Viral Now: Cat-callers Of New York

By Devesh Gupta , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | October 31, 2014
A video that brings forth the kind of 'street harassment' faced by urban women has gone viral. With over 15 million YouTube views in just 48 hours, the video chronicles a girl's 10-hour long walk around New York City.

Whether a girl is in Noida or whether she's in New York, she deals with issues like verbal harassment, cat-calling, eve teasing and stalking, on a daily basis. A video aimed at sensitising people towards this problem has gone viral. It chronicles a girl's 10-hour long walk around New York... a rather unpleasant one.

The video has fetched over 15 million views in just 48 hours. It was first uploaded on YouTube on October 28.

The video is titled '10 hours of walking in NYC as a woman'.

The girl in the video is a New Yorker named Shoshana B Roberts. She volunteered to be filmed while out traversing the hostile streets of NYC.

Rob Bliss, the director of the film, walked ahead of her, with a camera hidden his backpack. Roberts also carried microphones in both hands so that all the remarks thrown her way could be recorded clearly. Some of the remarks include 'appreciative' words like: "Nice", "Damn", "Sweetie", "You don't wanna talk?", "We can't be friends, nothing?", "If I give you my number, would you talk to me?", "Hey, what's up girl? How you doing?" and "Somebody's acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say 'Thank you' more!"

Over 100 instances of verbal harassment were recorded in a span of 10 hours. These included lewd remarks, vulgar gestures and whistles. She didn't respond to any of it.

The film was commissioned by Hollaback!, an organisation that has been working towards fighting the problem of street harassment since 2005.

The video has fetched lot of support, as well as a bit of flak from netizens; flak because some of the comments thrown at her were garbed in pleasantries like "Have a nice day" and "Good morning". Though these were, no doubt, un-called for greetings from total strangers, many are of the view that they don't quality as 'harassment'. Still others feel their presence in the video served to trivialise the seriousness of the more objectionable, downright nasty remarks.

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