A video entitled “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” has gone viral, receiving more than 7,000,000 views in the first day it was posted. The video opens with the textual comment: “Ten hours of silent walking through all areas of Manhattan, wearing jeans and a crewneck t-shirt.” The first comment she receives in the video is from guys sitting in folding chairs along the sidewalk. As she walks by, a man says, “How you doing today?” Another guy is heard saying, “Smile,” as another says, “I guess not good.” Finally, another guy yells, “Smile!” And she walks on. CNN reported on Wednesday that the video shows just a sampling of what happens on the city streets in terms of harassment.
The woman in the video, Shoshana B. Roberts, walked with two microphones in her hands. Her boyfriend, Rob Bliss, walked some 10 feet in front of her with a GoPro camera strapped to his back. He looked as though he wasn’t part of the act by wearing a yellow backpack, sunglasses and earbuds – totally unassuming. Bliss, incidentally, is Roberts’ boyfriend. The YouTube details say that the video, published on Oct. 28, 2014, was created, directed and produced by Rob Bliss Creative. The link to Hollaback for donations was also included on the YouTube post. To donate, click here.
Bliss said, according to the Huffington Post report on the video-study, that he felt like no one had ever really shown what it is like to experience street harassment. He said his intent in producing the video was to offer an unbiased presentation at what many women experience daily. “No messaging, no judgment,” he said, while adding, “Let people view it as it is and talk about it.”
As the video presentation continues beyond the opening scenes, the woman is shown crossing a pedestrian-heavy crosswalk. There, she gets another unsolicited comment from a guy who says, “What’s up beautiful? Have a good day.” Back on a Manhattan sidewalk, she is seen walking when a man blurts out, “Hey, what’s up, girl? How you doing?” To that, someone else tells her, “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say thank you.” And the next clip shows her walking down the street, minding her business – and as she passes a guy, he says in a low voice, “God bless you, mami!” while another says, “Damn!”
Needless to say, one gets the idea. One gets the idea of what the video is trying to project as men continuously make their unsolicited comments such as “Hey, beautiful,” “Nice!” and “Sexy – American Eagle!” which is in response to the American Eagle logo on her all black outfit’s derriere. Other more creative comments asserted, “Hey, look it there. I just saw a thousand dollars.”
More forward, and somewhat disturbing, one extremely forward guy came up next to the girl in the video and said softly and seductively, “You don’t wanna talk… because I’m ugly? Huh? We can’t be friends – nothing? Not giving up, even though she totally ignored him, he went on to say, “You don’t speak? If I give you my number, would you talk to me? Too ugly for you?” The video also showed a guy who walked very close to her for at least four minutes – but, at least on the video, never said a word.
The video with a strong social message concludes with the statement: “100+ instances of verbal street harassment took place within 10 hours, involving people of all backgrounds. This doesn’t include the countless winks, whistles, etc.” The statement is concluded with the quest for a non-profit donation: “If you want to help, please donate to Hollaback! A non-profit dedicated to ending street harassment.” After a day of buzz on the video-study on the Internet, the network media is joining in on the activity as CBS has now picked up on the story. Quite disturbingly, after acting in the video project that has gone viral, the actress has received online rape threats, according to both CBS and the Guardian. Hollaback! (@iHollaback) is asking on Twitter for persons to report anyone who is posting the rape threats on social media.