The Washington Post

Buzzfeed’s video about street harassment is a must-see

This week Buzzfeed released what is probably one of the funniest and most accurate videos about street harassment to ever hit the Internet. Titled “What Men Are Really Saying When Catcalling Women,” the 1-minute and 50-second clip replaces the usual, “Hey baby” and “Can I walk with you?” lines and with things like “Society makes me feel like I have to objectify you to feel manly,”  “I noticed your confidence so I’m cutting you down to feel powerful,” and my personal favorite, “This has never, ever, worked,” which the actor delivers while thrusting his crotch at a visibly disgusted woman.

Not only is it funny, but it places a special focus on how men are socialized to believe that harassing women, particularly catcalling, is:

• Something that is expected of them in order to prove their manliness.

• Harmless fun that entertains or impresses their friends.

• The way to actually approach a woman.

• Their personal duty to put women in their “place.”

For example, one of the Facebook comments on the video says “Not accurate lol…sometimes its [sic] just funny to [tick] cocky girls off.” What makes a harasser assume that a woman they do not know is cocky? Her gait? Her appearance? Her posture? Why would it be this man’s responsibility to bring her down a peg? If that Facebook user wrote that after watching the video, it’s further proof that, to some, harassing women is an integral part of what it means to be a man. And that is one of the many ways that patriarchy hurts men, too.

Basically, “We should all be feminists.” Cue the “***Flawless” beat.

One gripe about the clip: the tone that all of the men use in the video is extremely stereotypical. Granted, some harassers do use a “bro-y” or “smooth guy” routine when they harass women, but one of the biggest problems with street harassment is how pervasive it is. There are harassers in every racial, economic and social group, which Buzzfeed seemed to try to highlight by having a racially diverse group of male actors play harassers. However, some of the lines are delivered in such a specific tone — for example, “Deep down I know you’re never jumping in this Ford Escape, girl”) — that you cannot imagine a man you actually know behaving this way. And that’s part of the problem: harassers hear horror stories about harassment and think “They can’t be talking about a guy like me.”

Despite those concerns, the message is a strong one. Street harassment hurts everybody. It doesn’t make the harasser manlier and it’s definitely not an effective way to express romantic interest in a woman. At the least, most harassers become the subject of an annoyed Twitter rant and at the worst, they can truly make a harassed person feel unsafe.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Democrats debated Thursday night. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Chris Cillizza on the Democratic debate...
On Clinton: She poked a series of holes in Sanders's health-care proposal and broadly cast him as someone who talks a big game but simply can't hope to achieve his goals.

On Sanders: If the challenge was to show that he could be a candidate for people other than those who already love him, he didn't make much progress toward that goal. But he did come across as more well-versed on foreign policy than in debates past.
The PBS debate in 3 minutes
Quoted
We are in vigorous agreement here.
Hillary Clinton, during the PBS Democratic debate, a night in which she and Sanders shared many of the same positions on issues
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

national

she-the-people

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.