Target: Steve Santagati, Author of The MANual
Goal: Force author to retract sexist, insensitive, and potentially dangerous remarks about women
Author Steve Santagati has sent a wave of shock through the progressive community with his misogynist comments in a recent CNN interview. Santagati was commenting on a recently released video by the organization Hollaback! in which a woman is repeatedly catcalled by men on the streets of New York City. Santagati responded to the video’s charges of harassment against the men portrayed by saying, “You would not care if all these guys were hot,” and “there is nothing more a woman wants to hear than how pretty she is.” The author’s insensitive and demeaning remarks are an impediment to true gender equality and they must be withdrawn immediately.
His remarks and opinions on catcalling show a clear lack of understanding for the all-too-real harassment and threats of physical violence that women encounter on a daily basis. By joking about being an expert on men and claiming to understand the situation better than the women he is talking to, Santagati makes light of the dangers that women face and reinforces the idea that women are overreacting about harassment, an opinion that Santagati himself holds as evidenced by his remark: “It’s kind of like, this thing bordered on ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf,’ like where’s it gonna go next?” Women are not “crying wolf” and their space, wishes, and needs must be respected.
Making light of sexual harassment impedes progress towards a safer and more equal society. It is not for men like Santagati to tell women how to live their lives, and advising women to stand up to their would-be aggressors with guns is irresponsible and potentially dangerous. Demand that Santagati retract these statements before they do any more harm to our cultural dialogue on rape culture than they have already.
Dear Mr. Santagati,
Your recent comments in a CNN interview about Hollaback!’s catcalling video were sexist, insensitive, and potentially dangerous. Claiming that women just want to be told that they are pretty by “hot” men is an impediment to the good advocacy work that Hollaback! is doing and furthers the incorrect assumption that women enjoy this sort of harassment from men. Your refusal to accept what women tell you about street harassment and the female experience illustrates your lack of respect for women and what they are forced to deal with on a daily basis.
Further evidence to this point is your suggestion that women stand up to their would-be harassers by confronting them head on. Not only does this not stop harassment, but it often increases harassers’ aggression and can quickly escalate to violence against women. Your comments are not just an unpopular opinion, they are potentially dangerous and slow progress towards true gender equality.
I now urge you to withdraw your comments and issue a full apology not only to the women that you insulted in the interview, but to all women. No woman wants to be harassed Mr. Santagati, of this I can assure you. They are not “crying wolf,” they are simply trying to share what it is like to be a woman in our society and to start a dialogue about how to create a safer and more inviting environment for all. The march towards equality is unstoppable; you can join it or be trampled by those of us who have.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Marku1988 via Wikimedia Commons