Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I'm cross, very cross

Hey, I have just listened to a podcast on Woman's hour from 16/9/10 a discussion between Vicky Simister of the London anti-harassment campaign and a guy called Brendan O'Neill. They were talking about why young girls don't like being wolf-whistled and sexual innuendos made about their body and appearance in public by groups of young men. Brendan didn't see how these kinds of taunts were as unacceptable as racist taunts would be!! He felt that to stop men doing this would curtail their freedom of speech rights!! I'm speechless and I'm not often that, I can tell you!

I have always hated this kind of behaviour cos I was never sure it was directed at me, and even if it was, it made me feel uncomfortable. I'm older now and it isn't ever directed at me but times have changed and the kinds of things that are shouted are much more explicit and more intimidating, if the stories we heard on the programme are anything to go by. Also it is often a group of men and a lone female. So putting aside the sexist issues here, which I do agree are very important, when did it become right and libertarian to protect one group's freedom of speech by allowing them to make individuals feel at least uncomfortable and more likely unsafe and vulnerable.

I'm sorry this is a bit of a rant but I can't believe that a young man in today's society is still so blinkered. When talking about human rights, and freedom of speech is one of those, there is always balance and compromise because we live in a society together and one person's freedom may mean someone else's restriction and we must weigh the importance of these things. When "banter" means physical fear and discomfort then we have to say it is wrong and must be curtailed so that everyone can feel at ease on our streets!

Quite frankly I think this is an issue of common decency as much as it is a feminist issue. If one persons actions make another uncomfortable then it is wrong no matter what!!

Follow this link and see what you think and let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, I know what it's like too, and it's no fun.