Nope, street harassment isn’t sexy

The New York Post comes up with the biggest troll read of the summer

Topics: New York Post, hate reads, street harassment, Doree Lewak, catcalls,

Nope, street harassment isn't sexy

Today in straight up trolling the ladies: The New York Post would like you to know that the street harassment you endure is flattering, so “Deal with it.”

In a piece clearly designed to provoke equal measures of outrage and knee-jerk “Slow news day?” comments, Post writer Doree Lewak explains why she loves summer, because it’s the time of year “I can parade around in a skimpy dress with strategic cutouts that would make my mom wince. And when I know I’m looking good, I brazenly walk past a construction site, anticipating that whistle and ‘Hey, mama!’ catcall. Works every time — my ego and I can’t fit through the door!”

Lewak is the author of a possibly intentionally humorous book called “The Panic Years,” about “Life on the Wrong Side of 25 without a Ring.” She is also a woman who once wrote, “The Jewish people may face existential persecution at every turn — but they’re no chopped liver when it comes to bawdy jokes,” and has offered “Five ways to spot a gold digger.” In her newest Post piece, she explains she enjoys living in a world “where guys tell it like they see it,” because “when a total stranger notices you, it’s validating.” She goes on in this manner, enjoying the “unmatched level of euphoria” that apparently only a hoot from an approving stranger can provide, while chiding the “sanctimonious” females who have lately been less enthusiastic and actively campaigning against this form of attention. And though she explains that there’s a distinction between a compliment and a “crude comment,” she fancies herself part of a long and noble line of happily harassed females. “I imagine the catcall stretches back to ancient construction times,” she writes, “when the Israelites were building the pyramids, with scores of single Jewish women hiking up their loincloths, hoping for a little attention.” That’s not just nuts, that’s not even historically accurate. And based on the story’s accompanying photos, Lewak also appears to have a fondness for shoes several sizes too large for her, so I think it’s fair to question her judgment on all things walking-around-in-public related.

I know that many humans with normal brain function understand that catcalling is not meant as flattering but as a form of aggression, one that can lead to violence against not just women but men. I know that plenty of women could offer firsthand testimony that the same kind of men who give Lewak “that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling” with a “You’re sexy” are the same guys who’ll turn around and yell that another woman is fat and ugly. Because commentary! And I can’t even be bothered explaining how a pro-catcalling piece furthers the narrative that females intentionally dress and walk in a manner to invite sexual attention, and that therefore whatever happens next, even if it’s assault, is pretty much their own doing. I don’t need to make the case against harassing people just trying to move through the world in peace. I just want to take back everything I said just yesterday about the foolishness of labeling stories as “satire,” because this story desperately needs an explanation that it’s just a joke.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Rose Jay via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Labrador Retriever

    These guys are happy because their little brains literally can't grasp the concept of global warming.

    Hysteria via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    German Shepherd

    This momma is happy to bring her little guy into the world, because she doesn't know that one day they'll both be dead.

    Christian Mueller via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Golden Retriever

    I bet these guys wouldn't be having so much fun if they knew the sun was going to explode one day.

    WilleeCole Photography via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    This dude thinks he's tough, but only because nobody ever told him about ISIS.

    Soloviova Liudmyla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    This little lady is dreaming about her next meal-- not Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    Labrador Photo Video via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Yorkshire Terrier

    This trusting yorkie has never even heard the name "Bernie Madoff."

    Pavla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    She is smiling so widely because she is too stupid to understand what the Holocaust was.

    Aneta Pics via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    Sure, frolic now, man. One day you're going to be euthanized and so is everyone you love.

    Dezi via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    French Bulldog

    He's on a casual afternoon stroll because he is unfamiliar with the concept of eternity.

    Jagodka via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America


    Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be this care-free? But we can't because we are basically all indirectly responsible for slavery.

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...