RUSH: A video has gone viral out there on YouTube and all over social media. A woman, who obviously thinks herself attractive, otherwise why do this, dressed herself up in some — look, help me describe this. She’s wearing a black T-shirt, right? But would you say the jeans — they’re snug. Okay, we won’t say tight fit. We’ll say the jeans are snug. It’s in New York City, so everything’s black. Every woman in New York City always leaves in black, so the soot doesn’t show up.
That’s the first thing I noticed after moving there. Everybody walking around, it’s amazing, leggings, jeans, whatever, black, head to toe. So, anyway, the woman is walking, and put together, what is it, it’s a four minute video that consolidates 10 hours of her walking through the city in which she documents the way men treat her with catcalls and mild intimidation.
The point of it all is to show how uncomfortable, nervous, maybe even dangerous it is for women to be walking the streets of Manhattan because of all of the things men do when a woman goes walking by.
I watched the video after hearing about it a lot. It’s like when I first saw The Exorcist. I saw it two months after everybody else had seen it. I walked into that theater expecting to run out of my seat in two minutes. Everybody told me how scary it was, how gory it was, how just, oh, it was the best, it was the worst. So I was prepared for the absolute scariest, more horror-packed movie I had ever seen. I sat there and I watched it, and when it was over, I said, “What was all the hubbub about?”
What had happened was, my expectations had been ratcheted up so high that no matter what was in that movie, I was not gonna be shocked. It could not meet my expectations. Well, the same thing happened here. Although I haven’t heard about this for two months, I heard of this for hours and hours before I watched the video. I even came here today, I asked Snerdley, “Have you seen this video of this woman that’s gone viral out there?” Twelve million views or likes or whatever.
I said, “Well, what do you think about?” And he told me what he thought. He described it. I wasn’t gonna watch it. I’m not big on Internet video. Then I decided to watch it, and the same thing happened. I was expecting some real boorish, sexist, dangerous — I was expecting some real, real rotten conduct by guys, and I didn’t see that. I saw, “Hey, baby. Looking good today, girl. Have a good day. How are you? Ooh. Ooh. Looking good.”
Now, there were a couple occasions where a guy walked with her for five minutes. I mean, there were a couple, three things, maybe four, that would fit the bill, that could make you uncomfortable, nervous, or whatever. It was men being polite. And it was men mildly aggressive. I can’t even believe I’m — you see a pretty woman, you react to it. “Hey, looking good today.” I mean, I don’t do those kinds of things, but it didn’t seem intimidating to me.
Now, I’m not the woman walking along wearing snug black jeans, GoPro camera. It was somebody walking in front of her that had the camera, right? See, now, that’s important in this because if the people in this video could see the camera, then that changes everything. You put a camera on a street corner and things will happen there that never would if the camera wasn’t there.
Now, she used a GoPro camera. Those are not hidden cameras. The GoPro camera’s a small camera, you can attach it to the bill of your cap or something. Somebody had to be walking in front of her. So somebody had that camera. I don’t know if you could see the camera or not, but these guys, if people could see the camera, they had to know what was going on, and it will affect the way people will behave. There’s just no two ways about it.
Now, I didn’t read anything accompanying the video. I didn’t read any of the comments or any of that, so maybe this has been explained how she did it. In this case, I’m just expressing my ignorance about it. But again, I was struck. I was prepared for a bunch of wolf whistles and a bunch of disrespectful comments and a bunch of put-down comments about salacious invitations, if you get my drift. And when it was over, I said, “Okay, yeah, but what really is the big deal here?” It was not filled with that kind of behavior. There were some examples of it, but, “Hey, babe.” Maybe that’s what it is. Maybe it’s the, “hey, babe,” that’s too familiar for somebody you don’t know. But there were things, “Have a nice day. Looking good,” other comments like that.
Anyway, it’s four minutes. I can’t play the audio from it, and I’m not gonna spend any more time on it other than it’s just another exercise here for me and everybody in building something up and then watching it, saying, “Wait a minute, I was expecting much, much worse than this.” But here’s the thing. The world is a changing place. And feminism has had a profound effect on women, and it could well be that what I saw as harmless in some cases might actually be thought of by women today as deeply threatening.
