In what ways can a look be unsettling? Intimidating? Might it be dangerous? How does one study the history of an act so fleeting, and so difficult to record? We’ll uncover the history of the more insidious behaviors men often perform in public space.
In what ways can a look be unsettling? Intimidating? Might it be dangerous? How does one study the history of an act so fleeting, and so difficult to record?
PhD candidate Molly Brookfield studies the history of men’s harassment of women in public places, in other words, street harassment. She’s interested in behaviors like catcalling or ogling, actions often considered trivial or even complimentary, rather than overtly violent or threatening.
We’ll uncover the history of the more insidious behaviors men often perform in public space. Behaviors that leave no visible mark yet have the power to disrupt a woman’s daily life. But is this really a story of the past? We’ll consider the alarming persistence of such behaviors, and their transition into an accepted, sometimes even normal aspect of urban life.
Molly Brookfield is a gender historian interested in women’s experiences of American cities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is a PhD candidate in the University of Michigan’s joint program in History and Women’s Studies. Her research explores street harassment and its long-lasting impact on women’s sense of safety and autonomy in public space.
Stephanie Fajardo is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Michigan. She is also completing a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on gender, intimacy, and US militarism in the Philippines from 1945 to 1965.
Segment Producer: Molly Brookfield
Segment Contributor: Stephanie Fajardo
Host and Season Producer: Daniela Sheinin
Executive Producer: Gregory Parker
Editorial Board: Gregory Parker, Daniela Sheinin, Melanie Tanielian, Matt Villeneuve
Image: Dark and rainy street, Spushnik, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
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