Is Complimenting a Woman Sexual Harassment? – MarinaShutUp

Today, I want to share a video from a very smart and articulate young woman, who posts videos to the MarinaShutUp channel on YouTube. This is is a more extensive conversation about the ‘catcalling video’ I referenced in my last post. I’ve tried to express these sentiments frequently– I used a slightly different version of the ludicrous way these situations escalate from ‘compliment’ to threats of violence, and it’s sad that we can all relate to that experience.

Another important note is that while this video rightly focuses on street harassment, abuse happens everywhere and by all sorts of people. It’s common to be harassed by a stranger on the street, but it’s also unfortunately common to be manipulated and made to feel controlled and uncomfortable by people you know well, in an environment that should feel safe to you. There’s a bit of a Stranger Danger myth surrounding who we cast as perpetrators of violence in our mind’s eye.

If someone close to you, a person with any kind of emotional or physical proximity, makes you feel uncomfortable, gaslights you (a term from a Hitchcock film that means you’re made to think you’re the crazy one), or is in any way making you feel unsafe, know that there are people who care and resources available to help you. Not every situation, especially those at an institutional level, are handled the way they should be. That’s something I’m hopeful to see change, especially given the attention these matters have been paid to college campuses recently. Know that it is never your fault if you’ve been abused, and even if you can’t find the support where you are, you are a good and valuable person who doesn’t deserve to be sexually, emotionally, physically, or psychologically harassed.

If you’re a person who doesn’t believe stories of harassment and abuse, please check out the website Marina lists at the end of her video: Everyday Harassment. Listening to the firsthand experiences of survivors (which is what we are) is one of the most important things you can do.


One final note, it’s been a long time coming and I’m sad to do it, but comments have been closed down for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, I have enough harassment to handle in my offline life and I’m not up for it cluttering my online life as well. We’ve had some really good and productive conversations here, and I’ve received enough vitriolic and abusive comments to know that this blog needs to keep running– you know that old saying, the comments on any article about feminism prove the necessity of feminism. I may reinstate them in the future, but for now, seek out information from many sources, engage in conversations with the people around you, start your own blogs– and stay fierce, feminists.