Body Positivity, Street Harassment, and the Erotic

lizmckinnell

Below is a talk I delivered for an International Women’s Day event organised by the University of East Anglia’s Feminist Society

What I am going to do today is not so much a detailed philosophical enquiry (I only have 20 minutes) but instead I want to talk seriously about street harassment, and suggest a few ways that philosophy might help us to think about it. Cat-calling, wolf-whistling, groping and other forms of harassment that occur in public spaces are alarmingly widespread, and are generally not taken all that seriously.  We are encouraged to simply ignore it, to ‘take it as a compliment’, or even worse, we are blamed for where we choose to walk or what we choose to wear, as though we have brought it upon ourselves.  At best, we are told to treat street harassment as a minor and inevitable irritation, and at worst, to view it as…

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