science, math, and engineering etc., without bringing "prissiness" wherever they go .
With few women making decisions in the political world, and few women in occupations in which they can influence society and commerce and the world, women will always be novelties and their place in society will always be trivial and uninvolved with the running of things.
Staying at home with children and waiting for hubby ( or boyfriend) to come home from work has been wrongly re-defined as the most important thing that women do.
If there is to be a battle to the genders, women have really have been giving ammunition to the enemy and being a worse enemy to themselves than the opponent.
Radical feminism was hijacked . Soft feminism like soft racism, has it that women should never be blamed for problems they bring upon themselves.
Sure women are taught from day one to seek approval from patriarchal society.
It has become a particularly problematic matter for inner city women and girls and so-called
Rap music glorifies women who allow themselves to be objectified.
… and don’t get me started.

Mar. 08 2014 10:14 AM

Ultimately this entire article and the comments afterward sadly verify what kinds of stereotypes there are out there.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh may tentatively have the right idea saying that society has to get out of the mindset that women are supposed to "smile" or "talk sweetly" but this is all a band-aid solution. Women have to stop being stereotypes and expecting stereotypical men NOT to react in kind. It is poisons feeding off of each other and becoming more potent. This is a ghetto with ghetto types compounding the matter. There will always be un-teachable people who hang on to the culture of gender depravity. No use trying to teach them. Unrealistic and naive women try to "communicate" with unchangeably chauvinistic men telling them to "be respectful" etc. It actually debases women when they morally crawl in dirt trying to tell men, who devotedly think of women in degrading ways, to "avoid the crudeness and catcalls" (etc)
Women who want to help eradicate sexism and the culture of gender stereotypes should not look to the approval of men whose own status in that culture depends on his psychological, social and even literal beating down of women.
Women have to try to concentrate on the larger picture and focus on institutionalized sexism rather than what is comparatively individual incidents of sexism.
Women should avoid the jewelry, the tight clothing, the makeup and hairstyles and the other aspects of "femininity" even "street femininity."
Women should consciously and devotedly try to achieve in endeavors where few women achieve, such as science, math, and engineering etc., without bringing "prissiness" wherever they go .
With few women making decisions in the political world, and few women in occupations in which they can influence society and commerce and the world, women will always be novelties and their place in society will always be trivial and uninvolved with the running of things.
Staying at home with children and waiting for hubby ( or boyfriend) to come home from work has been wrongly re-defined as the most important thing that women do.
If there is to be a battle to the genders, women have really have been giving ammunition to the enemy and being a worse enemy to themselves than the opponent.
Radical feminism was hijacked . Soft feminism like soft racism, has it that women should never be blamed for problems they bring upon themselves.
Sure women are taught from day one to seek approval from patriarchal society.
It has become a particularly problematic matter for inner city women and girls and so-called
Rap music glorifies women who allow themselves to be objectified.
… and don’t get me started.

Mar. 08 2014 10:14 AM

Ultimately this entire article and the comments afterward sadly verify what kinds of stereotypes there are out there.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh may tentatively have the right idea saying that society has to get out of the mindset that women are supposed to "smile" or "talk sweetly" but this is all a band-aid solution. Women have to stop being stereotypes and expecting stereotypical men NOT to react in kind. It is poisons feeding off of each other and becoming more potent. This is a ghetto with ghetto types compounding the matter.There will always be un-teachable people who hang on to the culture of gender depravity. No use trying to teach them. Unrealistic and naive women try to "communicate" with unchangeably chauvanistic men telling them to "be respectful" etc. It actually debases women when they morally crawl in dirt trying to tell men, who devotedly think of women in degrading ways, to "avoid the crudeness and catcalls" (etc)
Women who want to help eradicate sexism and the culture of gender stereotypes should not look to the approval of men whose own status in that culture depends on his psychological, social and even literal beating down of women.
Women have to try to concentrate on the larger picture and focus on institutionalized sexism rather than what is comparatively individual incidents of sexism.
Women should avoid the jewelry, the tight clothing, the makeup and hairstyles and the other aspects of "femininity" even "street femininity."
Women should consciously and devotedly try to achieve in endeavors where few women achieve, such as science, math, and engineering etc., without bringing "prissiness" wherever they go .
With few women making decisions in the political world, and few women in occupations in which they can influence society and commerce and the world, women will always be novelties and their place in society will always be trivial and uninvolved with the running of things.
Staying at home with children and waiting for hubby ( or boyfriend) to come home from work has been wrongly re-defined as the most important thing that women do.
If there is to be a battle to the genders, women have really have been giving ammunition to the enemy and being a worse enemy to themselves than the opponent.
Radical feminism was hijacked . Soft feminism like soft racism, has it that women should never be blamed for problems they bring upon themselves.
Sure women are taught from day one to seek approval from patriarchal society.
It has become a particularly problematic matter for inner city women and girls and so-called
Rap music glorifies women who allow themselves to be objectified.
… and don’t get me started.


Mar. 08 2014 10:13 AM

"brownhare from Cornwall " I think you have violated the comment guidelines. No cursing.

"The Truth From USA" really sounds like someone who thinks that women have to fit his "good" and others have to live down to his standards. He is a stereotype and is attracted to the same.

"mary from Jersey City " has a very appropriate perspective; the neighborhood is one of a degraded culture without intelligence or civilized behavior.

Mar. 08 2014 09:27 AM
Kerry from Costa Rica

Thank you for this project. I have seen and heard so many men (and some women) in my relatively short life defend their street harassment. It often seems to come down to an argument of innocent intentions, "I didn't mean any harm", "Lighten up" "It's a compliment" "Enjoy the attention while you can" etc etc. Assuming that is the case (which I don't believe, after having been harassed starting from the age of 9 or 10 I know that there are people with very bad intentions) it still completely ignores what the woman (or man) being harassed may feel or want.

There are times when I have been having an absolutely terrible day, all I want to do is curl up in my bed and while walking home a man stares fixedly at my thighs and whistles or worse, get's vulgar and says "I'd screw that" (notice the "that" not a person, just a sexual object). How am I supposed to enjoy either of those scenarios? Even when I am in a good mood harassment doesn't make me feel any better but rather it brings me down, reminding me that I can be so easily objectified and that so many people have no problem with it.

