Street harassment has been a hot topic recently, with everyone from politicians to artists to huge numbers of social media users discussing the ongoing problem women face on local streets every day.
One popular hashtag associated with the discussion is #YesAllWomen–a response to those who argue that “not all men” act in misogynistic ways–and last week, when #NotJustHello was trending on Twitter, we were reminded that rapper Positive K shot the music video for I Got a Man in Fort Greene Park in 1992.
In the song, Positive K persists on hitting on several women, despite them saying that they’re already in relationships and not interested. At least one group involved in the street harassment conversation believes “I got a man” and similar sentiments are not the best way to refuse a man’s advances, since a woman’s lack of interest in someone shouldn’t hinge on her “belonging” to another man–but one truth is that while the principle involved is a good one, in practice simply saying “I’m not interested” is not always the most effective or safest way to respond, as evidenced by the When Women Refuse Tumblr.
In and around our area of Brooklyn, artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh has chosen to fight street harassment a little differently–she asks women about their everyday experiences with the issue, and posts her drawings of them and notable quotes from their testimony in their respective neighborhoods as a part of her Stop Telling Women to Smile project. In fact, Fazlalizadeh partnered with anti-street harassment organization Hollaback! and City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo on June 8 for an empowerment exercise in–where else?–Fort Greene Park.
And as for Positive K? “I Got a Man”peaked at #14 on the
Billboard Hot 100in early
1993, and was his only Top 40 hit.