Monday, November 10, 2014

20 reasons this video is very wrong

Recently, I blogged about the video where a woman walks in New York City for 10 hours and records the cat-calls and other come-ons she gets. I figured that, inevitably, some guy would record a tone-deaf parody insisting that it's the woman's fault for being so sensitive. I assumed that such a video would contain not a single correct equivalency and that the guy would be completely self-unaware.

I wasn't disappointed. Meaning, I was.

This guy used to be on Fox News. He is not Don Draper's age. I'll let both of those facts speak for themselves.

I should let the video speak for itself, too, but I can't help not doing that. Here is a (possibly incomplete) list of everything that's wrong with this video:

• His tone of voice is reminiscent of Glenn Beck's "kill with a shovel" radio days.

• He apparently thinks a random guy saying "have a nice day" and the like to a woman is based on an earnest interest that she have a nice day, and not on his desire to have a nice day.

• He mocks the woman's concerns with a fake shriek, which is real mature.

• Far from "scraping the bottom of the barrel," the "have a nice day" cat-calls are actually worth the most examination, because of the veneer of politeness. It offers the guy an alibi — "I was just trying to be friendly" — which is far more insidious than a desperate whistle. It suggests that, on some level, the guy knows his intentions are indefensible and feels he must dress it up. So who knows what else he's thought out?

• "It's a compliment! HurrEYYYYEROLLLLLL!!" With that, he's effectively set up his premise that men aren't creepy narcissists but rather specially attuned to women's wants and needs.

• "But is this representative of all women, even most women, even a teeny sliver of women?" Completely wrong question. But to answer it: Yes.

• "I took a hidden camera to the local mall to find out." A woman employing a hidden camera to show how much she's leered at while minding her own business is one thing. A man taking one out to a mall to aggressively hit on women is not at all equivalent and in fact proves the original video's point in hi-def 3-D surround sound.

• The mall scene opens with a montage of his unsolicited compliments. It's choppily edited, so we don't see much context or reaction. The point seems to be that he isn't cat-calling, but simply issuing appropriate observations. But somehow, this montage — the one that's on his own video — makes him sound even creepier.

• Many, maybe most, of the women to whom he issues compliments are store employees. The thing about retail is, you're generally supposed to put up with anything with a smile, or at least with politeness. Unless someone is especially rude, aggressive or threatening, you're supposed to brush it off to help the sale. The customer is always right, after all. If the interaction is friendly and the context is right, maybe a compliment even is in order. But the roll-with-it reaction of a retailer isn't exactly concrete proof that women enjoy random "compliments" from strangers. 

• "Is your birthday December? It'd be the perfect stone for your eyes," he tells the jeweler who could not be less interested in acknowledging him. Considering the points of his video are 1) that men's unsolicited comments about women's beauty are not pick-up lines and 2) women love them, this clip should have been cut, placed in an ashtray and incinerated.

• "Not ONE WOMAN was offended or mad!" To your face, bro.

• "In fact, when I apologized ..." Oh, just keep digging.

• "I thought only pretty girls worked here. ... Not that you're not attractive." Nice attempt to show that you compliment men too. We know you don't. Again, alibis. 

• The jeweler eventually opens up, but only after she's opened up her case. Most of the women in the video — again, that he shot and edited — look like they're tolerating his wiles at best.

• "IT MADE HER DAY!" Meaning, of course, that because one woman said that, women aren't subject to male predators on a constant basis.

• "She then started RUBBING LOTION ON MY HANDS!" Because that is her job. His attempt to make that into a sex joke makes me ashamed of my Y chromosome.

• "I felt like I was being sexually exploited!" Glad he takes that issue seriously.

• "What does this prove to us at the end of the day? Not a ton, namely that anyone can make and edit a YouTube video." No argument there.

• "Also, that feminists suck." This video is the reason everyone should be feminists.

• I will admit, though, that some portions of this video are genuinely hard-hitting — namely, the clips cribbed from the original video. The mocking screams that follow hammer home how much she is right, and he is wrong.

The next time he gets the urge to stare into a camera, Steven Crowder should look in a mirror instead.

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