The Whimsical Adventure of the Peeping Tom

Throughout the semester I conducted thorough research regarding sexual harassment for my systems and strategies studio and seminar classes. We studied Jane’s Walks; citizen held walks in NYC inspired by activist Jane Jacobs, and eventually had to create a walk of our own. I designed my map like a board game, with very specific instructions. My walk was inspired by the topic of sexual harassment because it involved profiling, but based on aesthetic and attraction. It is quite unfortunate that there are so many incidents of sexual harassment, an action led by an inability to behave when one feels attracted to a person. Participants of my walk were instructed to find someone they think is beautiful and follow them for a few minutes, and then do the same with someone who is the opposite. Many recalled feeling judgemental during this process. They did not like the idea of deeming a stranger the opposite of beautiful, though I did not explicitly use any derogatory terms.
My participants had varying experiences. Most strongly considered my research topic theme and experimented accordingly. Steven followed a full figured, gorgeous lady and realized that those surrounding her could not keep their eyes off of her. She walked past an ongoing brawl between high school students and even they stopped to look at her. A car drove past, and a man screamed “I like your ass.” The woman was not phased, but did not seem appreciative of it either. She acted like a true New Yorker. The woman stoically walked towards her destination.
The person who he deemed the “opposite” of what he found beautiful, was just a construction worker. Steven chose a construction worker not because he thought he was unattractive, but because they are the ones who stereotypically do the catcalling. His first person was a victim of catcalling, so he chose someone who he’d think would be the perpetrator. This time around, the results were a lot more subtle. He recalled catching him stare at other ladies but he did not make any bold actions. It seems like several participants chose construction workers as the second victim. This may be due to the common occurrence of catcalling imposed by construction workers.

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