"Would you speak to your mother like that?" is a common rejoinder for women who have been subjected to vulgar catcalls from men on the street. Now, a PSA is answering that question.
Produced by boxing gear company Everlast and shot in Lima, Peru — where 7 out of 10 women are victims of street harassment, according to the video — the PSA takes a handful of serial catcallers, tracks down their mothers, dresses them in disguise and lets the cameras roll.
As one would imagine, things don't go too smoothly for the men:
One woman repeatedly hits her son over the head with handbag when he yells "Tasty panties!" after her. Another rips her disguise off and screams, "How can you be harassing [women]? Aren't you ashamed?" As the Huffington Post's Alanna Vagianos writes, "It's everything you've ever wanted a catcaller to hear."
It's possible this is a setup. The video is brilliant to the point of being almost too good — the chances that the camera crew would track down chronic catcallers, find their mothers and then perfectly time the interaction so she's the only woman on the street is rather unlikely.
Or, as Oscar Rickett at the Guardian put it, "The scenes are incredibly staged, the acting barely hitting the heights of a school play."
And as humorous as the interactions are, it seems somewhat sad that these men need to be confronted at all. They shouldn't need to be publicly humiliated by their mothers in order to realize that what they're doing is not a compliment, and that women shouldn't be seen as respectable because they're someone's mother — they're worthy of respect in their own right.
But with all that said: For anyone who's even been a victim of catcalling, this video is deeply satisfying. If it makes just one man consider street harassment differently, it's worth it.
The myths about catcalling — "it's a compliment," "it's not harassment," "it doesn't happen that often," "women are just making it up," "it's not violent so it's not a problem" — are pernicious. Women need every tool in the box to combat the effects of street harassment, and this PSA from Peru adds to their arsenal.
h/t Huffington Post