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SSH will not publish any comment that is offensive or hateful and does not add to a thoughtful discussion of street harassment. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, disabalism, classism, and sexism will not be tolerated. Disclaimer: SSH may use any stories submitted to the blog in future scholarly publications on street harassment.

Health Magazine: Street harassment should not be taken “lightly”

In street harassment | on 06.20.13 | by | Comments ( 1 )

In response to a blurb in Health magazine that treats street harassment as a compliment, SSH reader Nicole sent them this letter, and gave me permission to share it on the blog:

Dear Editor,

I recently came across a clipping from your magazine which included a list of “What Shouldn’t Make You Happy But Does”. Included in the list was “Getting whistled at by construction workers. Yes, you’ve still got it.”

I was really appalled and disappointed to see this written in your publication. On the surface, it seems like an innocent, almost humorous comment. However, as a woman who is constantly “hollered” at and harassed by men on the streets, I do not think it should be taken so lightly.

It is not a compliment when a man, a stranger, whistles at a woman or says something under his breath as he looks her up and down. It’s disgusting, demeaning and unwarranted. Ignoring something like that takes all the dignity away from the woman.

More importantly, this statement is saying that women need men’s attention to be validated. This is the antithesis of empowerment. The majority of these men will holler at anything with a vagina. They don’t care about who you are or what you have going on in your life. When I’m walking down the street, I have somewhere to be. I was not put on that sidewalk to entertain or to be judged. So you’re right: this shouldn’t make us happy. And it never will.

Thank you,

Nicole Emerson and females everywhere


NOTE: Nicole and SSH were originally told the blurb was found in Women’s Health Magazine, but on June 25, we learned it’s in the June 2013 issue of Health Magazine. Apologies to Women’s Health for this error.


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One Response


Jeff Perera at White Ribbon just sent me this clip from an episode in which a fortune-teller turns Johnny into a woman so he can learn what it’s “really like to be woman.” As a woman, Johnny/Jenny faces constant street harassment and he does not like it! After a few men harass her, Johnny/Jenny beats them up, and then we see other women beat up their harassers. Of course, I’m no proponent of violence, but it was kind of satisfying to see all of the cartoon women stand up to their harassers and to see a kids cartoon portray street harassment as annoying and not okay (as opposed to being a compliment). A lot of adults could learn a thing or two from it!

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