Moreover, a person's physical appearance is not representative of who they are as a whole. By saying that a woman should "take the compliment" you're suggesting that her self-validation is based on her appearance, and that some random man's (or woman's) opinion should be important enough to her to have a positive effect on her mood. Screw that, I am more that my breasts or legs or my pretty smile. I am those things too but my parts are not worth more than my sum. Just by passing by me and having a penis and a mouth (okay I'm going to generalize for men only here for a second) that does not entitle you to have any sway over my opinion of myself.

I find myself exhausted everyday trying to navigate the constant barrage of harassment. My next door neighbor ogles me while saying lewd things in Spanish he doesn't think I understand to his employees. I remember being a shy 12 year old walking a few blocks home to school and a man in a car telling me I was beautiful and that I should let him give me a ride home. Understand my perspective for a moment, I do not see harassment as a potential compliment, but as an intimidating, stressful and bothersome experience that can have the potential for assault and rape. End of rant

Nov. 25 2013 06:44 PM
Lily from Brooklyn

I too used to get very angry when men would harass me on the street. It seems that there is a lot of hostility and that speaking to women in inappropriate ways is often a passive/aggressive outlet. I love that Ms. Fazlalizadeh's posters allow men (and women) to think about this behavior in new ways.

Oct. 22 2013 09:55 PM
mary from Jersey City

She is in a neighborhood/city where there are few gentlemen. They probably spit on the street too. The whole culture is cruder than it used to be.

Oct. 22 2013 07:26 PM
Rita from Queens

I'm with Tatyana 100%. This is about women and respect, not men and their feelings. Does being "a man" include an inability to control yourself? Women on their way to wherever are not looking for a hook-up. Want to meet me? Get a life and interact with me in the course of our mutual activities. Go to a club, where I'm probably looking for you too. Meet me on the job, have lunch with me and demonstrate your excellent table manners and ability to carry on a conversation. When did making noises at me on the street and telling me to smile make you attractive to me? NEVER. It's all about you and your so-called needs. Enough.

Question: WHY don't more women confront cat callers on the street? ANSWER: We are afraid of the threat of conflict or even assault that awaits us. I'm one of those women who detests the comments. Sometimes I've responded with a simple "shut up" or a sneer. In every case, the guy becomes enraged, embarks on a tirade of epithets and slurs, and threatens me with rape or assault. I've been chased down the street and had to face men down, when all I wanted to do was mind my business and live my life in peace. I've seen a man hound a woman relentlessly on the subway, for instance, because she rejected his advances and wanted to be left alone. We've all seen this, many times.

Ladies, let's not kid ourselves. We have learned to rationalize and tolerate this behavior -- "chill out, lighten up, boys will be boys, it's really a compliment" -- because it's easier and safer than dealing with the repercussions. Men consider this their birthright and do not like it when we tell them otherwise. They want us compliant and available at all times.

Like I said: ENOUGH.

Oct. 20 2013 01:03 PM
fuva from harlemworld

YO, I'm late to this discussion, but I find it FASCINATING. Tatyana's determination to address an issue publicly and the brilliantly creative way she did it warms my heart. God bless her!

I can think of oh so many topics to address this way.

And, yes, FELLAS: If you encounter a woman you want to talk to, say 'Good morning (evening, etc.)' and keep it moving. For real...If she wants you to holla, she'll let you know.

Oct. 18 2013 11:20 AM

I've never believed that talking to women walking on the street like some men do is right. It's crass, crude and base behavior. Yet, how do women wish to approach by a man they may not know now but may find is amiable, helpful and worth loving? Does this person believe she is totally off limits to casual conversation? Casual conversion doesn't have to involve the immediate "acquiring" of the woman but is she totally anti-social? If a man finds a woman attractive shouldn't he, without the usual lewd suggestions be able to converse with her? Is she absolutely off limits to approach?

Oct. 18 2013 09:45 AM
Susan from somewhere in Canada

This is an interesting discourse but what it boils down to is how catcalling has been now defined as harassment. It is a (body)language issue.
Man: Smile+ "good morning" = acceptable
Man: Stare + "you should smile" = not acceptable
I won't get into the power/control issue because it is already addressed. But I will say that it is possible catcalling might be some product of marginalization that the men deal with, who then in turn marginalize the women. Because I am sure there are places in the world where catcalling is rarer than others.

Women want to be respected. Men tend to be visual so asking them to stop reacting when they encounter an attractive woman is nearly impossible. BUT the men who hiss or say lewd things to women are insulting their own intelligence because they can't think of anything else to say or too lazy to care. Then the catcall is deemed acceptable.

There is a level of ignorance that is sadly associated with catcalling. Anthony Williams objectified women and probably didn't even realize it in the interview. These men may not be getting the same (life/book/feminist) education as women.

So the language of "respect" has to be redefined in the home, amongst peers, in institutions, and on the street. It must be confronted and dealt with properly.

I will definitely look out for the artist when I visit NYC !

Oct. 17 2013 05:02 PM
suzinne from bronx

On the other hand:

Hey I live in the Bronx (born in NYC) and RESENT seeing the many women in my neighbor wearing full burquas and some even completely enveloped in cloth. This is the United States people. Woman don't have to cover their faces here. How dare you bring your oppression of women to our country?

Sep. 17 2013 09:39 PM
So Right from USA

the way that women have changed, it is really hard meeting a decent one these days.

Sep. 05 2013 12:49 PM

STOP STREET HARASSMENT!!! YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT DO COMMENT UPON ME AS AN OBJECT, WHEN I AM A HUMAN BEING WALKING DOWN THE STREET. YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY F-ING RIGHT TO TELL ME HOW TO DRESS, OR HOW TO SMILE, OR HAVE THE RIGHT TO BULLY ME, JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN WITH A FLAP OF SKIN BETWEEN YOUR LEGS. YOU HAVE NOTHING ON ME. GO F-CK YOURSELVES.

ALL CAPS, ASSHOLES, I'M COMING FOR YOU.

Jul. 18 2013 01:54 AM
Brendan J. Grimestad

If this artist wants men to leave her alone, it's an easy thing to achieve! Just start eating a gallon of Ben & Jerry's every day, quit bathing and brushing her teeth, and wear the ugliest baggy clothing she can find.
If she doesn't want men telling her she's attractive, she should work at becoming UN-ATTRACTIVE. Simple as that!

