Yeah, I’ve been quiet lately, but I’m not dead. Tauriq Moosa has brought us the news that Scott Adams, known sock-puppeteer, is still talking, this time about street harassment. He still hasn’t learned anything.
There’s the initial bout of condescension towards feminists and feminist-sympathizers, which is especially rich coming from this guy because let me remind you: known sock-puppeteer. He seems to think that feminists don’t know how our movement is received by men, and therefore his opinion will be valuable to us.
Okay, so, quick note to any male readers who might be new (to this blog, to feminist discussion in general) around here: if it seems like feminist activism is insufficiently responsive to men’s objections, or insufficiently sensitive to men’s feelings, or just generally not saying what men think should be said, it’s not because we don’t hear you. Trust me, we hear you. We hear you much better than you hear us. We have different priorities. If our priorities were in line with men’s priorities, we wouldn’t be feminists.
With that in mind, his whole post is worthless before it begins. He’s giving us his take on the recent (infamous) street harassment video by Hollaback, in which a young white or white-passing woman walks through the streets of New York, mostly Harlem, and gets tons of unsolicited, inappropriate, sometimes threatening attention. (If you don’t already know which one I’m talking about, put “Hollaback video Shoshana B. Roberts” into a Google search. You probably already know it.) He looks at this video, first complains that it’s deceptively edited, and then starts screaming at all us uppity females to move somewhere else. Yeah, that’s what he says. Over and over. There’s a bit of concern-trolling about racism and classism, but mostly he’s just screaming at us to move out of wherever we’re experiencing street harassment now. Here are some edited highlights:
MOVE!!! JUST FUCKING MOVE!!!
Okay, I know, your family lives in New York City and your job is there and….JUST FUCKING MOVE!!! MOVE!!! STOP MAKING IT MY PROBLEM!!!
[The video] makes women look like idiots for living in such a place voluntarily.
The creepy stalker guys were just scary. MOVE!!! MOVE!!! MOVE!!!
Mr. Certified Genius Adams’s angle is that he’s telling us feminists how to handle our message to make it more appealing to men, and if he’s thinking that way, this reaction to the issue of street harassment is probably not unique. There are a lot of reasons why this advice is unhelpful, such as a) There are some careers that are impossible to pursue outside of New York and Los Angeles, b) There’s basically no such thing as a safe neighborhood for women, c) The men who appear in that video are probably much more aggressive towards black and brown women who live in their neighborhoods full time, d) Moving somewhere else is fucking expensive and risky, often prohibitively so, e) Therefore, the women who are likely getting the most egregious harassment are the ones who can least afford to move and have the most limited options for other places to live, and f) Wait a minute, why is it that the women have to move? Women are not the problem here.
There are all those issues, and now I want to add that Scott Adams, and anyone else who thinks the solution to street harassment is for women to go live somewhere else, isn’t really serious about that. They don’t want us to move out of the cities. Even if there are some places where women can live and work without harassment (which…no, honestly, there aren’t), nobody actually wants us to follow this advice. If all the women currently experiencing street harassment in New York City cut their losses and moved out to the Land of Safe Streets, that would be a very serious problem for NYC, and nobody wants that to happen. Nobody wants New York, or LA, or DC, or San Francisco, or Chicago, or anywhere else where creepy stalker guys exist (which is…everywhere that humans live) to become a sausagefest. A city without women is an unsustainable city. Demographic devastation is not the answer to street harassment.
They don’t want us to move somewhere safer. They want us to shut up and pretend there’s no problem.