In the short walk between my apartment and my office, there are three construction sites, all for luxury condos (with maybe a ground floor of coffee shops and clothing stores). Every morning, unless I decide to take an extremely long and needlessly complex alternate route, I walk through small clusters and long stretches of men, usually about 20-30 total. Without exception, they catcall me, with varying degrees of vulgarity. Some are relatively polite, wishing me a good day and smiling, and I try to respond in kind. Others are overtly sexual, commenting on my body or my outfit or how I decided to wear lipstick today. Those, I generally ignore. But I still flash them an awkward smile because, as all women know, overtly rejecting them leads to uncertainty and hostility, and since I must pass them every day, I’m not interested in making enemies.
These men are of varying races and ages, but they are all working class (or below the poverty line). Through a charming, uncomplicated lens, you could let “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel play in your head and imagine the mechanics fawning (in perfect song-and-dance) over the girl in the nice dress and shiny heels. But the reality is that I am a (relatively) well-off, 25-year-old white woman living in the most ostentatiously gentrified neighborhood in Brooklyn, passing by a group of working men on my way to my clean, spacious, comfortable office to sit in front of my enormous Mac and write articles about privilege.
Sarah Nicole Prickett tweeted yesterday about a deeply uncomfortable project featured on Cosmopolitan, in which the (white, college-educated) photographer took pictures of her catcallers. From behind her lens, she captured men who are visibly lower class, and most often latino or black (with a heavy sprinkling of some of the more working-class ethnicities in New York: Italian, Polish, etc). The message, despite her intention to show the people behind the catcalling, is clear: These men exist on an entirely different societal plane than this woman, and will likely never experience the access or social power that she does, simply by being able to document these experiences with her expensive camera and have it featured in women’s magazines.
Nick Mullen and I talked a while ago about this article on Buzzfeed, a very similar concept in which another (white, college-educated) woman interviewed her catcallers on the street. Nick pointed out to me that Buzzfeed (and other outlets) decided to feature the story when she finally found a white man in a business suit to interview — and if you watch the video, he truly does make the perfect villain — but that the rest of her YouTube page was mostly her chastising mentally ill, homeless, and poor men. It’s painful to watch, a weird, schoolmarm-y dressing down of these men, much the way you would talk to a troll on Twitter. Except that these men were very real, and clearly experiencing many unrelated problems that would continue long after she put down her camera and got her pageviews.
The uncomfortable truth about catcalling is that it’s almost exclusively a class-related phenomenon. While there will always be the occasional middle-to-upper-middle class, educated man who decides to catcall (usually while drunk), the men who are going to be hissing and calling at you on your walk to work are likely to be working class or below. This is probably due to a variety of factors — their lack of education, the expectations of their peers, their frustration with the complicated role poor men play in society, their general sense of impotence with regards to having any place in the greater societal power structure — but it is undeniably tied to class. (And thus, depending on where you are in the country, heavily skewed racially one way or another.)
There is a certain ineffectiveness to the online crusading against catcalling, in a way that feels almost performative. Because ultimately the men who are yelling at us about our asses in the street are not the men reading impassioned essays on Salon or Buzzfeed or Cosmo about how wrong it is. They are men who are in many ways excluded from the cultural conversations about nuanced gender roles and equality, overwhelmingly by their class and access to education. When I walk by the men in the morning, I feel a flash of discomfort — and occasionally a fear that it could transform into something more dangerous, even at 9:30 AM on a busy sidewalk — but it melts away as I live out my day of comfort, access, and (relative) power. They will spend the rest of their day working on a blisteringly hot and often dangerous construction site, and then likely take a long, tiring commute home to an outer borough to live out a life I will never understand or relate to.
The hugely complex social conversations that should follow (about why the countries with the best gender equality also have the best socioeconomic equality across the entire population), are ones I am not qualified to participate in. But I know that there is always something deeply strange and almost guilty about deriding catcallers from my position of privilege, on my internet platform almost exclusively populated by college-educated, middle-class-or-above young readers. I know that there is something wrong with the whole conversation, and that framing myself as the concrete and unquestionable victim is unfair. Because these men are victims, too, if not at my own hand. And someone — someone much further up the line, long before they are yelling at strange women in the street — should be advocating for them.