May. 31 2013 04:31 PM
TheTruth from U S A

the very sad thing today is that there are so very mean and nasty women out there now, especially when they will curse at us men when we will try to start a conversation with the one that we would really like to meet. why is that? since there are many of us straight men out there that want to meet a good woman to share a life with, like so many very lucky other men and women that were very fortunate to have met one another and have a family today. then again, there are certainly much more gay women now than ever before that are adding to the problem too.

May. 24 2013 03:48 PM
brownhare from Cornwall

Abuse is the disrespect of a persons boundaries. Their right to be left alone, not subject to the projection of need, prejucice, issues, baggage sense of entitlement that others may carry and feel the need to act out. Women are subject to this not only from men but from other women as well. Women are set up culturally from birth to be accomodating and accepting (nicely) of every sort of poisonous projected build up. To accept shit because our job is to 'understand' 'care' 'heal' 'carry' 'absorb' the burdensresponsibilities and the issues of others minus choice minus the right to say no. The best quote I ever read was a womans advice to her little daughter when she was told to smile by a strange man in the street. The mothers said 'Go ahead and smile sweetie so that he can see how sharp and pointy your teeth are honey'
We are cultured that overt and on the table anger is wrong and unfeminine, we are cultured that to protect boundaries with aggressive forthright zeal is negative and uncaring.
Until women start owning their own shit and standing up to the bullshit culture of abuse acceptance that they project onto each other men are not going to respect us.
We need take a long hard look at how we teach and treat each other as women first and perhaps when we start creating our own female culture of boundary respect and decency then the men will back up the truck on the abusive buy in.
It's no good complaining that men treat us like meat when we perpetuate a feminine culture of just that within our own female places.
I'm not saying that men don't perpetuate the ugly abusive truth, but how are they able if we were not there as a gender via a toxic majority default into neurotic and competititive behaviour from the get go.
This is our shit as women, we need to own it not chuck the blame at men.

May. 14 2013 01:08 PM
j from Brooklyn

Locario, just wanted to commend you on this video:
http://mrlocariotv.com/?p=2288, I thought it was good advice. : )

Definitely not putting down those guys ( & ladies ) out there who are legitimately, trying to find a good relationship and are frustrated.

I feel it all comes down to, let's all try to be better people & help eachother. We need to raise the frequency of our world! :D

Apr. 30 2013 12:00 PM
Olga

@ ntableman

Women can dress however the heck they want. What happened to feeling good about oneself? Or just dressing for the weather? No one gives a f*ck about the opinion of some random guy on the street.

Should we all be wearing burqas or burlap sacks now because men don't have the maturity to control themselves? If a woman wants to wear that, fine, but it's pathetic for men to encourage or force women to dress a certain way because they don't have the spiritual, mental and emotional maturity to be RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS, THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.

Great quote: "Don't tell me how to dress, tell men not to rape" ...also tell them to not be idiots. The way someone dresses is not an invitation EVER.

Does the woman in the picture even look like she dresses that sexily? Use your brain.

@ kitkat from london

We are NOT in London.

Apr. 30 2013 09:37 AM
newyorker from NYC

This artist says... "A lot of the times women feel that they don’t have space like they don’t have a right to the space outside. It put us out there in that environment and claim that space for ourselves"
I appreciate the fact that you are making people THINK about their actions that is very cool. The problem is in how it makes you(and others)feel. If you really felt that you DO own your space then no one could upset you regardless of what they say. Think about it. It is easier and more effective to adjust your negative reaction that to try and change other peoples behavior. What is it in YOU that makes this offensive ? Many women do not see it that way. Food for thought.

Apr. 29 2013 01:14 PM
kitkat from london

One more thing, after all my ranting, to be fair - I do know a few women who are VERY aggressive towards men, definitely are dressing to attract them - etc.

They CRAVE male attention and would for the most part be happy with whatever attention they get.

I do think it's to be situational really about the type of woman you are encountering...

Apr. 29 2013 10:03 AM
kitkat from london

@j from Brooklyn

I know I recently saw statistics (at least in the UK) that there is less construction cat-calling than before... if i can find it i'll post it.

i agree with you 'ntableman' - it is complicated! you can't blanket target all men to villianise them nor can you do the same with women. some remarks are 'harmless' and simply complimentary, some from guys really just interacting with each other regardless of the woman passing by, some creepy.

i can only speak for myself obviously, other woman have different experiences of this, in volume and in content, but here are some passing thoughts on how I take these things, some i've already expressed below:

the women dressing 'attractively' - the one point a lot of men (not all) seem to miss is that women do not dress just for the appreciation of men. they dress for themselves, other women, and sometimes to attract men, more often than not - a combo of all 3. there are plenty of men out there that DO NOT say anything. in fact, it's probably in the majority. somehow they've learned to do this.. like women have learned to not react to certain things also. so i really don't believe it's some 'call of nature'/uncontrollable..

When men address my clothing, either complimentary and sometimes critically - it seems very patronising. but i'd have to say both leave me feeling annoyed that they think I am dressing for them - and they have some say in it. (I've had men remark critically on what I was eating - I'm a healthy weight - and regardless they are not my doctors, nor my partners - although i wouldn't take that from my partner also unless said in a caring way).

re the 'give me a smile' remarks - i don't get those most of the time and you saw my earlier reaction, but it was really because I am a VERY GRUMPY morning person. I do have a friend who get's this a lot though it annoys her. If it's simply to get another human being to be in a better mood, fair enough - but as it's mostly to women that someone is attracted to - it's really just flirting - but the whole smiling thing implies women are just there to look happy and pretty for the benefit of men. forget that she may be going through a really dark time, or that she is simply in a bad mood, or pre-occupied - god forbid she's not walking around 24/7 with a smile plastered on her face and open to flirting with everyone. I think there would be that 'relax, don't take it so seriously' reply to this, but I'm just trying to communicate how it actually effects women. If it only happened very occasionally, fair enough, it's the volume that it get's unwieldy...

Re volume, a woman can get pretty neurotic about being considered purely just a sex object - when a lot are far more complex and would like to just be treated with consideration and respect, as humans first.

