Earlier in 2014 a video came out of a woman walking down the streets of New York in jeans and a v-neck and getting catcalled over 100 times. This video stirred much discussion about what it means to be a woman and catcalling in general. Many men felt attacked by the video and questioned why catcalling a woman was wrong. Many women praised the video because it was able to give a conclusive look at how women are objectified everyday. The actress that was hired to be in the video was attacked and threatened for her involvement in the video.
There is a show on Fox News called “The Five” in which 5 political correspondents, 4 conservatives and 1 liberal, comment on current events in the media and government. After this video came out they discussed it on the air and both disgusting and problematic things were brought up during the conversation. When the discussion starts, they show a clip from the video and the three men on the panel are seen laughing when it stops. The first comment made is that in the video “nothing was disrespectful” which not only completely misses the point of why catcalling is wrong but also perpetuates the idea that it is okay. Catcalling objectifies the person that you are giving the comment to. The men in this video don’t know anything about this actress as a person, they are commenting on her looks and her body and are effectively objectifying her.
The same person says that he finds it “hard to see where she finds verbal harassment going on.” Verbal harassment is defined as the excessive use of language to undermine someone’s dignity and security through insults or humiliation, in a sudden or repeated manner. That is exactly what is being done in this video, the use of language is undermining her dignity, security, and is humiliating, while the words they are saying may not be insulting, it IS insulting to be objectified. He also says “where she finds” referring to the actress in the video who was hired by Hollaback, the nonprofit that funded this video to walk the streets.
In no way is this actress making any statements about catcalling or street harassment, she is simply walking. Another one of the panel members chimes in saying that the “simple science” behind the video is that because the actress is walking through the streets so the men don’t have to deal with the rejection if they were say, in an elevator. So basically, he is saying that the actress is allowing this to happen because she is walking somewhere. Okay. The most concerning part about his statement has to be when he says that the streets of New York is the bar of these men who are catcalling, and that she, again ignoring the fact that she is a hired actress, is walking through it. So, women shouldn’t walk through the streets of New York without expecting to be catcalled because the men essentially own the streets.
The most disgusting part of this entire commentary has to be when Bob Beckel says that he will give her one more catcalling, “Damn baby you are a piece of woman.” And then all the people on the panel laugh and say “Thank you Bob.” I think that speaks for itself in that he is just as bad as the ones catcalling on the street. One of the panel members then says, “You can’t throw all men into a pile.” I would like to know at one point during the video she generalizes men or puts “men into a pile.” Perhaps the funniest part of the video is when one of the same panel member offers a solution to ending catcalls, that women should take a picture of the men catcalling them and post it on the internet, because that is not exactly what this video is doing.
“The Five” are not only obviously missing the entire point of the video they are perpetuating the idea that the objectification of human beings is okay. Their analysis is offensive and thoughtless and it defeats the purpose of the creation of this video in the first place.
If you would like to donate to Hollaback, a nonprofit organization seeking to end street harassment, go to www.ihollaback.org