This week at VidCon, a convention in California for people who create online video content, three guys made a video of “How to Pick Up Girls at VidCon” which entailed running up behind unsuspecting women and picking them up. Yes, literally picking them up and running several steps with them. Without any consent.
Even though Kellogg took the videos down after he started taking serious heat, you can see the VidCon version here.
This? Is NOT funny. It is men thinking they have the right to assault women because it would make a funny video. That is right…I said assault because that is what it is.
Not everyone just stood by while these men grabbed women. Sarah Shay (@realsarahalyse) and her friends weren’t going to take it.
Instead of standing by and watching these men grab unsuspecting they took action. She and her friends approached the men and told them to stop, asking for their names. In the video you see the men laughing and mocking Shay and the others. They even touch Shay after she has specifically told them that they should not be doing such things without consent. The men even claimed that they work for a major entertainment network and since it is a prank they don’t have to have consent. They taunt and mock as the women walk away. One has to question why they thought that editing in the confrontation was a good idea, and the answer is fairly simple. They felt they were entitled to what they were doing and thought someone calling them out was funny.
Shay said that they talked to the two women they stopped the men from assaulting and the women were quite shaken up. Having seen the other “picking up girls” video before Kellogg managed to pull it down (literally he pulled the videos in question as I was writing this) the women kick and scream, or go utterly rigid, some laugh nervously, not a one of the women grabbed seemed to find it actually funny.
There has been an outpouring of vlogs, blogs and tweets speaking out against the three men’s behavior. Indications from VidCon are that they will not ever be allowed back again. This is awesome on the part of the Con for stepping up so quickly. I hope more Cons that are going on this summer take note, and step up to take action quickly when this stuff happens.
I want to make it clear this would be assault even if it were men they were grabbing. Some people have said that the fact the women don’t fight harder or make a scene shows that they don’t mind, that it is all good fun. This is absolutely incorrect. There is a level of shock that happens when you are suddenly grabbed that leaves many unable to respond, but also many women are raised to not make a scene. This does not mean they consent to being grabbed. Oh, and please stop with the “boys will be boys” thing too, that they will learn when they are older. They are old enough to know right and wrong. Don’t excuse their behavior.
It is kind of astonishing that not only would they think it was okay to go up and grab people, but they would video tape it. Then again? This is only one of many examples of people thinking that doing horrible things and recording them for the internet is not only acceptable but a good idea. I can only hope more people will be like Sarah and her friends and step in to stop it.