I still hold to my earlier comment which is to try to ascertain whether they are open to flirting or not with a simple smile before taking it further.

Apr. 29 2013 09:52 AM

I think this is complicated. I dont think it is ok for anyone to feel menaced, but if it is not ok for men to address women in a way that may let them know they are attractive, why is it ok for women to dress in a way that is attractive? I see these as two sides of the same coin. Is the reductio ad absurdum burkahs for both sexes? Or perhaps complete separation of the sexes? There has to be a middle ground where it is ok to smile at a person of the opposite sex and let him or her know there he is she looks great today. Or is this not ok because it is about context - like it is ok in a bar or a club, but not on the street? Again, I dont think it is ok to be menaced, but this seems like it is going a bit too far. Does the artist simply never want to be told she is attractive or whatnot? That seems counter to the human process. I have been reading How to Think More About Sex by Alain De Botton and find it overlaps with this topic a great deal and would suggest it to anyone who ponders the line of the politeness demanded by our current society juxtaposed to the deeper animal nature of sex and attraction.

Apr. 28 2013 09:46 PM
j from Brooklyn

Nice Rumi quote. :)

I guess it's common to have that feeling of anger in many of these instances; I know I've felt that way more than once.

I found these.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DViogbPTH4&list=LLuH84CM4OGAjCsb2SzTfc4A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH7b4QCPuXc&list=LLuH84CM4OGAjCsb2SzTfc4A

Apr. 28 2013 12:45 AM
Kitkat from London

Thanks J - yeah, I get you too- one of my favourite Rumi quotes is:

“Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I'll meet you there.”

- but to not get to hippy dippy this is coming from a petite soft-spoken Asian American that replied once when asked by a man 'what can't do to get you to smile' I replied without missimg a beat: 'give me your first born child' - the evilness of this remark surprised even me! (I was put on the morning shift of a coffee shop and I warned them to never put me on the morning shift!)

Don"t worry, the earlier episode was only scary for a fraction of a second- that strange occurrence actually DID make me smile at the end- I still find it funny now...

Apr. 27 2013 11:19 PM
j from Brooklyn

I'm listening to 'Better Way' by Ben Harper and I can't help but think of this topic which is only a facet of bigger issues. "I Believe in a Better Way!".

I'm glad you made it safe out of that situation KitKat. Scary.

Apr. 27 2013 10:58 PM
Kitkat from London

I mentioned eye contact earlier and want to just share this experience:

I was walking through a park, on my way home... I hear a man behind me following me and hissing at me... I wasn't in a particularly good mood that day - and it was really creepy being on my own with a man hissing behind me and following me along the way - not that many other people around - I don't know why, but my initial reaction was of anger, not fear though - and although I'm not the type that normally does this, I turned around and gave him the finger. (Yeah I know, really mature, I was younger then)

In a split second I saw him, a very large and very angry looking man- I was *!&£@ I shouldn't have done that - we made eye contact - this happened within milliseconds - all the sudden we both started laughing at each other, self- conscious of how ridiculous we were at that moment - and parted ways...

Apr. 27 2013 09:30 PM
Kerry from Brooklyn

@DanHarvey You have the least idea what women go through muchless what black males go through in new york. reserve your comment when you march about NYPD Profiling (which I doubt you have ever spoken out against in public).

But i am also sure it's not the "heckling" she's concerned with, it's "WHO" does the heckling. This can be a big difference for someone who did not grow up in New York culture. If someone moved to New York they would find it a culture shock and try to displace the native culture and replace it with their own augmented perception.

Apr. 27 2013 07:11 PM
Kerry from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

1) I agree with this post.

2) But i also think Men and Lesisbeans should stop opening doors, buying stuff, complimenting, and praising unworthy women they have never met.

3) It's not an issue about "rape culture" assuming such culture exist. I guess if you think about rape constantly as a man/woman you might refer to it as that being a part of it yourself.

4) Women want to be treated equally #Catch22 (Only in the finance department) sorry but if you want to be equal you will face reality as all women and men do.

5) Women also "CATCALL".

6) Stop sharing your "dislike" for the men you have attracted in your life towards happy women who least offended and very much in love with who they are. They are not responsible for how you feel.

Apr. 27 2013 07:01 PM
j from Brooklyn


Lacario, wow ( just listened your soundbyte ). At the very least, please, let your followers know that not all women are all about sex & dating. More than many of us realize that there's way more to life than that.

You seem to lump 'women' into one gigantic heap of trash. I, for one, while not, personally, offended by your opinion ( it was interesting to hear your perspective ) know for certain, I don't belong in a pile of garbage.

I wish you would have the courage to reconsider your views and not let your ego take over.

I wish the discussion would go on.

Apr. 27 2013 04:08 PM
kitkat from London

Why not a simple, less agressive tactic? Flirting aside (we are all humans and find attraction to each other) I always wonder why guys who continue to do this if their ultimate goal is to REALLY attract this woman. What is often the case is that it has the COMPLETE opposite effect, it either annoys, irritates, repels, disturbs, etc. Fair enough, occasionally it is flattering (depending on the woman and the guy of course and what is said). ALL women are not the same. If you can up your game and try to determine which tactic will attract which woman, instead of some blanket barrage to any woman you find attractive...

So I propose - trying to catch her eye - WARMLY (not leeringly - which actually makes me nauseous) giving her a smile. If she returns the smile, THEN say something. practice, repeat, see the difference in response... If you are continually getting a lot of negative response with the old tactic, maybe instead of thinking: 'She should be enjoying this, something is wrong with her, she should think the way I think'... maybe realise not everyone thinks/reacts the same way you do. You can stubbornly ignore that message but it's not gonna help in understanding how women think or help your ultimate goal to attract one...

Then don't insult or follow her if she doesn't reply. That's creepy and just shows your insecurity at being rejected. WE ALL GET rejected at one point or another. How you handle it shows so much more about your character than anything else.

Apr. 27 2013 11:33 AM
j from Brooklyn

As in many things in life, there is a whole spectrum of variables. I have an open enough mind to understand, sure, there are some men who genuinely want to be friendly and a simple "Hi, how are you?" is harmless. That's common sense. But, everything is energy. Good energy will be felt as good energy. The vibe that these men send out, for the most part, is negative and it can be felt as that from half a block away.

