Content Notice for Street Harassment, Sexual Assault, & Violence
Disclaimer: The 100-catcalls-in-a-day Hollaback video making the rounds has its intersectional (i.e. racial) issues. I think it still serves well in starting a conversation and makes a point about an experience with which very few men are familiar.
Most of these men said seemingly positive things to the subject of the video: compliments and simple “hi”s and “hello”s. So what’s the problem here?
The problem is that, if you are or are perceived by society to be a female person and are walking alone, there’s no good way to react to random male strangers greeting you on the streets.
If you choose to ignore them and continue walking, as shown in the video, they might get angry with you for being stuck-up or ungrateful.
If you say “hello” back to them, they often take that as an invitation to solicit sex. Refusing a man’s advances can have severe consequences; at the very least, it tends to be an unpleasant experience where you are verbally berated and physically intimidated.
If you say you have a boyfriend or wear a wedding ring as a deterrent, it might be taken as a challenge or seen as a lie. Also, people on the Internet might get mad at you about it.
If you confront them, things may not go well for you (although I’ve done it more than once with non-violent results).
The only way to avoid street harassment in certain areas if you look a certain way is to walk around only when accompanied by a man, if you leave your house at all — a positively Sharia-esque prospect if there ever were one.
What’s wrong with saying hello, indeed.
If you are a man, consider all that when you choose to cold-approach a female or female-appearing stranger. If you truly believe that the very faint, approaching-zero prospect of friendship, a date, or sex is worth contributing to the daily deluge faced by the female and the female-perceived, then by all means.