In a bid to raise awareness of 'drive-by street harassment' and highlight the effects of sexism, comedian Soojeong Son has turned the tables in her new video. But what's the message?
You’re walking down the street, minding your own business and/or mentally working out what to have for dinner, when suddenly you hear a voice in your ear.
‘I like your ass,’ it growls aggressively. ‘I’d do you.’
But in the 30 seconds it takes for you to stop yourself from jumping 18 feet in the air and screaming (before checking that there isn’t a post-it note on your bum saying ‘please feel free to approach me and make inappropriate, sexist comments in the voice of a cartoon villain’), he’s gone. Leaving you feeling uncomfortable, intimidated, and convinced that somewhere a few pavements back, somehow, you must have done something a little bit wrong.
So we couldn’t wait to watch the results when comedian, actor and co-founder of The Shame Game web series, Soojeong Son, revealed that she’d spent a day in New York attempting to turn the tables on men and teach them what it feels like to experience ‘drive-by street harassment’.
Storming up to unsuspecting men around the city, SJ whispers sexually-charged compliments – running away before they can respond – while her friend Ginny films their reactions.
But instead of looking embarassed, uncomfortable or insecure – SJ’s ‘victims’ look thrilled by the attention. One guy looks like it’s the best thing to happen to him since that time when he got given a free coffee in Pret for smiling at the waiter. Another looks like he’s going to cancel his plans and spend his evening listening to ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ while snogging the mirror. Maybe we’re misreading their signals, but it looks like they like the attention.
So what’s the message? Do the men in the video take the compliments at face value simply because they don’t feel threatened by a woman saying them – even in a really mean voice? Or is it because they’re not used to being objectified on a daily basis – meaning the attention is simply a novelty? Or are we the ones in the wrong for interpreting their laughter as a sign of consent, when secretly they’re all crying on the inside?
Either way, we’re on the table’s side*.
* You’re not going to get this reference unless you watch the video. SOZ.