And, if you take into account that a majority of these men are either married or in a relationship ( I'm assuming - I have no statistics ) with daughters of their own, even, and they're still out there attempting to meet women on the street... well that's just disgusting and it pretty much cancels itself out for a strong argument in their favor.

There's so much more to the issue... we live in a throw away society where relationships are the first to go... men aren't allowed to express feelings... media brainwashes everyone with garbage... Our food supply is... I could go on; lol.

I wonder, do these men stop to think where they get their beliefs from? Just because it's what you've 'learned' doesn't mean it's right. Stop and think "is this what I believe or was I conditioned to act this way? Rise above it.

Btw, I am "j from Brooklyn" & "j from Bk". From the earlier comments. I didn't right that last comment though. Different j from Brooklyn, lol.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle." ~plato

Apr. 27 2013 10:49 AM
Mr Locario from Brooklyn

How come no one has addressed the fact that women still have not come up with a solution to what they are going to replace this so called problem with.

Again if men stop approaching women, ARE WOMEN GOING TO DO IT. No y'all are not so lets cut the bullshit. It seems like myself, Glen and maybe a few others get it.

You ladies are living in FEAR!!! You have to deal with that and look at why you are so scared of men and don't know how to handle yourself in these types of situations.

If a man is walking down the street and a women is scared of him is this dude supposed to cross the street and not walk past her. Does he need to change what he is doing because the women is fearful. I'm a black man and if I'm walking down the street and a racist dude sees me and gets upset and starts calling me all types of N words and all that am I supposed to just leave the premises. Do I need to change because the man is racist. Should I stop being black because he hates or fears me or does that racist dude need to look at himself and say why am I so damn racist.

So ladies stop acting like your FEAR is a man's fault. Take a good look in the mirror.

Dan Harvey you can not compare a cop harassing someone to a man trying to approach a woman to have a conversation. You know that is some BS. The only time I will agree that harassment is going on is if a dude tries to talk to a chick and she says she isn't interested and then the dudes starts to follow her, try to keep it going and then starts grabbing on a chick.

Telling a woman Hi, How are you, You should smile is not harassment. Y'all need to stop with the bullshit.

Apr. 27 2013 02:26 AM
Glen from Brooklyn

@Mr. Locario, great job on the excellent audio response to this article. I agree with everything you said in your response. The real problem this woman has in this article is not men trying to talk to her, (assuming she is attracted men) its the men she doesn't like trying to talk to her. If she would just clarify this in the article none of us who support the opposing viewpoint would have anything to say.

@ j from Brooklyn "some of the comments here actually make me hate people" you can hate me all you want I'm going to voice my opinion, I have every right to do so. I'm sorry if I think there is nothing wrong with a man respectfully approaching a woman he finds attractive on the street or anywhere and trying to start a conversation. It's the woman's decision if she wants to give that man the time of day but you wouldn't know that if you do not approach her since women rarely approach men. Dan Harvey I'm not even going to address you, you're just drawing strawmans all over the place. Where did stop & frisk come from and what does that have to do with a man respectfully approaching a woman he finds attractive?

Apr. 27 2013 01:29 AM
j from brooklyn

Some of the comments here make me absolutely hate people. Particularly comments such as the ones made by Glen, bobk, and Mr. Locario.

Women are NOT equal to men. Men do not "get it" as women do. Men COULD speak to the seriousness of issues that are this particular to women's experience, but they are most likely going to be WRONG. They need to understand the history and individual experiences of women. They need to understand that their casual rhetoric matters and that fighting violence against women starts with mending comments such as, "I am a men. Men are suppose to do this." They need to start with EMPATHY and questions not defense and blame.

Women are strong and will grow stronger in the coming years. I do not understand this trending backlash against women in the U.S. especially powerful, educated women.

WNYC, don't be discouraged in doing news with feminist leanings. If you lose one or two sexist listeners, it's not much of a lost. You still have my support.

Apr. 27 2013 12:24 AM
Dan Harvey from Brooklyn

I find it disappointing that there are still men not only contributing to, but encouraging and facilitating rape culture. Mr. Locario, especially, you're facilitating a problem. Yes, there are certainly women who respond to men engaging in street harassment tactics. There are also kidnapping victims who gain affections for their kidnappers and people in abusive relationships who consistently make excuses for the abusers in their lives. The fact that there are growing numbers of women who have the courage to respond to harassment for what it is should not be demonized. And, brothers especially, need to step it up.
It is not a woman's job or obligation to respond to ANY unsolicited comment. Period. That's harassment. It's not a woman's job to accept it, anymore than it's a Black man's job or obligation to accept that he's profiled by the NYPD. We live in a culture of harassment. Mr. Locario, you sound enlightened enough to understand that it the not job of those victimized by societal prejudices to simply cope. As a Black man, do you enjoy that the NYPD is more likely to stop you while driving your car or frisk you without due notice? Do you believe that it is fair that the 1% of American society tells you to accept that you're paid less on the dollar than a White man in your station?
The issue is not women's reactions. The issue is harassment. It's crime. DEAL WITH THAT.
And re:your argument: Not every woman is looking for a man. A married, committed, same gender loving, or otherwise uninterested woman is not excluded from this harassment. Moreover, persistent short comings within our community creates a discrepancy, leading women to ever believe that men can be better.
Mr. Williams and Mr. Locario, please become apart of the solution, not the problem.
If you don't get the problem, don't make excuses. There's a ton of literature on rape culture. READ THOSE BOOKS.

Apr. 27 2013 12:06 AM
Glen from Brooklyn

@bobk I'm with you brother. If NPR starts pushing this feminist bs I'm done with them, or if they're going to give a voice to idiotic women like the one in this audio, provide a productive counter argument.

Apr. 26 2013 10:54 PM
j from BK

Compassion.

Apr. 26 2013 06:01 PM
Mr. Locario from Brooklyn

I had way too much to say about this so I made it in this audio.

These Women Are So Fucking Weak!!! (Re: Not Taking it Anymore: One Woman Talks Back To Street Harassers

Check it out: http://mrlocariotv.com/?p=2281

Apr. 26 2013 05:52 PM
bobk from nyc

WNYC wastes everyone's time with this crap. i love the idea of public radio, but the support of all these wacko women, has stopped me form supporting the station. feminism in the US, has gotten so out of hand...

