It’s a symptom.
In case you missed it, this video of a woman walking around NYC has been making the rounds recently, going viral on YouTube with over 36 million views.
If you haven’t seen it, I’ll summarize: A normal looking woman walks around NYC for 10 hours and gets catcalled by all manner of men. She does nothing to instigate these interactions and doesn’t respond to any of them either.
This video was produced by “Hollaback! A non-profit dedicated to ending street harassment.” The video does an amazing job of showing what it’s like to be a woman on the streets of New York, and has sparked a lot of discussion about this issue, why it’s an issue, and how to resolve it.
With all due respect, this will be about as effective as expecting the morphine you give a terminal cancer patient to put them-somehow-into remission. Catcalling is one of the pains associated with our cultural cancer, not the cancer itself. You can’t expect to cure the disease by attacking its symptoms.
The disease here is a sexually promiscuous culture. America is fighting hard to quell its symptoms while plugging its ears and yelling, “Nyah nyah nyah I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” when someone even suggests that maybe it’s the big festering tumor in our social structure that’s causing all these problems.
But of course we say, “That’s preposterous! Sex is no big deal. We can have sex with whomever, whenever! In our modern society we shouldn’t be held back by ‘outdated’ traditional values! It’s the 21st Century after all!”
And then we’re required to feign shock (or at least surprise) when we learn that over one-third of American children are being raised in single-parent homes or that the country has finally tipped the scales between married and single adults.
And we’re required to be outraged that a woman receives multiple sexual advances just walking down the street. Because it makes for a good smoke and mirrors trick. “No no! It’s not the sex, see! It’s those dirty men on the park benches! They’re the issue!”
While I agree that they are indeed dirty men who are indeed an issue. I can’t say that I’m surprised at all.
What do we expect?
Commitment and respect are intertwined. When we enter into a contract, regardless of what it entails, the expectation is that we will respect both the contract and those we’ve committed to.
So when we allow sex to come without commitment, then it only follows that it will also come without respect. Incidentally, attempts to obtain sex will also falter in their respectability.
The result is a society that does a terrible job of justifying their behavior.