Woman Gets Flashed, Gets Even

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Nov. 23 2010 10:37 AM

Woman Gets Flashed, Gets Even

Hooray for this woman, this righteously and rightfully outraged woman , who was apparently flashed by a man on the New York subway, who kept "pressing up against" her with his exposed you-know-what. From the footage it appears a great deal of the subway car gathered around to record the aftermath – the guy standing awkwardly, guarding his crotch with a bag, somebody trying to take a picture of the offending member with a cell phone camera, the man's intended victim going off on him. At one point she and the alleged flasher actually appear to be having a conversation.

Libby Copeland Libby Copeland

Libby Copeland is a writer in New York and a regular Slate contributor. She was previously a Washington Post reporter and editor for 11 years. She can be reached at libbycopeland@gmail.com.

"I’m like, why does this person keep pressing against me?" she says, addressing the subway car with machine gun delivery – fast, nasal, mad as hell. "Then I see his penis out! That’s it." She looks at the alleged flasher, who appears to be saying something. "Oh, you're getting [bleeping] arrested. I’m not leaving your side. My plans are done for the night. I’m escorting you to the police station, okay? Oh yes. Oh [bleeping] yes." (video below)

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A great deal has been written pondering how, for instance, YouTube and ubiquitous cell phone cameras have altered the way politicians operate (remember George Allen’s "macaca" moment? ), not to mention ordinary folk, who have been vilified and humiliated, as well as made into stars through instant viral fame. Police also use YouTube, Facebook and message boards to catch all sorts of crime - street fighters, drag racers. (The folks who actually post videos of themselves committing crimes make it way too easy for the cops. Come on, people! Make them work a little.)

Add to those ranks the lowly, reviled flasher, who has long relied on shocking or humiliating his victims through brief glimpses of his body. It’s a frustrating crime because it happens in, yes, a flash, and then the guy covers up and maybe hustles away, leaving his victim wondering, How can I prove it? And perhaps even, Did I really just see what I think I saw?

You can already predict the media arc for this story: The city will make sure the flasher gets the fullest punishment it can mete out, and the woman will make the rounds on the morning shows. (She’s short, feisty, possessed of red hair and a New York accent – the stuff of producers’ dreams.) And the woman’s words – "My plans are done for the night. …Oh yes. Oh [bleeping] yes" – are soon to be an Auto-Tuned YouTube song.

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