Apr. 26 2013 05:42 PM
EA from Harlem

So many of the males posters just. don't. get. it. And thank you to the ones that do (especially Evan, since we're in the same neighborhood, and that's where I usually experience it). Those who think this is all silly, it sounds from your comments that you are heterosexual. So now think of what it would be like if you were going about your daily business and a gay man, who was obviously bigger and stronger than you, who had the ability to physically overpower you if he so chose, was making comments about your body and what he'd like to do to it. Now pretend it happens every day, but all sorts of men who have the physical ability to harm you. You wouldn't like it, and that's what women go through, every. single. day.

Apr. 26 2013 05:05 PM
Glen from Brooklyn

@CK from YKT yes we probably will never meet since I like to keep the company of nice and friendly women and I usually shun the misandristic and bitter feminist types like yourself and Ms. Fazlalizadeh. So yes, that's one thing we can agree on, we probably will never meet or interact. If you make a living reasoning get a new profession because you obviously suck at it. If you forgot you made the assumption of me using Will Smith and Kobe Bryant as examples of wealthy and succesful black men, as being some sort of "racist" comment and you don't even know what race I am so that shows you lack reasoning, obviously. CK take it from me a guy asking you to smile is not disrespectful and you and the woman in this audio just sound like idiots. Grow up, seriously..

Apr. 26 2013 04:24 PM
CK from YKT

Actually Glen, you seem to be a few sandwiches shy of a picnic. I make a living reasoning. This isn't an emotional argument and there's a difference you're too dull to comprehend between a greeting and and harrassing comments like telling someone you don't know to "smile". You clearly lack any empathy. With luck, i'll never meet you. Just as you are taught to keep your hands to yourself, keep your comments to yourself when walking past others. Freedom of speech doesn;t mean you don't need manners. Think what you like. Think you're superior if you like. And again no, it;s not about someone who's good looking or well off making the comment. You're a dull boy indeed.

Apr. 26 2013 04:00 PM
Glen from Brooklyn

@ CK from Yorktown "Ask yourself: do you want men talking that way to your daughter?" LOL nice strawman but you miss the point entirely, I forget a lot of you women operate on emotions not logic so I shouldn't be suprised. I used Kobe Bryant and Will Smith as an example because they are successful and wealthy black men and the person who was interviewed, Ms. Fazlalizadeh is a black woman obviously by her pic above so if she dates men (assuming she is not gay) she most likely dates black men. Your assumption that my comment is racist is very foolish and it shows you lack reading comprehension. Also, this is America last time I checked, and this article is on the internet which is open to everyone. Everyone in America has the freedom of speech and the right to voice their opinion so you can kiss my behind, I don't have to agree with you.

I first listened to this audio on the radio when I was on my way to work this morning and the woman was complaining about guys asking her to smile. Explain to me how that is "rude" or "sexually explicit"? Seriously?! You feminists lack reasoning and logic. The reason she's mad is because its not the man that she wants that's trying to talk to her.

Apr. 26 2013 03:33 PM
CK from Yorktown

Most of the male posters who suggest that it's not that big a deal or that if it were "Will Smith or Kobe Bryant" (by the way.. racist a bit?) don't get it. We don't want ANYONE yelling at us. Keep your opinion to yourself. And this isn't about soemeone saying 'good morning' walking by. This is shouting, commenting, sexually explicit comments etc. You can say "good morning" politely and no one will "whine" about it.

Ask yourself: do you want men talking that way to your daughter?

Apr. 26 2013 03:15 PM
Glen from Brooklyn

The woman in this audio is just mad because Will Smith or Kobe Bryant is not trying to talk to her. I'm sure if one of those guys were trying to talk to her she wouldn't be complaining about it. If that is her picture above she is not even all that cute, I personally wouldn't try to talk to her if I see her on the street.

Apr. 26 2013 03:09 PM
Fran Luck from Manhattan

To the first poster: You have no idea of what you are talking about because you don't experience the sheer amount of such comments and how menacing they are. This can happen to a woman as much as 10 times a day, and is not limited to lightheartedness. Usually it crosses over into comments about her body and often she is followed. Being told to smile by strangers, as if they own your face, IS disrespectful, infantilizing and it's saying to a woman: "You have no privacy, no boundaries, any male stranger can interrupt your thoughts at will and there's nothing you can do about it." Women all over the world are organizing around this. By the way, if men treated men with the same kind of disrespect, there would be fistfights on every corner. Please curb your arrogant ignorance and respect what women are saying about this!

Apr. 26 2013 02:01 PM
asshole from ur moms bedroom

Unless someone says something disrespectful, quit whining about being the subject of attention from the opposite sex. You preach equality between men and women yet a man would be laughed at if he complained about a woman saying "hey cutie" or some other light hearted compliment. Perhaps you only get attention from retarded guys that dont get why trying to pick someone up in the street isnt the way to go, but still, no need to be a bitch by replying to a civilized catcall with "fuck off" or "get lost".

Apr. 26 2013 01:14 PM
Evan from Harlem

I think a lot of the guys commenting here are missing the point. Flirting is a two-way activity. Most of the time guys are simply cat-calling. If a girl responds with anything but a thank you and a smile, they are frequently called a bitch or otherwise insulted. My wife (wearing an engagement ring and wedding band) deals with this when commuting to work daily.

Apr. 26 2013 01:09 PM

When strange men accost women on the street, it is rarely motivated by a desire to be nice. It can be just showing off for their male friends -- as in look how I claim all women as being my own. Usually it is an effort to dominate women, force them to respond and to interact, with the implicit threat that if they don't, they might get attacked.

The underlying basis for approaching strange women on the street is the same as the gangs of religious fanatics in other parts of the world who attack women (sometimes rape and murder them) because they are not sufficiently modest or obedient, or the men have rules that women are not allowed to go out on the street unaccompanied by a male, so if she does, she must be a slut.

How odd that men in the U.S. who aggressively intrude on women's space in public think of themselves as "cool," when the truth is they behave as if they were in the Taliban. In both cases, the assumption is that women are property and if her owner (father, brother or husband) can't control her, any other man is free to step in and use her.

