When Women Act Like (The Worst of) Men (Video)


Sexism is real. Misogyny is real. Discrimination is real. Rape is real.

They are all extremely sensitive subjects, especially to the women who have personally suffered from their real-life consequences. Talking about such issues, raising awareness, and challenging the status quo are all important, and men need to pay attention to the shifting mores of society.

But there is a point where the agents of social change fall a bit tone-deaf, and accidentally miss their own larger point. Such is the case with this video from the Everyday Sexism project.

No one is going to defend a man who presses himself up against a woman on a crowded subway, or who whistles a catcall while he’s driving. Those are crude, brutish, and ineffective ways to communicate with the opposite sex. But there’s an obvious difference between the man who leads with offensive sexual pick up line and a guy who approaches you because you’re female, you’re attractive and he’d like to get to know you better.

One thing hasn’t really changed all that much: men still approach women and ask them out.

And if every time a man approaches you out of interest, it is considered an “unwanted sexual advance,” it would seem to me that the species just might die out.

I’m kidding, of course. But logically, a man can’t know if an advance is wanted or unwanted until he actually makes the advance. He doesn’t know if you’re single or have a boyfriend, whether you’re a virgin or open to one-night-stands, whether you find him attractive or disgusting. The only way for him to know is to approach. A percentage of those approaches are going to be unwanted.

Now, to be fair, there are a number of shy beta males who do not approach women and a number of confident alpha females who approach men. They are well within their rights to view dating in a gender-neutral way, but they are still in the minority. This isn’t my opinion. Just look around. Men write to scores of women online. Men approach women at parties. Men ask for phone numbers. Men pay for the dates. Men make the first move. Men are the aggressors; women get to say yes or no.

If every time a man approaches you out of interest, it is considered an “unwanted sexual advance,” it would seem to me that the species just might die out.

I acknowledge that gender roles are changing, should change and have changed. Men are doing more housework, childrearing, and healthy communication than ever before. But one thing hasn’t really changed all that much: men still approach women and ask them out.

And while I’m all for cataloging and shaming men who are crude and misogynistic, I think it’s dangerous to conflate all random flirtation as “unwanted sexual advances”. An interesting thread was started on Andrew Sullivan’s blog if you want to read more.

Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated below. Share this with friends for a thought-provoking discussion.

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  1. 1

    At 1:52 she forgot to insinuate he is gay, namecall him a “fa–ot”, then start following him angrily down the rest of the mall making physical threats behind him.

  2. 3

    I think you’ve missed the boat on this one. I found the video rather funny (mainly because the idea of a woman acting this way seems so far-fetched), but also a reminder of what women deal with on a daily basis. Interestingly, only one of the men this very attractive young woman approached expressed any interest in her, and he obviously thought she was a hooker   (“I have to go to the bank first”).
    This has nothing to do with striking up a casual conversation at a bar or party and later, after some chatting and mutual interest has been established, asking for a phone number, it’s about being sexually aggressive whether or not your advances are welcome or appropriate.  

    1. 3.1

      Very true Ruby. Recently at an education related event, I struck up conversation with two men. The first was polite, respectful and articulate. The second started the conversation about my looks, wanted me to come to his home for dinner (literally a complete stranger), and wrote his phone number down on a bit of paper and stuck it into my hand, which I immediately threw away. This all about what is appropriate and a few manners go a long way.

  3. 4

    It does seem that the popular message in most of our entertainment today is that men are unnecessary, buffoonish louts.   As the mother of two sons, I take issue with that.   

    1. 4.1

      Really but some of them are!! so unnecessary!! Its amazing and sicking, Ruby is dead on it was very hilarious, but on a serious note this happens to me at least twice a week. so many women on a daily basis and sometimes it gotten very verbally offensive where i felt my life was threatened, especially if I ignored you, I told them, during a conversation I said to them” screw you!! rude, crude and socially unacceptable.. Alot of these men are out of line and out of order.

  4. 5

    This is a really timely reality check. I do really need to be reminded that when an unattractive or down and out man makes a pass at me, not to take it personally or negatively. Yeah, I WILL be approached by almost exclusively by down and out types solely because this is an impoverished area and that is 99.9% of the older male dating pool. True, these dudes have zero idea what I am looking for. Honestly, I think many of these guys have no idea that being un/marginally employed, smoking dope, not wanting to be responsible, are turnoffs. Nope, I see no need to excoriate these guys, just politely turn them down and avoid them thereafter.  

    1. 5.1
      Michael Ejercito

      Honestly, I think many of these guys have no idea that being un/marginally employed, smoking dope, not wanting to be responsible, are turnoffs.

