By David Futrelle
If you spend a lot of time on Twitter, you probably know about The Ratio, the closest thing we have to an objective measure of the Extreme Badness of any particular tweet. If someone gets many times as many comments on a tweet than retweets and likes, chances are good that most of those comments are telling them that they’re full of crap. The higher the ratio of responses to retweets/likes, the worse the tweet.
Yesterday I ran across the most extremely ratioed tweet I’ve ever seen, posted by a Chicago radio personality — John Willians of WGN — doubting a story of street harassment tweeted out by Amy Guth, also a radio host on the same station. By the time I saw it, the tweet had gotten more than a thousand responses — and only 2 retweets. Reading it, I think you’ll see why.
See, this is what I mean. Does any of this stuff really happen? https://t.co/q86vZGbOsn
— John Williams (@wgnkingjohn) June 13, 2018
It probably didn’t hurt that Guth tweeted out a bit of a challenge to her Twitter followers:
Women of internet: my colleague keeps insisting I can’t possibly be telling the truth re instances of street harassment and other comments from strangers. Pls feel free to @ him as many stories of street harassment or commentary from strangers as you’d like to share. Thanks! https://t.co/jV6siaOpR8
— Amy Guth (@amyguth) June 13, 2018
The two evidently discussed the matter on his show yesterday, which I unfortunately missed. I’m sure he learned a thing or two.
And he could learn a lot more from the hundreds of women (and a smaller percentage of men) who responded to his tweet with pointed critiques — and stories of the street harassment. I’ve collected some of the responses that stood out the most to me; you can also plunge straight into the giant thread yourself here.
The critiques were appropriately blunt.
And then there were the stories — story after story, weird and horrible and utterly believable. (I’ve blacked out the names for all the story tweets because, you know, this is the internet.)
An appalling — if not surprising — number of respondents said they started getting creepy come-ons and other varieties of sexeual harassment when they were still children.
Horrifying. And there are so, so many more in the thread itself.
Dudes, if at this point — after #metoo, after Trump’s “pussy grabbing” tape, after countless public revelations — you still doubt that street harassment happens, it’s because of one or more of these things 1) you’re not talking to women, 2) you’re not listening to women, or 3) you give off such a creepy, Men’s Rightsy vibe that no woman feels comfortable telling you about the harassment she’s had to deal with. Fix yourself. Start by reading this whole thread on twitter.