Hastings Journal on Gender and the Law


Marc Tran


This comment explores two permutations of entitlement to women’s attention and bodies in public: street harassment (“catcalling”) and upskirt and down-blouse photography (collectively, “creepshots”). Part I is devoted to discussing street harassment—its harms (on an individual and societal scale), legal solutions, and the limits of the law. Part II is devoted to creepshots—their harms, the evolution of the perpetrator, and legal solutions. Both catcalling and creepshots disproportionately impact women. As such, an acknowledgement of gender privilege is a necessary prerequisite to exploring the harms and possible remedies of street harassment and up-skirt photography. There have been various attempts by men (and some women) to delegitimize these harms, but this is best uderstood as a failure and refusal to acknowledge gender privilege. While the causes of this behavior are up for debate, the harms of catcalling and creepshots are undeniable—ranging from anxiety to escalated incidents of sexual assault and stalking. Accordingly, these behaviors should be criminalized, regardless of any First Amendment issues they may raise.