      In their defense, they would not know that unless they spoke to you.

  5. 6

    I’ve seen several of these types of videos. This one is not the first to do the gender switch. I’m not sure how I feel about it. After reading the comments (mostly men) on the video, they all remarked how the men laughed at it or calmly said no. While I feel there is some truth to that, i.e. treating unwanted attention in a calm manner, I felt it was rather dismissive. For me personally, the honking on the street doesn’t happen and maybe happened in my youth. Usually the people doing it are young boys. Heck I even yelled at people on the street when I was in my youth when I was in the car with my friends. I was yelling at anyone! I would think that since men mature slower, that kind of juvenile behaviour stops at around 25, whereas I was losing that at around 19.   This behaviour tends to be worse at clubs because guys become more aggressive. On the other hand, I think the biggest issue facing women is getting more into politics (but I think politics in itself is highly corrupt), getting the pay more equal. I had one guy friend argue that the rate is skewed because men are more likely to take dangerous jobs, which in turn pay more. I honestly think that is not factored into it. The big issue is how much challenges a woman faces if she wants a family. Her career takes a major hit whereas men’s careers enhance because being seen as a family man boosts their image in the company and they are more likely to get promoted. I consider myself a feminist but I don’t always agree with some of the beliefs in the community. An argument commonly used is that women feel scared to go out at night. I never felt like this, and I’m sure lots of other women don’t either. Their fear probably is not just based on their gender. I think men reacted the way they did in the video is because that’s how men are conditioned to react. Men are not really encouraged to act upset if someone violates their personal space like how this woman did. I think it is a challenge to be a woman and the challenges a woman faces is probably different from the challenges a man faces. Men face to me 2 challenges, being a good provider and processing their emotional state without appearing weak. I think the fact that women bleed every month for a good 30 years really trumps all challenges men face because the period really does affect a woman’s system. I have to take GLA (a type of fat) to help me so that I am not as fatigued and iron as well. Men shouldn’t whine about women whining about men. My 2 cents

  6. 7

    There are MANY men that could learn some manners.   I’ll give you that.   But  I also find a lot of “unwanted sexual advances” come from men that women are not attracted to.   I can’t count the number of times an attractive coworker successfully flirted with women at the office.(In ways that would get another man hit with sexual harassment.)   Or get away with aggressive/cheesy pickup lines.

  7. 8

    I found the video rather unbelievable watching an attractive decent articulate young woman putting herself out there supposedly looking for sex from random strange men. I’m not surprised all the men said no, it looked too staged to be for real, and men aren’t that stupid.  
    The actress/girl didn’t get too close to any of the men involved and would have had some backup while it was being filmed just in case she got into trouble with some guy who thought she was serious, and this staged piece of nonsense takes away from the real, nasty, insulting physical sexual harassment that women have to deal with. It’s frightening when it happens.
    These gender switching videos don’t prove anything and are just a joke.
    We all know that women can be just as aggressive as men when a gang of the girls go for a night out, been in one or two myself in the past but it was all for fun and no one got hurt at the end of the evening with the guys not taking anything seriously.  

    1. 8.1

      You make an excellent point that while funny and amusing, this does not really illustrate the danger women face with men who don’t have respectful boundaries. Women could never get away with this, they would die in many instances, and hookers do die often. When a man oversteps, we have no idea how far things may go. Also: this is probably the first time this has happened to these men, it’s not funny when it is chronic and unwanted. It is demoralizing and upsetting when it happens often. But the men looked pleased as can be!!!

  8. 9

    Aww, I always really like being wolf whistled or chatted up.   I mean I know it’s often crude and you’d never say yes to the guys doing it, but it’s still a compliment right?   I grinned all day the first time I ever got beeped and whistled by a driver while out walking and still remember where I was!   I think the world would be a duller place without a bit of playful sexism from guys who think classy is going out before going to bed!   Obviously they should always let no mean no and never try to force the issue.   But I’m always flattered by a chat up and a compliment, however clumsily or crudely it’s given!  

    1. 9.1

      You sound a little desperate for validation. It’s not a compliment, you’re being evaluated for your F***ability like a commodity or a product. Playful sexism? It’s the 21st century!

