If you’ve ever wondered what goes through a man’s head while he’s catcalling a woman on the street, wonder no more, because BuzzFeed has created a video about just that, and they totally nailed it.
Whenever I’ve witnessed a man wolf-whistling or hanging out of a car window to call out to a woman walking by, I’m always left wondering whether that behaviour has ever really worked. Has a woman ever been called “baby” while walking down the street and become so taken by the attention that she’s offered up her number? No, I think that has probably never happened.
So, if this form of gratuitous harassment doesn’t result in mutual communication, then what’s the point? What’s going through a man’s head when he calls out obscenities, wolf-whistles and catcalls? Well, BuzzFeed has created a new video with the apt title, “What Men Are Really Saying When Catcalling Women”, and we think they just might have nailed it.
“Hey, baby. You know I talk to women a lot more than I understand them,” says one man, as he gestures towards a woman walking alone. “I’m extremely sexually frustrated!” shouts another, sitting with two of his male friends.
While #NotAllMen see a lone woman walking down the street as an invitation to catcall, it is something that still happens all too often and we love how this BuzzFeed video brings light to the reason why men choose to catcall at all. It comes down to issues of self-esteem, social pressure, lack of awareness and a need to prove one’s masculinity through the objectification of women. “While I’ve never catcalled, a lot of those statements hit painfully close to home,” said one man on social media.
The video is a funny look behind the culture of catcalling, but it is a societal issue which is being combated around the world through initiatives and campaigns.
New York street artist, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, thought street harassment was just an “annoying part of everyday life” for a woman. But earlier this year, she became involved in a global campaign as part of International Anti-Street Harassment Week by creating a series of portraits, entitled “Stop Telling Women to Smile”. Her portraits were plastered onto street walls across the world, including Australia. “You can keep your thoughts on my body to yourself,” one of the portraits was captioned.
— Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (@fazlalizadeh) August 1, 2014
The artist says street harassment not only affects the women being catcalled, but also the fabric of the community at large. “Women are out for consumption and for your enjoyment,” Fazlalizadeh told CNN. “It creates a sexually hostile climate in our streets and communities.”
In Germany, an activist group, ProChange, hands out “red cards” against sexism and street harassment on public transport. In Yemen, there are Safe Streets campaigns through which women distribute books on street harassment.
Guys, girls, watch the video. It’s funny, but it also highlights a real issue of harassment. If you do find yourself catcalled, perhaps take a page from Jennifer Lawrence’s book, who once responded to a catcalling paparazzo with, “They’re just boobs, relax.”