THE BLOG
10/30/2014 11:01 am ET Updated Dec 30, 2014

What the Viral Street Harassment Video Doesn't Show

herbertschroer via Getty Images

By now, you've probably seen the video. Ten hours of walking around Manhattan, over a hundred instances of verbal harassment.

What strikes me is what people are not saying about this video.

They're not saying how profoundly frightening it is that a stranger can feel he is entitled to silently stalk this woman for five solid minutes. As the length of his campaign went on, I held my breath, sure that something terrible was about to happen. Something more terrible than stalking and intimidation, because frankly, that's what leering over somebody's shoulder for five solid minutes on a public street is. Or that he wasn't the only man to follow her for over a block, attempting to give her only the options to engage with him or to vacate the street.

But even more importantly, they're not talking about how very limited this video is. How the cat calling and leering and stalking never reached the levels of invasiveness or aggression that street harassment often achieves.

Let's talk for a minute about what it's like to be a female passenger on a commuter train, to have strange men run their genitals on you or leer at you as they put their hands into their pants.

Let's talk for a minute about the men who don't stop at standing centimeters away, whispering into your ear. Let's talk about the men who grab, grope or lick women who wander into their paths in a public space.

But even more, let's talk about the other side of this kind of street harassment. The side of harassment experienced by older women, heavier women, women who don't conform to our society's ideals of beauty. Let's talk about being leered at by men who follow up being ignored, not with a, "You should be more grateful," but with a, "Stupid b*tch!"

Let's talk about the men who shout, "I want to taste your juices," or "I'll give you twenty dollars to suck my dick."

Let's talk about the men who threaten violence explicitly. Who threaten to choke you or slap you or rape you as you march forward without making eye contact.

I want to see the comparison videos. Women in more expensive clothes, in less expensive clothes. Women of color. Women of different ages. Of a different weight.

I want to see the video of what happens when women being harassed stop walking and address their harasser. I want to see the exhausting repetition of a one-sided conversation that equates to, "I am a human being, stop treating me like your personal porn."

"Learn to take a compliment," or, "F*cking b*tch."

This is an important video. It's important because it's true, and it's a glimpse into the world women live in every day. But this is a tame day. This is a narrow glimpse.

I'm glad we're having this conversation. I'm glad there's an opportunity for women (and men) to explain that there's a difference between complimenting somebody and prioritizing your desire to comment on their appearance over their right to exist in a public space.

But let's keep our perspective. This? This is the tip of the iceberg.