In this video titled “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman,” we get to bear witness to what it’s like for a young woman to get from A to B, and why sometimes a compliment feels like harassment.

Ladies of Truthdig, is it like this where you live? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook. Bless you, mama.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer


Since I posted this video yesterday, I’ve gotten a number of complaints about the headline. For the record, I’ve changed it to say “some men are pigs.” The feedback about the original headline I got via email and Twitter was sometimes contradictory, and along these lines: It’s too broad, it’s sexist towards men, it shows that I believe in the myth of sexism towards men, it undermines the thesis of the video, and it’s hate speech.

I will submit that it was originally overly broad and undermined the thesis of the video. On the first point, I’ve adjusted the headline to be less broad. On the second, I’m free as a blogger to have my own reaction to the video, to comment on it and draw different conclusions. The video is posted in full, unedited, for the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. I happen to mostly agree with the thesis, but my in my gut I felt something else, and I shared that gut reaction.

I want to use this opportunity to raise the issue of sensitivity and the difference between taking a whack at the dominant culture and the oppressed. You cannot flip-flop insults. Let me offer a personal example. I am a gay white man. As a white man, I enjoy all the advantages of finding it easier to rent an apartment, get a job that pays me as much as my peers, and avoid jail time for committing the same crime as a person of color. As a gay man, I have to worry about where I hold my boyfriend’s hand when we visit his home town of Wichita, Kansas (home of assassinated women’s health doctor George Tiller). When someone calls me a “faggot,” it means a lot more than when someone calls me a pig. Those things are not equivalent or reversible. I don’t think it’s hate speech to call a man a pig, and it’s not equivalent to calling a woman a bitch. In the above video a man puts a dollar value on the woman walking by and piggish is the correct word to describe his behavior.

That does not mean all men are pigs, and I deeply apologize to George Takei for lumping him in with the rest of us. You are a gentleman, sir.

That said, if you think I’m wrong, or I’m missing the point, let me have it in the comments below.

— Peter Z. Scheer


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