Watch These Catcalling Men Get the Comeback of a Lifetime

A Minneapolis woman's letting guys know, 'It's not a compliment. It's harassment.'
Jul 22, 2014·
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Last year I was riding the bus home, and a man I did not know began talking to me. “You sure do look good,” he cooed. “What’s your name?” I politely told him that I’d had a busy day and I wasn’t in the mood to talk. His flowery compliments about my hair, my clothes, and my body continued to flow. I transferred buses. He followed me. Several stops later Prince Charming was cursing and yelling at me to the point that the driver stopped the bus and kicked him off.

Whether it’s that kind of violent verbal assault or seemingly complimentary comments about a person's appearance, a recent report from Stop Street Harassment found that two-thirds of women experience the abuse on a daily basis. Now one anonymous woman from Minneapolis is putting the catcalling and gross remarks on blast. She’s been filming her street harassment experiences and handing guys a small card that she created that breaks down why their behavior is completely out of line.

The project, dubbed Cards Against Harassment, gives women who are harassed or witness harassment a simple way to let guys know that their conduct is inappropriate. The scenarios on each card are based on common experiences women have. Many end with the line "It's not a compliment. It's harassment."

Cards Against Harassment

Her latest video, which you can view above, shows her experience giving a card to a man named Jared.

“Our time together was so short tonight as I walked to my bus stop and tried to mind my own business before you started shouting at me,” reads the video’s YouTube description. “I'm just glad I had my cards and phone at the ready so we could both have memories to take away from these special, fleeting moments.”

The project’s creator had a pretty civil conversation with Jared. But on her website, she warns that the cards “are NOT for everyone, or for every situation. Nor should anyone interpret my videos as representative of how a card-giving interaction could go.”

What seems tough to discern, however, is when it is safe for a woman to hand over one of those cards. If I’d passed one on to the guy on the bus last year when he was still dripping with compliments about my beauty, who is to say he wouldn’t have gotten physically violent with me? That's part of what makes street harassment so insidious. A woman always has to worry about whether her response (or lack thereof) will put her in danger.