  9. 10

    It’s quite true that a man can’t psychically know if a woman reciprocates his interest without communicating it in some way – but men do need to be sensitive about this and recognise that women may feel vulnerable when approached by a man they do not know.   Context is a massive factor – in a social context like a bar or party, it’s much more possible to strike up a conversation whereas on public transport or in another context where the woman can’t easily move away or if there aren’t a lot of other people around, I’d argue men really need to be even more sensitive to whether the woman is giving out cues that she is open to talking or whether her body language is saying ‘please leave me alone’.   And of course any such approach should be playful and initially very gentle and very willing to let it drop if she’s not interested – we all know that yelling ‘get your tits out’ is never going to get anyone anywhere, which is why women read it as harassment rather than flirting.

    1. 10.1
      Michael Ejercito


      I’d argue men really need to be even more sensitive to whether the woman is giving out cues that she is open to talking or whether her body language is saying ‘please leave me alone’.  

      I argue that giving cues is an extremely inefficient method of communication.

    2. 10.2

      well said. context for sure.

  10. 11

    What strikes me most is the fact that the guys act so cool and turn down the offers mostly very friendly and she understands. in real life a woman has to get very very unfriendly to have the men finally leave or let go. It ´s so frustrating sometimes that you have to actually yell at people “I AM NOT INTERESTED” until they shy away after several attempts of trying to persuade the woman in question.  

  11. 12

    I thought the video was ridiculous.   You cannot lump all men into one category nor all women into one category.   I think the way a woman is treated has a lot to do with the way she presents herself.   All my life I have been told I am “beautiful”.   I am usually treated with great respect by men.   I have worked around men in many different jobs/projects, and have never been “sexually harassed” or even gotten rude or crude comments.   No dirty jokes, either.   So, all this whining about how women are treated by men   has   a lot to do with where you are hanging out.   If she is going by herself to a sleazy bar, well, why should she be surprised if some low-life guy makes crude remarks, etc.   Lets quit bashing men and get on with life.   Just spend time around quality men.   End of problem!
    The   part about her requesting a female clerk in a hardware store was also ludicrous.   I shop at Loews, and just try getting a knowledgable woman in the paint department!!!  

    1. 12.1

      Gail, I agree with you on a lot of points, but I think the conclusion you drew is an oversimplification.

      The point where I agree the most is that it has a lot to do with how a woman presents herself. But I disagree that it’s a matter of where she goes. I also disagree with the theory I’ve often heard from people other than you, that it has much of anything to do with how she looks or dresses.

      I’ll use a friend of mine and I as an example. Here are the differences between us:

      1. I’m tall, slim, and have been complimented on my appearance on many occasions. She’s short, curvy and blind, and has a glass eye that doesn’t always point in the same direction as her real eye. She’s a great person and has a wonderful, quirky personality, but she isn’t as close a match to the magazine-cover definition of ‘beauty’ as I am.

      2. I’m outgoing, fairly assertive, and willing to stand up for myself and hold my boundaries, while she’s a bit more shy, and her ability to stand up for herself is still a work in progress.

      3. I’ve been to the same ‘sleazy’ bar on several occasions to sing karaoke. The only person I recall being harassed by was a woman who was trying to grind-dance with everyone in sight, so it wasn’t specific to me. My friend, on the other hand, was targeted by a sleaze on her very first visit.

      From this, and from what I’ve heard from other women and from a man who used to be a jerk, the type of guy who will harass a woman is more likely to target someone who seems shy, submissive, and less likely to offer resistance. I used to get harassed more back when I was shy, so I’ve noticed the difference over time.

      There’s a saying, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Some women get harassed wherever they go, while some like you are pretty much never targeted, and I think the difference primarily lies in whether or not predators can sense that they’d make easy prey.

  12. 13

    The day men stop finding me attractive is the day I start wearing stretchy pants, not there yet 🙂   A look, flirting, catcall or whatever makes me feel empowered.   However, there are boundaries with everything.   If a man is intoxicated, or NOT and goes too far, he will sure know it!  

