When White Men Are Left Out: Catcalls and Domestic Violence in the Media

If my dad has seen the Hollaback/Rob Bliss Creative hidden-camera video of a young woman being catcalled on New York City streets, then you probably have, too. catcall_video

Out of 10 hours, an approximate number of 100 catcalls were recorded. Many of them were disputed. One of the men on my favorite morning radio show defended the man who “only said God bless you.” In reality, he looked her body up and down and said, “God bless you, mami….damn.” Is that the same as a religious person wishing good will upon another human being? You can get back to me on that one.

But a great argument that has been forming since the end of the week is that there were no white men catcalling the woman in this video.

I’m almost shocked that this has been brought up at all. There is a lot of evidence that the mainstream media will focus sexual harassment and domestic violence toward men of color. As I sat on my boyfriend’s couch this morning and he and his roommates watched football, this ad played during a commercial break:

But it was heavily edited from its original 60 seconds, and the only white man that I consciously saw was Eli Manning…twice. This is an example of institutionalized racism and white, male privilege at work. When only men of color are harassing women on the streets and only men of color are representing a problem of domestic violence in the NFL, isn’t that sending a message out to audiences that white men are not included and thus don’t do it?

Just like representation matters in entertainment, it also matters when the demographics of harassment and violence are tampered with. We can’t count white men out. We need to demand that they be shown in every area of sexual harassment and violence like other ethnicities.

What do you think?

What kind of harassment have you experienced in real life or online?

Have you heard any noteworthy reactions from peers towards the Hollaback catcall video?


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