^This is Geo Godley. There are probably few things more awful than making a woman – even if it was Paula Abdul – want to hurl after seeing your tackle.
For the lucky ones who have never heard of him, Geo Godley is one of those Youtube celebrity dolts – the fact that someone can be a celebrity from “vlogging” massively offends me, but that’s another rant altogether. As of writing, Mr. Godley has over 10,000 videos on his Youtube account. The vast majority of his caustic uploads are his “flirts”. Essentially, Godley meanders around London and makes videos consisting of awkward come-ons to random women in the street. What’s worse is because all of these desperate attempts are filmed, everyone watching can see just how unsettling Godley’s antics are. It’s clear from a lot of the videos that the targets are uncomfortable as they try to lose Godley one way or another and, frankly, it’s difficult viewing. Whilst he’s arguably not causing any immediate harm, he’s not only normalising harassment of people but he’s filming and documenting it as if it was socially acceptable.
Now, Godley himself will dismiss criticisms like this in an instant. A month or two ago, he uploaded a video where, after walking past a Pret A Manger and catching a girl’s eye very briefly, he went in to the restaurant and sat next to her. Unsurprisingly, he was met with indifference, as the girl basically ignored him and tried not to respond as other people in the restaurant just looked on in disbelief at his creeping attempts. After rightly being called up on this video by many people, Geo posts a response saying that all detractors are in the wrong; the woman gave him “an inviting glance”, he’s had “tonnes of positive experiences” doing his video flirts and “the women enjoy it”. Essentially, he throws his harassment off as harmless flirtatious fun, firstly forgetting the fact that flirting requires two active parties and secondly, clearly grossly unaware of any semblance of social boundaries (the claim of ‘fun’ is further lambasted by videos where Geo gets annoyed when girls don’t respond well to him [around 1:30 it gets weird] or he gets indignant about someone blocking the view of the woman he was filming from his window).
Maybe Geo isn’t intending to cause harm. And to be honest, looking at some of his other videos, he may have had some bad life experiences that have warped the way he approaches people. But despite this, he obviously is causing distress and the fact that he’s oblivious to it is genuinely disturbing. In a social climate where something like the the harrowing #ShoutingBack has taken off as an organic documentation of the harassment that is accepted as standard, Geo’s deluded attempts to defend his flirt footage as nothing more than a “positive experience” only serve to exemplify just how ingrained a problem street harassment is. There is nothing “positive” about filming women who don’t want to be filmed as you publicly harass them. If anything, it seems like you’re building up a bulk of evidence of things that will eventually be used against you in court – and with good reason. This is not how you treat people.