Ask any woman you know, and chances are she can tell you that she has been yelled at on the street. “I’m harassed when I smile and I’m harassed when I don’t,” Shoshana Roberts of Hollaback! says. “I’m harassed by white men, black men, latino men. Not a day goes by when I don’t experience this.”
Hollaback! is an organization that aims to bring attention to the pervasiveness of street harassment. As evidenced by the below video they produced starring Roberts as she walks around New York City for ten hours, it’s clearly a big issue.
As their site says, it’s a problem that revolves around asserting dominance. “At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces.”
For this experiment, Hollaback! enlisted Roberts and her boyfriend Rob Bliss (who had the idea for the project) to walk around the city as Bliss filmed the unsolicited catcalling, numerous commands to “SMILE!”, and attempts to get her attention, including one from a particularly gross man who decides to silently follow her for several minutes.
Probably the saddest part of all this is that many women watching it know EXACTLY how this woman feels.