It’s been a conversation that has saturated the Internet for the last several days. Everyone has shared his or her views on street harassment and catcalling women in response to a video that followed a woman walking around the streets of New York City and enduring catcalls for 10 hours. Yes, the video had it flaws—particularly the one that involved the filmmaker removing the white men from the video and only depicting the woman being catcalled by men representative of minority groups. But it still made people talk about the issue women go through on a daily basis on so many streets in the United States.
On Saturday CNN delved further into the video with guests comedian Amanda Seales and Steve Santagati, author of The Manual: A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date and Mate—and What Women Can Do to Come Out on Top. CNN’s anchor Fredericka Whitfield moderated the conversation, which became heated between Seales and Santagati.
“Women are expected, from the minute we leave the house, to be smiling and available for whatever men want to say to us,” said Seales. “And don’t get me wrong—‘hello’ is fine.”
But Santagati seemed to think that the only issue women have with catcalling and street harassment is whether the men are attractive.
“No, no,” Santagati protested. “I’m more of an expert than you and I’ll tell you why. Cause I’m a guy and I know how we think, more than you guys will ever know. I can’t get in a woman’s head any more than just like, uh, thinking about it.
“The bottom line is this, ladies,” Santagati stated. “You would not care if all these guys were hot. They would be bolstering your self-esteem, bolstering your ego. There is nothing more that a woman loves to hear than how pretty she is.”
Santagati also stated that feminists want to pick and choose what they stand for: “‘You can do this, I want equ’—you know, this sort of thing, but they take it too far. This thing bordered on, like, the boy who cried wolf. Where’s it gonna go next?”
Both Whitfield’s and Seales’ faces showed signs of befuddlement as Santagati spoke. And one user on Twitter captured it perfectly.
Many people probably feel the same way as Santagati, but the fact of the matter is, street harassment or catcalling is an issue women face every day. Not everyone doing it is unattractive, and not every woman wants unwanted attention, whether you look like Idris Elba or Beetlejuice.