No, it's not an amusing pastime. It's actually a form of male control of women whenever they step outside the home, because the basic view is that women should stay home and be a servant to some man.

Apr. 26 2013 01:08 PM
tom LI

Mr Locario no I won't "holla" at you, as you're trying to hard to get attention. Holla? Really?

The post after you makes the point. Imagine of you were the object of everyone's critique as you simply went out for a walk. But I'll add - think about how unsafe it would make you feel that such attention would be paid, and should you "talk-back" you would now increase the threat risk to your own safety.

And the other country example is as always empty and of no relevance. This is the USA, not some backwards, misogyny soaked nation.

Apr. 26 2013 01:03 PM
j from Brooklyn

A couple of weeks ago, a similar thought crossed my mind ie. how can I bring attention to this issue? I am not the most beautiful lady, by any means, but this has always, *always* been a difficult issue for me. It actually stopped me from enjoying simply walking out the for door many years. It's not as bad, now that I'm older, but still it affected me for a long time! Should it ever happen again, I think I would be bold enough to use a reverse tactic and interrogate the guy about why he chooses to do it and try to educate him... make him a little uncomfortable.

Guys imagine this... you're casually walking down the street and women ( & men ) everywhere comment and ridicule you on the size of your bulge or the way your clothes fit. Just Imagine.

There's so much more to say on the topic but guys... Stop It. Be Better than that & be an example to the guys around you!

Apr. 26 2013 12:47 PM
Mr. Locario from Brooklyn

Women need to stop acting like little babies when it comes to this subject. "Oh my god I can't take it a guy is trying to talk to me" Wow! are you ladies this weak? In other countries women get beaten up and mistreated for all types of stuff and you ladies are complaining about a man talking to you.

Answer me this:
When the hell do you ladies ever walk up and talk to men. I'll wait......

Y'all don't so us men have to talk to you and half the time we don't even feel like doing that but we know we have to because y'all aren't going to do it. So please get over yourselves.

Also it's funny how it's "harassment" when a guy you don't like approaches you but it's cute and romantic when a guy you like comes and talk to you. I call BS on this whole article.

Holla at me

Mr. Locario
www.MrLocario.com

Apr. 26 2013 12:43 PM
Bailey from NYC

Women are absolute equals to Men. It's sad that in our day and age, mentalities are still crawling to catch up with modern times.

This kind of behavior and talk about "being a man" is not that of a gentleman with class. It is the absence of intelligence and tact. There is a time and place for everything.

We are beyond this. We must give respect to get respect.

Apr. 26 2013 12:40 PM
Joanna from New York

Verbal harassment is against the law for other discriminated against groups, why does our society still tolerate it for women?

Would similar outbursts be tolerated for say, gay people? or black men?

It is not - cute, flattering,natural, harmless- it is a way for men to reinforce dominance and menace.

When I was much younger, I thought of arming myself like the Black Panthers did when walking the neighborhood.
I was that angry and scared.

So brava Ms. Fazlalizadeh! Sisterhood is Powerful!

Apr. 26 2013 12:39 PM
Glen from Brooklyn

Typical feminist/misandrist bs. Women, particularly american women do not approach men, mainly because a lot of them believe they are above that and that the man should do all of the work in the interaction and the pursuit. The funny thing is when the man goes along with it and initiates the interaction, stupid misndristic women like the one in this audio podcast complain about it. If I am a heterosexual man, that likes women, and I see a women I like that I may be interested in dating, if I don't approach her (since women do not approach men), how am I supposed to interact with her??

Apr. 26 2013 12:33 PM
Sonia

preach

Apr. 26 2013 11:34 AM
uptown resident from NYC

I'm so glad she's doing this, although it's disheartening to hear so many of the male commenters laugh it off and defend themselves as if women are being ridiculous. Most women have experienced this since we turned 12 or 13, and it continues regardless of what we wear, how we walk, or what we do. It is annoying, frustrating, insulting, and threatening.

Personally, it makes me extremely angry that random strangers think it's acceptable to yell things at me because I'm a woman. Really, you're yelling at a person in the street. It must be nice to not be fearful of retaliation, which is the only thing that keeps me from yelling obscenities right back at them.

I don't normally experience too much of this in my quiet neighborhood, but recently some construction workers came in for a long term project in my neighborhood, and after a few creepy leers and catcalls I've had to change my route to avoid them.

I was extremely tempted to tape up signs saying "STOP CATCALLING WOMEN" but I figured they would be torn down. I considered calling the police or telling the landlords in the area but I'm 99% sure nothing would come of that either. The lack of power I feel within this issue is depressing but I seriously applaud this artist's efforts and I hope work like this will continue to make news.

Apr. 26 2013 11:05 AM
Evan from Harlem

I HOLLA Ladies.

I Help Our Ladies Live As Ladies, and other men should do the same. I'd like to start an initiative to educate youth on what is respectful and what is discomforting. I've seen it too often where women feel intimidated by so-called "innocent flirtation".

Apr. 26 2013 10:16 AM
john from office

I see this all the time with black men towards any black woman, no matter her status. This problem starts at home with how a son is raised by their mom. It is one thing to look at a woman who is attractive, it is another to comment or talk to her in a sexual manner.

Before I am called a racist, I see this behavior with all men, but I see alot of it in the african american community. It starts at home ladies.

Apr. 26 2013 10:13 AM
Stacie

“I’m a man. I’m supposed to. I think every man, if they see a woman they feel is attractive, should try to do what they can to acquire this woman,” he said.

That is a terrifying comment and sounds like something a rapist would say.

Apr. 26 2013 10:12 AM
Matt from Queens

I really applaud this woman's work, and I'm sad (though not surprised) that it was defaced as it was. As a man it's probably impossible for me to understand just what it's like not to have the right to the full enjoyment of our city streets, but I do believe that this is what's at stake.

I don't mean to reduce this to soap-boxing, but we are living under an administration one of whose priorities has been to crack down on "quality of life" violations. But what is a greater violation of one's quality of life than this? I cannot think of a single elected official or public figure who's ever talked about street harassment as a civil rights or quality-of-life issue, but it is no less than exactly that.