Maybe you’re not supposed to speak to them on the street when they’re walking down the street and you walk past them. Saying anything is an intrusion in their space and you shouldn’t do it. Now, Snerdley, when you’re walking the streets of Manhattan, do you talk to people that you don’t know? (interruption) I don’t, either. That’s another thing about this. I’m not denying that catcalls happen. I’m not denying all this. But this is just more evidence of a changing culture. This woman was on CNN today describing the horrors of this. (interruption) Well, yeah, it does depend on the neighborhood. (interruption) Okay. Okay. Okay. I guess I should mention that.
I guess I should mention it does matter the neighborhood you’re walking in and — just in the interests of accuracy, ladies and gentlemen — the majority of men that are portrayed in this four-minute video are African-American and Hispanic. I thought we were supposed to celebrate diversity.
Most of them are African-American and/or Hispanic, and it’s another thing. The total walk time is 10 hours, and there were apparently 200 — Is that right? — incidents. (interruption) I’m doing this, I’m reconstructing this from memory. Ten hours’ total walk time, 200 incidents, and that has been edited down to four hours and 20 incidents, or examples.
RUSH: This woman, by the way, in the catcall video is a budding actress. CALLER: Oh, can you hear me?
RUSH: I lost you when you said, “You cannot walk in any direction, any part of…”
CALLER: Any part of New York City without exactly what happened in that video happening to any woman.
RUSH: What happened in that video?
CALLER: Well, it just… It’s — it’s… You know, there’s times you’re nervous because someone is acting very strange. But —
RUSH: Wait a minute.
RUSH: Beth, are you telling that happens to every woman walking?
CALLER: Every single woman. Every single woman. It has nothing to do with how she’s dressed or what she looks like or —
RUSH: Beth, there are millions of women walking… I have to tell you. Let me tell you. I have —
RUSH: Well, I’ve walked a couple of feet in New York now and then. I may have even walked a whole block once.
CALLER: I don’t think they would do it to you.
RUSH: No, but I didn’t see it happening to any other woman, is my point. I’ve never seen it. I’m not denying that it happens, don’t misunderstand.
CALLER: Well, you’re in town —
RUSH: But you’re saying it happens to every woman?
CALLER: If you’re in Midtown and people are walking quickly and they’re going about their business, you’re not likely to see that, but if you’re on any other part of the streets. You know, my roommate one morning… She came back one morning and she was livid. She was absolutely livid.
RUSH: I cannot believe we’re actually talking about this.
CALLER: She went out and a guy did it to her for the millionth time, and she chased him across the street, screaming at him, just, “How dare you talk to me? You don’t even know me! Why would you say that?” and the guy was like shaking in his boots.
RUSH: Well, then it worked out.
CALLER: It’s annoying! Yeah, but it’s annoying. I mean, you know, it’s very annoying.
RUSH: That’s tough to —
CALLER: And it’s rude. You said earlier, you have never said anything like that. You want to know why? Because it’s rude.
RUSH: No, I would never. I would never. I’ve never wolf-whistled. I’ve never cat commented, catcalled or any of that. I don’t do it because I think it’s cheap.
CALLER: It’s very cheap.
RUSH: I think it’s objectifying women, and even to the women who are… Can’t go there anymore. It’s just… I just don’t do it. I —
CALLER: I lived in Paris, France, for four years, and one day I was walking on the street, and a gentleman came over to me, and he said, “You know, I….” He said this all in French, but translated, he said, “I am not trying to be rude, but I just want to let you know you have lovely legs,” and I appreciated that. But someone just standing there shouting things? No.
RUSH: Oh, so —
CALLER: I don’t think it has —
RUSH: You gotta be kidding.
CALLER: — anything to do with whatever. It’s just rude.
RUSH: Okay, so it’s okay for a guy in Paris to do it.
CALLER: No, he was polite about it.
RUSH: You do it with a French accent —
CALLER: He was polite about it.
RUSH: — and sound like Jean-Paul Belmondo, and you apologize first, “Gee, I’m sorry to bother you, but your legs are driving me crazy,” that’s okay, but, “Hey, babe!” “Have a nice day!” “That’s a nice ass you got.” That’s not called for. War on Women.
RUSH: No, no. I’m just thinking about the humor and the futility of all this and how nothing’s new. We’ve been there, done that with this wolf-whistle business. It’s just recycling for a younger generation now. It’s all it is.