Justice

Here's What Happened When Men Saw Their Girlfriends Getting Catcalled

You can't fully understand the pervasiveness of street harassment until it happens to you, so Cosmopolitan used a GoPro to record women getting catcalled in New York City and had their boyfriends watch the footage afterward.

Street harassers often target women who are alone and not walking with a partner, so this exercise showed these men just how challenging it can be for females to get from point A to point B.


 

The clip opens with couple, Seth and Olivia, who have been together for eight months.

"We walked around the city today, and you're going to see different guys I was telling you about [and] how they act when you're not around," Olivia warns.

After watching footage of men bother Olivia, Seth says, "All right, I'm getting pissed off. I'm not happy with this. I'm not happy, I got to be honest."

Then we move on to Tessa and Jon, an item of a year.

Tessa, who has thick curls, tells Jon, "The thing that happened in this [footage of me getting harassed] is something that happens all the time. Somebody will want to comment on my hair but that's just a way to get in."

Jon watches as a man follows Tessa down the street to tell her how amazing her hair looks.

"That's so messed up," Jon says after seeing Tessa harangued by many harassers. "Those people are scary. It sucks. I'm glad that people are making it an issue and not standing for it anymore."

The clip wraps up with couple Amy and Miguel. Miguel cannot believe what his girlfriend endures.

"You're somebody's daughter, somebody's sister," Miguel says. "I'm sure if somebody did that to their mother or their cousin, they wouldn't appreciate it."

When a man compliments Amy's tattoos, Miguel says, "I hate when people tell you that."

After a repeated harasser bothers Amy, Miguel says, "Is that the same guy as before? That's disgusting, dude, just get back to work and do your job. Don't waste taxpayers' money."

Last year, anti-street harassment organization Hollaback! teamed with Rob Bliss Creative to produce a video titled "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman," which shows a young lady being bombarded with disgusting comments from passersby as she walks through the city. The video, which received more than 40 million views, was intended to show men the frequency and crudeness of street harassment:


 

Though many praised the video for exposing street harassment, it also faced backlash for mostly including men of color harassing the woman, whose name is Shoshana. When it turned out that white men were edited out out of the video, Hollaback! later apologized.

"I did at the end of the video make it clear that we had people of all backgrounds who catcalled because I felt this might come up," Rob Bliss, the video director, said in an interview with Bustle. "[T]hose two guys that follow Shoshana [in the video] make up literally half of the video, and because by chance, they were black, now half of the video is showing black guys. That just only further demonstrates how statistically inaccurate something like this is, and how it shouldn’t be taken so literally. What if they were two Russians, or Japanese guys? Would we be saying that Russians make up half of all catcallers? That’s the problem with drawing too much from this video. It was just one girl’s 10 hour experience, composed of 18 different scenes."

As ATTN: previously put it, "the backlash took away from the greater message, which is that street harassment is a degrading, totally sexist, humiliating part of our culture ... Next time a catcalling story or video grips the U.S., perhaps it can inspire a lasting conversation about what women go through and not get buried as Bliss and Hollaback!'s video did."

It's a shame men had to watch their girlfriends being degraded for the problem to gain more visibility.