Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Street Harassment and Redneck Chivalry

Hollaback NYC is the founding blog of the Hollaback movment: http://hollabacknyc.blogspot.com/

What Hollaback is, is a place for women to post their experiences of street harassment and cell phone photos of the host of ass-grabbers, “Hey, Baby”s, and chronic masturbators they encounter in every day life while attempting to be female in public. There are several Hollabacks now, including Washington DC, Chicago, the Pacific Northwest and London, among others. This is a valuable, worthwhile creation, this Hollaback thing, and I approve.

In the last few months, Hollaback’s been raising money to get an iPhone app made that will allow women to nearly instantaneously post photos of creepy dudes who harass them from their iPhones. They did get the money, the app will be out in July. Reactions have been mixed to this news, and predictably, most of the negative reactions have been from guys who just know that vindictive bitches are going to be out there taking pictures of innocent Dudez, who were minding their own business and not being sexist jackholes at all, and posting them just because they can.


Ok, here’s the thing. If you’re worried that your picture could turn up on a Hollaback site, that’s probably because you KNOW that you do actionable shit that offends and/or frightens women on a regular basis. My husband’s not worried about turning up on that site. Probably because he’s not a dick. A buddy of mine once got into a fight with a dude who said, “I’m sick of people flipping me off when I’m driving.” My buddy’s response was, “Well, then, maybe you should quit driving like an asshole.”

If you’re worried about winding up on a Hollaback site, maybe you should quit being a dick to women. It’s that simple.

And if you don’t understand why street harassment even as banal as “Hey, baby!” bothers and frightens women, you have a lot of reading to do. Start with Schroedinger’s Rapist: http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/ and my response to it on the CA NOW site: http://www.canow.org/canoworg/2009/10/schrodingers-rapist-and-why-it-doesnt-say-what-you-thought-it-did.html

But back to what was the original subject/inspiration of this post.

Reading the Hollaback sites, particularly the ones from big cities (NYC, Chicago, Washington DC, LA), the one thing I noticed was that a lot (and I mean a LOT) of the women posted pictures of Latino/Hispanic guys. Several women, many of them Latinas, said that they hated saying it because it made them feel racist, but that most of the guys who harassed them were Latino.

I had to stop and think about that, because I didn’t think I’d ever been street harassed by a Latino guy. Ever.* I’ve had a few hit on me very, very respectfully and leave off with a smile when I said, “No, thanks,” but nothing like the women in these other cities experienced. Then it dawned on me.

I live in/near/surrounded by Redneck Chivalry. I’ve spent most of my life in the west, in areas that might have a big (biggish) city, but for the most part are surrounded by rednecks. Boise is just a small town with a lot of people, and Seattle, while it may be Liberal, is surrounded by rednecks, tons of them. And Redneck Chivalry demands that white women be respected by brown guys, or big, thick, cornfed redneck dudes will beat the shit out of them. What the woman or girl thinks or wants about the situation matters not one tiny bit, either.

Granted, that’s about as “chivalric” as Redneck Chivalry gets. Trust me, the most disgusting examples of street harassment I’ve ever faced have come from big dumb redneck douchebags in jacked up pick up trucks with more lights on them than your average runway. So, it doesn’t mean no street harassment (not by a long shot), it just means a different flavor of it. And that because of the inherent racism of the area, that Latino guys “aren’t allowed to play.”

Now, if we could just get another group who’ll beat the shit of big, thick, cornfed redneck dudes… I’m kidding. Sort of. Ok, I’d like to be that group.

So, there, you have my two cents on why I have a different experience of street harassment than women in other cities.

*Trust me, I’m not ruling out the possibility that said guys just don’t find me cute. But we all know that Street Harassment isn’t a compliment, or we should by now.

This entry originally posted at http://polimicks.dreamwidth.org/

8 comments on “Street Harassment and Redneck Chivalry

  1. lexica510
    June 12, 2010

    How did I miss seeing your response back when you posted it? Foo.
    Excellent writing, as usual. The kind of thing I want to link to as widely as possible, as usual. The kind of thing that will probably be misinterpreted by some of the people who read it when I link to it… as usual (just as you discuss in your response). *sigh*


    • polimicks
      June 12, 2010

      I’m hoping I didn’t say anything really offensive, but I want people to realize that I’m definitely not siding with the racists. I come from a really racist, redneck background (extended family), so I know of whence I speak with the redneck chivalry.
      And feel free to link this, she says, cringing and donning asbestos underpants.