History told by Tumblr
I needed this during AP world history thanks a lot tumblr never here when I need you the most
so my school had this thing called “senior skip day,” except that senior skip day didn’t exist and every year the administration sent out emails in the spring that were like DON’T FUCKIN SKIP CLASS OR YOU WILL RECEIVE RESTRICTION (restriction was like, my boarding school’s equivalent of detention where instead of staying after school you had to go to bed early and help stuff envelopes advertising the summer program until your hands were BLOODIED AND CRIPPLED BY CARPAL TUNNEL) and every year the seniors were like YOLO THEY CAN’T PUNISH ALL OF US!!!!!
- spoiler alert: yes they can? THEY ALWAYS CAN.
- 200 years of american high school and teenagers still think that there is a cap limit on kids in detention and that you can leave after 15 minutes if the teacher doesn’t show up.
anyway, my senior year, we all got together and nattered at each other until some brave soldier (i feel like it was my friend paula but WHO KNOWS) was like “OK SENIOR SKIP DAY IS THIS THURSDAY!!!! NOBODY GO TO CLASS OR UR A SCAB.”
- she didn’t say scab because she’s not from the 1920s and we aren’t newsies, though this story would be way more interesting if we were
- what she said was “YOLO THEY CAN’T PUNISH ALL OF US!!!!!”
- except not yolo because it was 2009 and drake hadn’t been invented yet except as a dear sweet boy in a wheelchair.
we also used this email system to communicate with one another that has very deeply informed the way i understand email and which probably makes it very frustrating to be my friend and receive emails that have subject lines like “URGENT” and then just 42 links to the same florida georgia line youtube video.
- I’M NOT ASHAMED, but in that way where like i kind of AM ashamed so i’m really aggressively NOT ashamed?
so the day of reckoning rolls around and my alarm goes off at 8 (class started at 8:05 but i liked to PLAY WITH FIRE when it came to being late; my mom actually asked the school to stop emailing her when i was a sophomore because i was late so often that their rote “Mrs. Ofgeography we are emailing you to say—” was CLOGGING UP HER INBOX and she was like “i GET IT MY CHILD IS THE MOST BORING MISCREANT OF ALL TIME.”) and i looked at my roommate elle and she looked at me and went, “you going?”
"hell no," i said. "YOLO. they can’t punish all of us."
elle, who was far prettier and far cooler than i was with the notable exception of her obsession with tswift’s “love story” and her tendency to look at the endangered species list and cry sometimes during study hall, quickly bizounced across the street to this shopping center thing where all the cool kids smoked in secret where huge trucks dropped off clothes for the Dress Barn. i think there were also tennis courts nearby. more importantly there was this chinese food delivery place and a lil restaurant that made HELLA BAGELS.
- WHAT KIND OF BAGELS?
off goes elle! meanwhile i’m like, “yessssss i’m gonna use senior skip day to watch 14 hours of tv shows and eat frozen peanut butter bars that i stole from the dining hall! I’M GONNA LIVE LIKE I’M 23 ALONE IN CHICAGO ON A WEEKEND WHEN MY ONLY PLAN IS TAKEOUT AND CUDDLING WITH THE FAUX-SNOW-LEOPARD BLANKET I WILL ONE DAY SURELY OWN.”
of course, during this time the administration was continuing to send out emails that reminded us with increasing urgency that senior skip day was NOT A THING and that we were ALL GETTING RESTRICTION if we didn’t get our STUPID ASSES TO CLASS, GODDAMNIT, WE ARE NOT RUNNING A CIRCUS HERE.
but i was like! yolo, motherfuckers!!! i already got into college, YOU CAN’T TOUCH ME.
at some point during the day elle and our friend ginna came back to the room with takeout from the chinese delivery place and we sat on our floor eating it and probably watching veronica mars or looking at the endangered species list and crying.
all of a sudden, elle said, “guys shut up, guys shut up, GUYS SHUT UP,” and ginna and i were like, “WHAT we have a LOT to SAY about FRIED FUCKING DUMPLINGS, ELLE," and elle said, "did you hear that?"
