Monday, 6 October 2014

What Does 'Street Harassment' Actually Mean? (Part 1. Indecency)

'Street Harassment' is a term used by third wave feminists to denote unwanted romantic communication in public. The website defines it thus:

 Street harassment is any action or comment between strangers in public places that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening and/or harassing and is motivated by gender or sexual orientation or gender expression

A Google image search for 'street harassment' renders a set of images that convey the notion of 'street harassment' well.

'Street Harassment' conflates public masturbation, compliments from strangers, and every other act that exemplifies public sexual expression. A number of important characteristics differentiate these acts from one another. However, as far as I can tell, public sexual expression is the only characteristic that assimilates them. In order to effectively treat the matter, I will secern four types of 'street harassment': indecency, vulgarity, compliments, and emoting. I will treat the feminist reaction to each type of 'street harassment' in a series of brief entries.  This entry is the first of those.

An image in the collage inset above the previous paragraph encourages people to "speak up against public masturbation." The image evinces the existence of a harmfully selfish attitude that characterizes feminism: The feminist who created the image didn't consider, or didn't care about, the state of men who masturbate in public. Either she didn't consider that mental illness almost certainly afflicts men who masturbate in public, or she did consider it, but judged that she ought to condemn these men rather than help them.

Men constitute 75%  of the homeless. If a man has no home, then whenever he masturbates, he does so in public. If feminism desires to curtail public masturbation, then it ought to undertake to reduce the prevalence of homeless men. Many public housing administrations ascribe priority to female applicants. Feminism could equitably reduce the prevalence of homeless men, and thereby reduce the prevalence of public masturbation, by advocating for the gender-equitable treatment of public housing applications.

We invest 500% more in research that studies conditions that afflict only, or mostly, women than we invest in research that studies conditions that afflict only, or mostly, men. Mental illness equally afflicts men and women. As such, the disproportionate investment in research that studies women's afflictions necessitates lesser investment in research that studies conditions that afflict both genders, such as mental illnesses. Few sane people publicly masturbate. Therefore, reducing the prevalence of mental illness will reduce the prevalence of public masturbation. Accordingly, if feminism desires to curtail public masturbation, then it ought to undertake to reduce the prevalence of mental illness by advocating for gender-equitable investment in health research. 

To condemn an ill or addicted man for public masturbation does not normatively differ from condemning a similarly afflicted woman for publicly masturbating those men for their money. Ought we punish drug addicted women who perform sex acts in public for drug money? Perhaps. However, feminism, to the surprise of no one, argues that we ought to punish only her (presumably, male) customer.[2]

 A, presumably, drug addicted, woman performing a sex act in public. Courtesy Google StreetView

Feminism has defined 'street harassment' as unwanted public expressions of sexual orientation. Every sex act expresses a sexual orientation. Therefore, if bystanders regard public sex acts, such as the aforedepicted one, as 'unwanted', then campaigns that advocate against public masturbation ought to advocate against prostitutes who perform public sex acts. However, no street harassment campaign does so.

Is there any consideration that reconciles feminism's approval of, typically, female behaviours that satisfy its criteria for street harassment with its condemnation of, typically, male behaviours that satisfy those criteria? I can discern none other than a desire to maximize female well-being, no matter whether doing so harms men.


[1]In my previous entry, I cited the statistics I used in the first paragraph.

No comments:

Post a comment