A new video that simultaneously lampoons and builds on the recent conversation about “catcalling” — the phenomenon of (usually) men sexually harassing passersby in public — is making the internet rounds, this time by reversing the usual gender dynamics. In the week since it was posted to YouTube, the clip has already racked up over a million views.
The video, the brainchild of comedy duo SJ Son and Ginny Leise, is a tongue-in-cheek experiment the two are calling “Drive-by Street Harassment,” a reference to a type of harassment in which the someone whispers an offensive comment quickly to the victim while walking by.
Son says the duo weren’t out to make a social justice statement with the project.
“We went into this video not really with an angle of any sort, it was really just to try something out and then observe and report,” Son told NBC News. “It wasn’t a 'let’s stick it to them!’ kind of thing."
The social experiment had practical origins for the pair. While thinking of ways to promote their ongoing comedy show, Son and Leise themselves became victims of the “drive-by”-style harassment they address in the short.
“[Incidents] happened to us at the same time while we were walking around in Greenpoint [Brooklyn]…we were like 'let’s turn the tables and see what happens,’” Son said. Perhaps ironically, even while making a video that intended to inverse the usual power dynamic of street harassment, the creators found they still had to worry about their own safety.
“We were both very concerned about safety because we had no idea how men were going to react," said Son. "It’s a little bit scary to approach someone and have that kind of audacity and be aggressive like that."
The real punch of the video is perhaps the most telling — few of the men in the video seem to take obvious offense at Son's racy and graphic remarks. The pair's full video is below.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE SOME MAY CONSIDER OFFENSIVE