This piece was cross-posted here with permission from the Stop Street Harassment website
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By: Julie Mastrine, USA
It’s no secret that society accepts street harassment as a normal part of women’s experiences in public spaces.Company after company has come under fire for trivializing street harassment, pegging it as a joke, compliment, or a great way to get a date. Many of those companies have rescinded or apologized for these portrayals. Now, a popular YouTube channel is the latest perpetrator of harmful attitudes toward street harassment — and we need your help to get it removed.
Simple Pickup is a YouTube channel that features three guys as they harass, sexualize and often downright grope women on the street, all in the name of “picking up girls” and “giving you tips to help guys like you, get laid,” according to the user description. Unfortunately, the channel has over a million subscribers, and the message it sends is clear: it’s totally okay to harass women on the street, sexualize them, make them uncomfortable, and touch them without their consent.
The channel boasts 94 videos, but after watching just two I found enough harmful content to make my stomach lurch. In one skit, three men speak into an earpiece, encouraging another man to approach random women in public and do what they tell him to. “Just start dancing and back your ass up into her,” they advise, and shockingly, the perpetrator obliges. In another video, a man approaches a girl outside of a bar and asks, “So which one of your boobs is bigger? This one or this one?” as he gropes her chest.
Video after video on Simple Pickup’s channel makes a joke of harassing random women as they walk in public. Among the more sexualized comments the men make to strangers — most of whom have their faces hidden or blurred — are:
“What is the biggest cock you’ve ever had up your asshole?”
“This right here means you like to have your face jizzed on.”
“I know I’m in a wheelchair, but what’s in my pants is still able to move.”
The men seem to think the whole shtick is hilarious, often dressing up in costumes to carry out their acts. But street harassment is not funny — it is threatening, scary, and limits people’s access to public spaces.
And Simple Pickup isn’t just a YouTube channel — it’s actually a small business that profits off of these videos and provides lessons in street harassment under the guise of “learning how to pick up girls.”
Here’s how you can help — tell YouTube to remove Simple Pickup’s channel. On the user page, simply click “About,” select the drop-down flag and click “Report User.” From there, you can select “Hate speech against a protected group” and then “Gender.”
All women deserve respect in public spaces, and Simple Pickup promotes non-consent and harmful attitudes about women’s bodies and agency. Street harassment is not funny and should not be treated as a joke or a way to get a date — and YouTube would do well to take this trivialization seriously.
Julie Mastrine is an activist, feminist, and writer working in the PR industry. She holds a B.A. in Public Relations from Penn State University, and is a social media volunteer for Stop Street Harassment. Buy her new e-book Make Your Own Sandwich: A 20-Something’s Musings on Living Under (And Smashing) The Patriarchy and follow her on Twitter.