I live in the liberal, progressive bubble of New York City. Normally, I'm protected from targeted attacks on women, at least at a local level. This week, however, two local news items caught my eye and pissed me off.
The first is an outcry against the topless, painted ladies of Times Square, who pose for pictures with sweaty adolescents and then shake them down for tips. It began with an editorial in The Daily News admonishing Bill DeBlasio to put a stop to the topless panhandlers... not surprising coming from The Daily News. But then the Mayor responded saying that the women were "Wrong, it's just wrong." and vowed to get them out of Times Square. This seems like a good time to mention that it is perfectly legal for a woman to go topless in New York City. I'm not saying that shaking down tourists for cash is an awesome thing to do, but given the wide array of characters (costumed and otherwise) doing the exact same thing in the exact same place... this smells a lot like policing the female body.
So, that's terrible.
THEN the State of New York announced a new initiative to crack down on panhandlers who hit the streets with their children in tow. Anyone who's waited for the A train at 14th street knows that this targets a disproportionately female population. The task force claims that these women are not homeless and are using their kids to scam pedestrians. Again, I am not saying that sponging for change with your child is a great way to make a buck, but if there is no signs of abuse or neglect, and no laws are being violated, I don't see why this necessitates a task force. I would argue that this unfairly targets low-income women who do not have access to affordable childcare, in a country where mothers are arrested for leaving their children unattended while they go to work.
In response to this bullshit, I would like to suggest a few alternative "scammers" for the City and State to consider cracking down on instead:
- Buskers who only sing the first verse of "Imagine" over and over again.
- Fake Monks in Nikes who try to sell you bracelets for their "temples"
- The "Are you Catholic?" people that come out around Lent.
- All clipboard people.
- Men who ask for "hugs and smiles" in addition to money
- The Dooms Day people who have lined the Times Square subway station with posters about how YOU personally are going to hell.
- Aggressive 2-drink-minimum comedy club promoters
- Subway Preachers
- Brokers who charge you $3000 to send 2 emails and open a door.
- Showtime kids who are not actually impressive (the impressive ones can stay)
- "Do you like hip hop?" guys
- Anyone who brings an amplifier onto a train
- People who play games on their phones with the sound on
- Donald Trump
Just to name a few.