  13. 14
    Karmic Equation

    I’m with Katie #9 and Gail #12 on this one.  
    As Katie, I’m flattered by catcalls and being chatted up. When I turn men away it’s with a sweet, yet direct, “No thank you”, while looking him in the eye. There have been other times where a man made eye contact with me across the room and I just shook my head no, and he didn’t even approach. And, I remember one time when I was driving by construction crew working on the road and I honked my horn at a shirtless guy and you should have seen the ear-to-ear grin on his face. I think I made his day. (Men don’t mind, so I guess that’s why they think we don’t mind).
    I’ve hung out at my share of sleazy bars though and no man has ever behaved in a less than polite fashion when trying to get my attention…although I think I was there with my bf, but he was off in another part of the bar talking to friends, so technically I wasn’t “alone” per se, but the guys approaching couldn’t have known that.
    Maybe because I’m Asian, I get more polite treatment by men? Maybe it’s because I don’t dress to kill when I’m alone, but only with male company? Most times, I dress well but not conspicuously. Except once I was in a really really nice one shoulder mini dress with boots at a sleazy bar, and no man approached me. Although a lesbian did. Lol. (It was not a gay bar.) And she just made polite convo and didn’t seem to be trying to pick me up, though she did compliment me. I was there with a gf of mine who happened to be in jeans that night (long-haired blonde, so not butchy), so maybe she thought my gf and I were a couple. lol. That was the night my gf and I decided to karaoke-barhop and we did end up at a gay bar for last call because they had karaoke until 2am (most bars end karaoke at midnight or 1230am). A transvetites, with impeccable makeup, did try to chat me up. I was flattered. He was nice. But not my type. lol

  14. 15

    The people behind this video want show that men don’t really like to receive sexual propositions on the street from women.   This may be true, but it doesn’t help women. Women what their sexuality to be valued.   Asking men for sex out in public is same as having men ask you for sex in public.   Both actions tend to degrade women.   I don’t know too many women who think sex and/or intimacy is just an even-steven exchange.  

    1. 15.1

      Are you kidding? These guys LOVED the come on. They’re gonna tell everyone they KNOW about it. They said no, they may be committed or worried about std’s or a crazy woman, but they loved the hit. Watch it again, their faces tell the story. It was cute, and a good use of humor. Let’s not pretend that woman are the problem here, I think rape statistics tell the story.

  15. 16
    Anthea Yeates

    I have had next to hardly any attention from men who you want attention from and all from those you dont.

    Im considered to be attractive, intelligent and good, physically fit physique   and Im often mistaken for being 10 years younger than what I am…but need to rely on online dating. 🙁

    I would love the “nice” men out there to approach me …:) come on fellows!  

  16. 17

    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again, there’s a time and a place. When a woman is walking alone on the street at night, its not the time or the place. If she looks rushed/upset/pre-occupied, its not the time or the place. If she doesn’t want your attention, she’s not an uptight bitch, you shouldn’t tell her you hope she breaks her ankle, you shouldn’t pressure her for your number, or to get in your car, or to cheat on her partner. I say this as a woman who has been regularly harassed on the street for about 3 years. Sometimes a guy hits on me and he’s being nice or sweet and its not bad, even though I’m not on the market. But more often then not men are yelling things about my body, they are asking me to get in their cars, they are cursing at me when I ignore their advances. I’ve been followed in cars alone at night, I’ve been followed to my doorstep. I was followed in the middle of the day while holding my boyfriend’s hand and then assaulted on the street. So I think its a bit simplistic to think this video is about women who are tired of guys they aren’t attracted to hitting on them. Its about actual harassment, which is an act of violence and intimidation.

  17. 18

    My friend and I were at happy hour a couple of weeks ago in a respectable establishment. My friend loves to chat and she started chatting with this one guy and then regretted it because she whispered in my ear that he was arrogant. He had started drinking earlier in the day and was drinking water. We talked a bit to him, but I was busy talking to other people as I found him obnoxious.
    After awhile, he was coming up to my friend and me and hugging us. He put his hand down the waistband of my pants and I slapped him hard on the hand. I walked away to cool off and not pummel him. I told the manager and he said that he would keep an eye on him. He did NOTHING.
    It turns out that 2 of the patrons took care of the guy. One guy felt him up and asked him how he liked it and a woman (who is kind of “mayor” of the place) made him apologize to me. He took off in a crappy car.
    Turns out that he’s a “has been”. He used to be one of a handful of barefoot kickers in the NFL and used to be with a local team in the late ’80’s/early 90’s. This must be why the manager didn’t deal with him because he was “good for business” or in awe of his “former glory”. This bozo is an example of some of these older men who don’t get it and feel entitled. They seem to think that the crappy behavior that they used to get away with at 25 works when they’re 50 something. It is disgusting that some just don’t get it.

  18. 19

    Most women have Changed for the Worst over the years, especially the real Spoiled ones

  19. 20

    Women who think that they get to blame decent, normal men for the behaviors of the worst men alive deserve to be held responsible for the worst behaviors of the worst women on the planet.


    That’s what true sexism is. It’s lumping people together.


    I have no more connection to a catcalling guy than you have to the woman who drowns her kids in the bathtub. I’m not responsible for it, and I don’t owe you anything. I can choose to speak out if I want to, but that’s my choice. When you demand it of me, you are a bad person.

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