Whenever I encounter a man sexually harassing a woman in the street, I address him in some way. I pretend I'm a reporter for the "A**hole of the Day" newspaper, or a representative of the "Worst Human Being Alive Club." I walk up to him all smiles, shaking his hand and congratulating him for his great contributions to the field of being a worthless turd. Sometimes I call the police. I'm not stupid enough to think they'll do anything, but at least it will be a big deal, and it will cause a major disruption in the harasser's day. As a man, it's all I can think to do.

Apr. 26 2013 10:06 AM
rachel

street harassment has absolutely nothing to do with sex or attraction. its all about bullying & power.

to reduce a person to a single dimension of physical sexuality is an attempt at creating a power dynamic where the cat caller/abuser can belittle and take away a woman's power.

Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power. - oscar wilde

Apr. 26 2013 09:55 AM
Anna from brooklyn

I took a photograph of one of her posters a month ago when I was in Bed-Stuy. It just struck such a strong nerve with me! Catcalls, psssts and "hey baby's" are NOT the way to approach women, and never do I wish more for the super power of visual strangulation when it happens. It is SO infuriating, and insulting on so many levels. Good for her for taking a stand!

Apr. 26 2013 09:40 AM
Elaine from Bronx

Can we get these posters up in the bronx

Apr. 26 2013 09:40 AM
Anon

Boycott:
Anthony Williams the Manager of Williams Stores, the Hosiery-Retail in 1292 Fulton St, the Brooklyn, the New York 11216.

Apr. 26 2013 09:39 AM
Brenda from New York City

I applaud and support these efforts but I'd also like to see women targeted. Too many times I've witnessed women smiling and encouraging the most obscene of comments and gestures from men. Everyone is entitled to their version of flattery, but I worry that it goes beyond flattery. Do women who take delight in being objectified on the street internalize that need int heir personal relationships? Does their delight only encourage men in their perception that commenting on a stranger's body might lead to a physical relationship?

www.HereSheIsBoys.com

Apr. 26 2013 08:44 AM
Maura from washington

Tatyana is absolutely right on target. She's doing what so many women do - she's trying to take the high road and do the right thing. I love that she's using her art to speak back to these idiots. I've experienced the same thing since I was 13 years old, as most women have. Age and race don't matter. It's offensive and disrespectful to all women when foolish men they don't know yell at them on the street.

Apr. 24 2013 04:56 PM
Jenna Evans from Brooklyn

There's something even well-meaning men fundamentally don't understand about catcalls: They thinks it's all about "compliments," but they don't get that we also get a constant stream of insults, commands (cheer up! shave your legs!) and assessments on our clothing, breast size, gait, hair, etc. It's the open judgment that is so objectionable. They think if the tables were turned, women on the street would be telling them they're hot all the time. When actually, while that might occasionally happen, they'd also hear "What a slob! I give it a 3! Damn, shave that nasty beard! Where's the funeral?"...which they would hate as much as we do. (At that point I guess we'd get to say, "lighten up, honey. Geez, why don't men have a sense of humor?")

Apr. 22 2013 11:10 PM
cervantes from del universo

from a latino man- can we not be PC, and just come out and say that this is mosty[by far]a black/trigueno latino, and african-ameican male thing. let's put blame where it should be,and not on all men equally. anglo-american males[white if you wish],do a lot of perverse and stupid things;but this particular behavior, is very rare for them.

Apr. 21 2013 12:22 PM

"I think every man, if they see a woman they feel is attractive, should try to do what they can to acquire this woman."

Seriously?

"Me, caveman. Hit woman on head with club and acquire her, take her back to cave."

Apr. 21 2013 11:42 AM
Nuage Fetes from My heart

Thank you Suzie for your reference to Maggie Hadleigh-West
http://www.yomaggie.com/

Player Hating: A Love Story
"Hadleigh-West clearly has the guts, not to mention the wiliness, of a potentially major filmmaker: She went to an everyday kind of purgatory and came out with a picture of cleansing humanity.”
– Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine

Apr. 21 2013 11:08 AM
Nuage Fetes from My heart

Dear Tatyana Fazlalizadeh,

You are beautiful, powerful, and unalone still.*

“I talk about how I did not plant the seeds too deeply, how it was the fault of the earth, the land, our town. I even think now that
the land of the entire country was hostile to marigolds that year. This soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live.”
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

* http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/185217

Demand = Supply

Hardy Girls Healthy Women

"...by engaging and educating our communities and by empowering youth with new opportunities for control, commitment, and challenge in their lives. To that end, we encourage all youth to continue the ultimate struggle to create healthier societies in a world in which we all are valued for who we are and what we contribute."

Link: http://www.hghw.org/content/about-us

Apr. 21 2013 11:05 AM
Paula

This is definitely one thing men cannot understand... it is so off putting and uncomfortable... no one should have to feel this defensive while just trying to walk down the street. I read about this last month here... http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/stop-telling-women-to-smile/

I also recently heard about a young girl writing messages in chalk on the street to men and boys...

Apr. 20 2013 02:27 PM
jdb26354 from NYC

"Roving eyes" - if caught on police cameras - could be punishable offenses. Happy spring, New York!

Apr. 20 2013 03:27 AM

Check out Maggie Hadleigh-West's (2013 Guggenheim fellow) 1998 film War Zone. Addressing verbal violence against women on the streets of America. We shot in NY, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.

Apr. 19 2013 04:33 PM

"Acquire this woman"?

WNYC and Stephen Nessen, I'd like to know exactly what clothing shop on Fulton Street Anthony Williams, 30, runs. Because I'd like to boycott it. And I suspect a lot of other women would too.

Apr. 19 2013 02:08 PM
Stacey Mead from NY

To be sure that kind of street behavior is annoying and embarrassing and sometimes even frightening but once you reach the age of invisibility the problem takes care of itself. It's just then you've got a bigger one to deal with.

Apr. 19 2013 02:04 PM
resident

calling it "a cultural melting pot" when a man says he should do everything he can to "aquire" a woman is the most ridiculous and offensive thing I've ever heard. nice subtle racism, wnyc.

Apr. 19 2013 12:05 PM
Eileen

"to acquire this woman????"!!!

Apr. 19 2013 09:47 AM
She doesn't look Persian

Fazlalizadeh sounds like a Persian name, no? Interesting background, I guess.

Apr. 19 2013 07:53 AM

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