'that' was the sound of one of our dorm moms, mrs. f, knocking on doors and saying things like, “IF YOU DON'T GET YOUR BUTTS TO CLASS IN 5 MINUTES YOU'RE ON CATEGORY 4 RESTRICTION FOREVER.” elle quickly scampered up our raised beds to hide in the corner, where a tiny human like elle could actually hide from view; i leapt immediately into what we called a closet but was basically a cubby with a flap that was DEFINITELY not meant for a 5'8” individual with knobby as hell knees.
our door, which was never locked because we both hated the effort of typing in the lock code, opened. mrs. f said, “mollyhall?”
i held my breath.
- i should add here that i seemed to be operating on like a scooby-doo level of logic where basically i thought that she was somehow NOT ALLOWED to investigate?
- like, if she can’t see me, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that she could prove i’m in here, right?
- she’ll just poke her head in and be like oH GOSH NO KIDS HERE and leave!!
you can see the flaw in my logic.
mrs. f sighed. “mollyhall, i know you’re in here, i literally heard your voice ten seconds ago.”
- there’s no WAY she guesses i’m in the closet!!!
"mollyhall, i know you’re in the closet."
- NO YOU DON’T
- I AM SCHRÖDINGER’S SENIOR
there was a creak. mrs. f stopped. it wasn’t actually a “creak,” so much as this like, prolonged groan? like it’s the sound an elephant would make if it sat on a really large accordion.
i poked my head out of the closet. mrs. f looked at me. elle sat up.
i said, “where’s ginna?”
- YOU KNOW WHERE GINNA WAS.
"um," said elle, "she’s in the—"
- GINNA NO
i really wish i could describe the sound the ceiling made when it collapsed. it sounded a lot like the way losing your breath feels. i sort of remember ginna falling in like, really slow motion, like i could see the expression on her face. i didn’t really think about how i would describe this in words. ginna’s face said:
- oh no.
- what have i done?
- this was a mistake.
- i regret a series of decisions that i have made.
- is there a way out of this?
- are those oreos under mollyhall’s pillow?
- why are there oreos under mollyhall’s pillow?
- mollyhall, you HAVE a food cupboard, what good is a food cupboard if you don’t—
- oh, crap.
she belly flopped onto the floor. i mean, the girl bounced. and then she just laid there. mrs. f looked at her. elle looked at her. i looked at her, still mostly in the closet. we were all going to get category 4 restriction forever.
ginna said, “hi, mrs. f. i feel like i should explain.”
NOT IGNORANT AT ALL idk i did have a post explaining but it’s way out of date (i’m talking like, pre-dylan here).
i don’t really have the spoons to make another big post about it but it’s pretty much everything carlos’ character is? everything, the way he interacts with other people and the world around him, his obsessions, his enthusiasm, his habit of going on and on and on with no apparent perception of how the other person is responding to it. he absolutely lines up with every single thing i’ve recognised about my own and others’ asperger’s since being diagnosed. everything. carlos the scientist is autistic.
maybe some other time i’ll make a proper post with all the examples so far, but for now if anyone with more energy wants to add to this, feel free to do so. i would appreciate it.
All the points above and i got some other ones (last episode was amazing he was sooo soo aut.). the phrasing might be off because im tired and this is my second language so if i said something wrong or offensive please let me know so i can correct it. I’m on the spectrum myself fyi.
asd - autism spectrum disorder
- in Old Oak Doors Part B he was explicitly naming his feelings (“ I couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t just keep the doors closed for good, and it was really frustrating to have a problem I couldn’t solve. And then I got sad, because I couldn’t solve it. But then I did solve it, and I felt so happy! So those are some – but not all – of the emotions that I had.” - cecil speaks tumblr). This is something I (and some other autistics) do. I have difficulty figuring out how i feel sometime and for what reason. By summing them up in this way, it becomes easier to recognise them. Especially the “some, but not all - of the emotions i had” is important because very often emotions get mixed up? Im not really sure how to explain this but by naming the emotions it becomes clearer which emotions you have for what reason.
- special interest is science„. You know how he rambles on, especially clear in the last episode. he didn’t pick up the cues that cecil wanted to talk about other things. Autistic/aspergers (me included) often have this… problem/issue/thing. You are so focused on the most interesting thing in the world and it is all you want to talk about because HOw can other people not find this interesting?!>!?. Lengthy monologues just like carlos’s are common in asd peeps.
