THE BLOG

Rape Threats and Parody Videos: Men's Reactions to Catcalling Video Show Misogyny at Its Worst

31/10/2014 14:44 GMT | Updated 31/12/2014 10:59 GMT

Earlier this week a video of a woman getting catcalled by leering men as she walked the streets of New York City went viral.

In less than 24 hours the video, starring actress Shoshana Roberts, had been viewed more than one million times and covered by media worldwide.

Shoshana was hollered at more than 100 times during the 10-hour filming - that's once every six minutes. But, sadly and somewhat predictably, the harassment didn't end when the camera stopped rolling - she's since received countless rape threats and online criticism.

As if that isn't enough, Funny or Diecreated a parody video to show what it's like for a white man to walk through NYC. Not only is the video remarkably unfunny but it completely undermines the entire premise of the original video. It is misogyny at its worst.

hollaback

For those of you who think I've lost my sense of humour or am being a hysterical, angry feminist, know that sexual harassment is no laughing matter.

The reality is that everysinglewoman has been sexually harassed at some point in her lifetime - and that includes your mothers, sisters, daughters and friends.

Recent reports show that one third of women have been verbally abused on London transport and receiving online rape threats is becoming increasingly common.

For many it is a regular, or even daily occurrence. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been hollered at or groped by men I do not know. And I know for a fact I wasn't "asking for it".

And, in response to claims that the original video is racially bias, let me say this: the perpetrators of sexual harassment are men (and some, although fewer, women) from all races, ages and social background.

But rather than lump all men under one roof and wag our fingers, the point of the video is to highlight the severity of the problem - not tar all men with the same brush.

Of course we know that there are many good men out there who wouldn't dare holler or grope or rape, but there are still too many who would.

So men, the response to the video shouldn't be to rush to defend your innocence, crack insensitive jokes, make parody videos or send rape threats.

Instead, whether you're innocent or not, the video is supposed to make you take time to reflect. To realise that sexual harassment is an everyday reality for every woman and help us do something about it.