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Quickie: Responsibility, and Schrödinger’s Creeper

January 21, 2013

One aside from the last post ties in very well with a video someone shared (limited, so no link) on G+ earlier.

Street Photography Do’s and Don’ts

Besides things like keeping your camera ready for a shot, he covered trying not to creep people out, in several ways.

That is actually one reason I haven’t (yet) gotten more serious about street photography: I am very aware that it is easy to come across as creepy, totally without intending to, and I don’t want to intrude on other people’s personal space. Being a not-very-threatening middle-class woman in my 30s, I know that besides being less likely to be perceived as doing “real” photography, I am also far less likely to be perceived as a potentially dangerous creeper. But, I am still aware that the risk of unintentionally bothering people is still there.

As mentioned in the last post, especially where kids are involved. They’re fun to watch, and are likely to do interesting things in public, partly because they haven’t yet been socialized not to do things like jump in huge puddles and try to hug pigeons.

I know that I don’t fit the usual “beware of strangers” profile–and, on multiple occasions back home, total strangers have asked me to watch their kids and/or purses while they went to the bathroom or something. I also know that I am not a threat to children doing amusing things on the street. But, I am aware that a lot of parents have been strongly conditioned to be wary of any strangers taking an obvious interest in their kids. (Besides, possibly, grandmotherly types. Which I am not, anyway.)

Stranger Danger may be an overblown fear, AFAICT especially in the UK and probably areas with higher population density. (We actually had school assemblies teaching us to be suspicious of strangers, in the early-mid ’80s in Virginia, but I never saw anything quite like this before. Even before the Saville mess came up.) It also helps remove suspicion from real abusers who are close to their victims, which would be the vast majority of them. But, there really are random dangerous pervs out there. I was too young to remember anything about it, but one tried to grab me off a busy park playground when I was a toddler. A boy my mother was in elementary school with got kidnapped on his way to school and held captive in a cave for a week, until he managed to escape. People sometimes also kidnap children to raise. It may not be very often, but these things do happen. General leerers, harassers, and flashers are a lot more common, and do enough cumulative harm.

More importantly, a lot of parents–and, no doubt, kids–are frightened, and I only consider it basic consideration t0 try not to behave in ways that might help set off those fears. Because I don’t want other people to be worried and frightened. I also don’t get to decide how “reasonable” their fear might be; the fact that they are afraid is enough. It’s that simple.

Very basic Schrödinger’s Rapist-type stuff, yes. Or Schrödinger’s Racist Cop, or as tigtog so aptly put it in Schrödinger’s Rapist: ever-reliable source of women being told that (yet again) we’re doing it wrong (cached version, in case that link is still not working):

BTW, women are also assessing strange men they meet as Schrödinger’s Thief, Schrödinger’s Drunk Who Vomits On New Shoes, Schrödinger’s Teller Of Long Boring Tales, and they’re also assessing every car for whether Schrödinger’s Hit And Run Driver is behind the wheel. Do those background safety checks upset you as much as Schrödinger’s Rapist? If not, why not?

I’m not even trying to convince anyone who has little enough consideration for other people as to take these observations as some kind of personal “Waaah! She just called me a monstrous hit-and-run driver!!11!” attack. But, I was struck yet again by how much self-importance and lack of concern for other people’s well-being it takes to automatically react that way, much less defensively go on the attack.

And, I suspect that this wouldn’t be so much of a thing, if as a society we weren’t still needing to have this conversation: Forward Thinking: Civic Responsibility Roundup.

Other people exist. And they are as important as I am, or you are. Also, [w]hen someone gives an account of their own experience, believe them.

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