  2. dangerous_beans
    June 12, 2010

    I’m kinda curious about racism – where’s the line between racism and pointing out a general fact? Like the Latinas in big cities who’ve been hit on/creeped out by Latinos and feel like they’re being racist by mentioning it?
    I ask because I encounter racism about Indians up here all the time. It makes me extremely uncomfortable because I was taught not to judge someone by their colour/appearance. And that’s exactly what I’m doing, making a judgement of their work ethic based on appearance.
    There is a difference between an Indian and a Native up here and god forbid you call a Native an Indian ’cause s/he might punch you. And it’s not the Native population that people (including Natives) slur.
    Natives are the folks who hold a job, have an education or going to school, hold property without destroying it. Indians are the folk on the Rez that drink their once a month treaty checks, steal cars and burn them*, don’t hold down regular jobs and will tear a wall out of their (government paid for) house to let the horse drink out of the bathtub.
    Or is this just my racist equivalent of mansplaining?
    *The ongoing joke/scam is “Wanna get rid of a vehicle? Bring it out to [rez name] or [another rez] and burn it.”


    • polimicks
      June 12, 2010

      Honestly, I don’t know how to respond to this without saying something that’s probably really stupidly racist myself.
      One wonders how much of the “Indian” behavior is exagerrated by the racism (probably a lot), and also how much of what actually might be true is a result of, “Well, they’re gonna think this about us anyway, so fuck ’em.” Not to mention, is what they’re paid to live on enough to actually live on and what’s the quality of the housing, education, everything available on the Reservations?


      • dangerous_beans
        June 12, 2010

        At least one of the local reservations is pretty third-world. The government will pay for utilities to be brought out there, but when the drivers of propane and gas trucks are shot at and refuse to go back, there’s not a lot that can be done y’know? You run quickly out of options when you only have a limited number of local companies that all refuse to put their lives in danger.
        The electric company the Critter works for now sends their people out in at least 2 pairs. They always work in a pair for safety reasons, but to a rez it’s 2 pair. Two or three to do the work and the last one to stand guard over the equipment and trucks.
        I don’t know how much treaty checks are for, but you can tell the day they come out because a lot of cars that wouldn’t pass inspection (’cause inspection isn’t required for Natives/Indians) come to town and hit up the liquor stores.
        I’ve heard of Indians that shoot deer and leave it, or shoot out of season “Just so the white man can’t have it.” because they’ve got a treaty card and can hunt whenever.
        On the other hand, there is a Native band that has taken what the government has given and put it to use for themselves. They require their members to complete high school and to either find employment in a trade, or go to school [including trade school]. The individual must pay for their first year, but beyond that once they’ve decided on a career choice the band will pay for any continuing education.
        Does it become a problem with race, or a problem with entitlement?


      • polimicks
        June 13, 2010

        I don’t know. And honestly, any guess I make is probably going to make me sound racist, so I’ll decline to answer.
        However, if any of you grew up on a reservation in the US or Canada, I’d be more than happy to have you field this.


  3. darrius26
    June 12, 2010

    Somrthing to think about is that most crime, harassment, bad stuff etc. happens between people of the same race, class, etc. So an ointeresting thing to look at is ask the Latinas in this area who is the most douchbagish top them. The courtesy you are seeing may not be redneck chivalry it mioght just be that as you are white the white guys feel comfortable being a jackass to you while the brown guys do not.
    Something to think about


    • polimicks
      June 13, 2010

      You’ll note I said, “many of them Latinas.” In other areas, Latino guys are not just harassing Latinas, they’re more aggressive with all women.
      I can’t tell from Hollaback whether or not the majority of women complaining about Latino guys are Latina or not, because often times women use net names, or are not forthcoming about their own ethnicity.


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This entry was posted on June 11, 2010 by in Feminism, Misogyny, Sexism and tagged , .

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