A video designed to raise awareness of the harassment that women receive on the streets every day has shown that, unfortunately, sexism is alive and well. Pah, as if we ever thought any differently.
I was chatting with my my beautiful 101 year old Granny at the weekend and she told me she remembers when the British soldiers were based in her town and they would whistle at the local girls and shout 'Lovely eyes, ducky!' And I thought to myself, as it ever was, so it is still.
And judging by this video, walking the streets of New York every day for the average woman is an ordeal. The public service announcements show an actress going about her daily business, and receiving an unending amount of unwanted attention from men.
Shoshana B. Roberts is the actress in question, who walked around NYC for ten hours wearing an unassuming simple t-shirt and jeans, and she recorded the video for Hollaback, an organisation that aims to raise awareness about how common a problem this is. From people simply shouting "Damn" at her, to others following her around for several minutes (which honestly struck me as scarily threatening as opposed to anything else) , it's a worrying portrayal of the extent to which this takes place on a daily basis.
As if the catcalling and strangers following her wasn't bad enough, it was then the turn of the mindless internet keyboard warriors and trolls to get involved, as they started issuing threats of rape to Roberts in the comments below the video on YouTube. Hollaback appealed for people to help in flagging and reporting the comments and those who made them, and thankfully the majority have been reported.
Emily May, director of Hollaback said that:
The rape threats indicate that we are hitting a nerve, [but] we want to do more than just hit a nerve though, we want New Yorkers to realize - once and for all - that street harassment isn't OK, and that as a city we refuse to tolerate it.
Have we become blasé about the catcalling, the stares, the unsolicited comments? Is it harmless testosterone-fuelled antics or is it something that needs to be taken more seriously? I'd love to hear your thoughts (and please note that my Grandmother is a beautiful human and not a duck).