Only in the last part he finally settled down enough to talk about the emotions and things. Those monologues often come in waves. sometimes you can carry a “normal” conversation but sometimes you just need to talk about things you find interesting because it makes you happy.
( think of a huge cake in your favorite flavor and you want to eat it right now but other people keep blocking you and they want you to do stuff for them and you’re like allright but first i want the cake then i’ll help you/talk to you/do your thing with pleasure)
- not “wanting” (not sure if right word to use) to leave the desert because THINGS ARE UNDISCOVERED AND THAT CANT BE I MUST UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING… (i almost fell of my bike when i heard that it was so like me.)
- the fact that he seems an outsider everywhere ( but less in night vale than in other places). a very recognisable feeling, sadly.
- Clothing (this point is not as strong as the others but i still wanted to mention it). His lab coat is like armor. it is a signal to himself and the outside world of who he is. Think of a stereotypical scientist. This trope has loads of asd characteristics. By dressing like this, the behavior that could be considered strange in a “”“normal”“”/neurotypical person is almost considered the rule and normal for him. Also, i noticed that lab coats don’t set off my sensory issues like some other clothing does so that is my carlos headcanon too.
there are a lot (like, a LOT) more examples but I just cant really think of any more. If anyone has more points please add.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ALL OF THIS, THANK YOU
i have been waiting for this to show up in my dash forever
THIS IS MY FAVORITE
This has to be up there with the funniest shit ever.
gonna reblog it everytime
Its been a year
Dana survived her radio internship because of her resourcefulness and tenacity, and because she was destined for great things in her future.
Maureen is surviving her internship because she’s too pissed to die.
a podcast recorded with a $60 dollar mic in a harlem apartment about an openly queer radio host with a poc love interest as literally the most normal part of the show made it to be the number one most dowloaded podcast in all of america and if you don’t think that’s the tightest shit you can get out of my face
How Cecil thinks Carlos does science:
How Carlos actually does science:
HOW FREAKING ACCURATE IS THIS.
We reached out for comment to the President of Night Vale Community College, Sarah Sultan (who is a smooth, fist-sized river rock,) about the extreme beliefs expressed by a staff member. Sarah had no comment, as she is a smooth, fist-sized river rock, and unable to speak. She can write, however, and wrote “no comment,” before drawing an insulting caricature of your humble reporter. Which was hurtful, and unnecessary.
guys i have a new favorite character
Today I read an article about Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who in the Arts and Books section of the Independent on Sunday. In this article, by Stephen Kelly, Moffat is criticised for his inability to write women, to complete his plots, to write the Doctor as a likeable and trustworthy figure, and to keep his audience entertained. Yet one line in this frankly scathing (and almost painfully truthful) review reads: ‘When on form, Steven Moffat is the best writer working in television today’.
Having read said article, and written rather a lot of Moffat critique myself, the statement baffled me. Kelly’s entire article is lamenting the current state of Doctor Who at the hands of this man, and yet Moffat is still gifted with glowing praise.
It’s a common theme. I see it often when people are asked to review Moffat’s work. It seems people are almost afraid of criticising him, seeing as he has been lauded one of Britain’s most brilliant television writers.
It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes. The Myth of Moffat’s Scriptwriting ‘Genius’. It’s a lie we’ve all absorbed and now just assume to be true. Sherlock himself would be frankly appalled by the entire thing. We are seeing, but we apparently do not observe.
Fellow Sherlock watchers will know what I mean (although many will probably not agree) when I equate Moffat’s writing to the empty houses of Leinster Gardens. An empty façade. It looks great from the outside, but when you step closer, you realise it’s just a whopping great train station with some drugged up self-proclaimed sociopath lurking in it.
Let’s examine this case a little closer, shall we?
Found a quote that shuts down that “not all men” argument pretty well. (via mykicks)
AHaha. haaaa. hh.
Girls don’t want boys.
Girls want a release date for The Winds of Winter.
Gentlemen like myself want to know the release date for Winds of Winter as well
so uncomfortable when it’s not about me
Fuck off Tim
Well done, Tamika Flynn!