The Problem With That Catcalling Video

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Remember that catcalling video that got over 16 million views? Well it also got a ton of criticism and it’s not hard to see why.

The video features a woman walking down the streets of New York for ten hours and minding her business while getting “catcalled” by several men. While the main point of the video shows the problematic reality that a woman can’t walk in public without getting “catcalled”, it also brings up an important discussion: where are the white males in this video?

Apparently the answer to this question is that white men were edited out. Rob Bliss Creative, the marketing agency behind the video, addressed that many guys had to be edited out because what they said was off camera or what they said happened in “passing”.

So perhaps you should try another take of those guys so your video doesn’t send out the problematic, obvious message that we have seen one too many times in movies: depiction of Black and Latino men as the only faces of street or sexual harassment.

A powerful message became a discussion of racism because one cannot simply turn a blind eye to the fact that once again, an able-bodied, attractive woman is walking down the street, and her harassers come in only two shades of color.

In a Slate article Hanna Rosin writes, “if the point of this video is to teach men about the day-to-day reality of women, then this video doesn’t hit its target.”

Rosin’s statement is entirely true. If we’re going to make a video teaching men that no, it is not okay to demand a woman’s attention on the street, we need to make this video so it relates to an entire human race. According to StopStreetHarassment.org, “87 percent of American women between the ages of 18-64 had been harassed by a male stranger; and over one half of them experienced “extreme” harassment including being touched, grabbed, rubbed, brushed or followed by a strange man on the street or other public place.”

A striking 87 percent. So if one were to actually calculate how many of those harassers were white males, the representation of this catcalling video would be far from from the truth.

There is no doubt that videos like this one have the power to send out a strong and crucial message. It is absolutely necessary and it is about time that we stop blaming sexual and street harassment on a woman’s low-cut shirt or mini skirt. It is problematic to reinforce the troubled notion that a man can’t control his hormones and is therefore the victim of these sad and horrific situations that take place everyday, everywhere, and occur in every shade of color.

With that being said, lets raise awareness on these issue, lets make these videos, lets stand up against the idea that men have the right to demand a woman’s attention if they think she’s “attractive”. Lets also do this in all the shades of color in which these cases are reported. We all know too well that harassment does not have a specific face, color, time or place. Any woman should be able to relate, and any man should get the message.

For the complete video, watch here.

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One thought on “The Problem With That Catcalling Video

  1. This is a really interesting point that you bring up, something that I never even thought about! It gets me thinking though, how often do we immediately applaud videos/campaign/what have you for addressing one issue without thinking about ones it creates or perpetuates? Great post!

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