Saturday, March 9, 2013

Feminism.... It's Not Just for Women Anymore!

One interesting outcome of feminist activists demanding better anti-harassment measures by public transit companies in the last couple of years is the 'discovery' that these policies and laws stand to benefit more than just women.

While this feature article from the Chicago Tribune is expressing a frustration that it hasn't gone far enough, the author is framing his call to action around panhandling on the Chicago Transit Authority's anti-harassment campaign launched in 2009.  He notes, "The public relations effort amounted mostly to informational placards on buses and trains telling transit customers to report behavior that is physical or threatening" and then he challenges his readers to do just that to report panhandlers to CTA officials and Chicago police, if necessary.

The CTA's anti-harassment campaign, then becomes a tool for challenging disturbing behavior of many sorts, not just gender-based harassment.

Of course, as this comment left on a NYT article makes apparent, this approach can go too far...

It’s nice to see some pushback against people on this thread and elsewhere who lump homeless people, musicians, and “people who smell bad” in with sexual molesters and flashers.
The last thread, available by link, was unbelievable in that regard. There’s a difference between the fear, humiliation and self-loathing that can be brought on by sexual aggression and being irritated by a musician or having near a person with dirty clothes. If you’re the sort of jerk who wants to enforce your perfectly harmonious environment on everyone around you, please, get a car and act like that jerk inside it. The subways are public, and that ought to include a little freedom of expression, not to mention a little tolerance for those who have no where else to go, or no other way to get there.
People don’t keep their life’s possessions in shopping bags in order to offend you. They do it because they don’t have your nice apartment. Deal.
— Jordan

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