about

This 2014 clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart features Jessica Williams and Jon Stewart exploring sexism in the form of a satirical news report on slow-claps, catcalls, and other forms of sexist interpersonal interactions. Jessica Williams talks about the male gaze, unsolicited comments, and explains the conundrum women are often in when deciding how to respond to unwelcomed sexist comments or street harassment, using the example that if a woman does not respond with a smile to an interaction with a man, she may be told to smile, and if she ignores him or asks to be left alone, she may be called a bitch or worse. Williams explains that women walking down the street to work are not for men to comment on, and ends with a strong suggestion for harassers to work on their impulse control.

discussion

What does Jessica Williams mean when she says that the sidewalk is not a fashion show and that women are not there for men to comment on?

What is the male gaze? How is it relevant when thinking about street harassment?

How does Jessica Williams reinterpret the meaning of women’s smiles in response to unsolicited comments or actions from men?

What is the significance of The Daily Show choosing the news reporter format for this segment, with Jessica Williams as “Senior Congressional Correspondent”?

How do Jon and Jessica each speak for their respective genders? Does everyone express or experience street harassment or other forms of unsolicited comments the same way? How do these experiences differ based on other aspects of your identity (for example, sexual orientation, race, religion, age, etc.)?