Left and Right Agree: Cat-Calling Is Menacing and Disgusting

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A few days ago, anti-street-harassment organization Hollaback posted a YouTube video of a woman walking through Manhattan for ten hours and being subjected to repeated and demeaning cat-calls. So what did conservatives think of this? Here’s Christine Sisto at National Review:

Most of the criticisms of this video are basically, “Since when is saying ‘good morning’ harassment?”…. The “harassment” comes from the intent. A woman doesn’t believe that a man genuinely wants to know how how her day is going when he shouts it at her as she walks by him on the street….Anyone with a modicum of common sense who watches the video can see that these men weren’t interested in wishing a random person a pleasant day.

….Whatever the cause of cat-calling may be, it should stop….A societal change is needed, one that can start with a guy not clapping his buddy on the back for telling some girl how much he enjoys her assets. Maybe, someday, we ladies can walk to work in peace.

Here’s Jay Nordlinger:

Christine Sisto has written about “cat-calling.” I’m so glad she has tackled this subject — it’s important. I have witnessed cat-calling my entire life, as we all do. In the main, I have not found it innocent, sweet, and breezy, as in a Warner Bros. cartoon. (“Hey, toots! Nice gams!”) I have found it menacing, disgusting, and semi-assaultive.

And here’s Jonah Goldberg:

I’d note that this practice pre-dates the rise of rap music by decades if not centuries or millennia. The issue isn’t race, it’s manners. Good manners are taught for the most part by good parents, good schools and good peers. I agree with Christine that Hollaback is spitting into the wind here. I also agree that catcalling should stop and that the only thing that can stop it is a societal change. But such a change would require a lot more than a few videos, no matter how viral. And it would also require the progressive Left to take on challenges much stiffer than bullying already well-mannered people to police their micro-aggressive grammar on elite college campuses or in obscure chatrooms. And that’s why I don’t think it will stop anytime soon.

Goldberg, unfortunately, simply can’t pass up the opportunity to somehow shift the blame for continued cat-calling onto the PC left. That’s shopworn and witless. But at least he’s against it. On the whole, then, good for National Review for not pretending that cat-calling is yet another innocent bit of fun that humorless liberals are trying to deny the rest of us. It’s disgusting and it should stop. At least we all agree about that.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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