A pretty damning video of a woman being cat-called on the street of New York City has been making the rounds online. Check out Uproxx’s Andrew Roberts thoughts on the video here. One SNL cast member, however, is less than sympathetic.
Michael Che posted his thoughts on the video on Instagram this morning. He compares being accosted by fans on the street to being an everyday woman walking the streets of New York City, because it is totally the same thing.
Che claims that he is “used to taking risks and finding humor in places of discomfort,” but he forgot the cardinal rule of punching down with his humor. His responses mock the women who are harassed on the streets of New York City every day. He ignores the dangerous assumption by these men that women are here for their pleasure and they can tell women how to act.
I have lived in New York City for over five years, and I have been on the receiving end of many cat calls. My stomach turns every time it happens because I worry that the next time it happens, there won’t just be words and taunts. This man who does not know me will demand more than a smile or my phone number. More than that, he has humiliated me for daring to go outside and walk the streets. If I feel like smiling, I will smile. If I don’t feel like smiling, I am not obligated to smile for anyone, especially a total stranger. The Daily Show‘s Jessica Williams summed it up best, “If she doesn’t smile, he might tell her to smile. If she tells you to leave her alone, you’ll probably call her a b—-, and I know he thinks he’s different, that he’s classy, that he’s charming, but since going to work isn’t a performance, we’re not looking for applause. And what he’s doing is basically just a high-minded, Lincoln Center version of, ‘Hey, Sweet Tits!'”
In the cat-calling video, one moment truly terrified me. One of the cat-callers follows her in silence, walking beside her and staring her down. If they hadn’t been on a busy street in daylight, would he have been content to intimidate her in silence?