What It's Like To Endure Hours Of Catcalling

December 7th 2015

Los Angeles-based performance artist Mirabelle Jones recently endured eight hours of recorded catcalling for her project "To Skin a Catcaller" at the Artists’ Television Access (ATA) gallery in San Francisco. Wearing nude underwear for the exhibit, Jones was surrounded by razor blades dangling from balloons and signs depicting catcalling remarks as the catcall recordings played in the background.

Mirabelle Jones, "To Skin A Catcaller"Lieven Leroy Subversive Photography - mirabellejones.com

RELATED: How Women Responded to Catcallers In The Past

The recorded catcalls, which Jones recited herself, came from an online survey asking real women about their street harassment experiences, according to Mission Local. Jones received 100 responses within a week of the survey going live, and some of the responses included crude comments such as, “I like that ass,” “I can smell your pussy,” and “let me come in your hair.”

Mirabelle Jones, "To Skin A Catcaller"Lieven Leroy Subversive Photography - mirabellejones.com

Jones, who works for Hollaback! LA, told ATTN: via email that she moved around within the confined space of the gallery to make a point that women endure street harassment when going from point A to B in daily life.

"For eight hours, I was walking around the edges of the gallery dodging the blades above me and on the floor," Jones told ATTN:. "I wasn't just standing there as others have mistakenly reported or given the impression. I believe this continuous motion is important to understanding that when someone is catcalled they are trying to get from one place to another. They aren't just lackadaisically moving about hoping someone will acknowledge them."

Jones, who said catcalling is "interruptive," told ATTN: that the response to her exhibit "has been overwhelmingly positive." She added that lots of women felt that she was shedding light on an issue that regularly impacts them.

Mirabelle Jones, "To Skin A Catcaller"Lieven Leroy Subversive Photography - mirabellejones.com

"Many who came stood and watched me respectfully and with an expression of empathy," Jones said.

Jones added that she felt her project resonated because society often overlooks the severity of catcalling, which can turn something as simple as walking to work into an incredibly degrading experience.

Mirabelle Jones, "To Skin A Catcaller"Tim Guydish - mirabellejones.com

As Refinery 29 noted, some men responded to her exhibit by staring, and one licked his lips for ten minutes as he watched her walk around the gallery. Some men mocked her appearance and even took off once they figured out the exhibit was about street harassment, ultimately proving the necessity of her work.

Mirabelle Jones, "To Skin A Catcaller"Tim Guydish - mirabellejones.com

ALSO: Sons React to Their Moms Getting Catcalled

Jones told Mission Local that she also wanted her project to show that street harassers don't always fit the stereotypical whistling construction guy persona. They come in all forms, and their catcalling can range from mild remarks such as "hey there" to highly inappropriate passes like "nice tits, honey."

Earlier this year, a study conducted by Hollaback! and Cornell University surveyed more than 16,000 women and found that nearly 85 percent of women around the world reported experiencing street harassment before turning 17.


"Catcalling is often down played in society as harmless or as the burden of the victim to dress differently or not go to certain neighborhoods or keep their heads down," Jones told ATTN:. "Women often ask me, 'Why do they do that? Has that ever worked for them?' Well, they do that because they are conditioned to do it. Misogyny doesn't just happen. It's not an attribute that arises from the ether. It's something that society breeds in young men and some women, too."

Mirabelle Jones, "To Skin A Catcaller"Tim Guydish - mirabellejones.com

ALSO: Here's What Happened When Men Saw Their Girlfriends Getting Catcalled

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