Catcalling is an experience shared almost universally amongst women. This behavior happens because some men feel that they have a right within the public sphere to comment upon a woman's body and appearance. Many men try to play off their catcalling behavior by proclaiming that they are merely complimenting women and letting them know they find them attractive. However, these actions are often perceived as threatening to the women they are directed at. The Mexican feminist performance group “Hijas de Violencia” or “Daughters of Violence” are calling out the patriarchy and taking a stand.
“The misogyny in this country is super rough, so it’s a risk even to go out in the street,” says Ana Karen, one of the members of Hijas de Violencia. When the catcalling starts, they respond with a rendition of the self produced song, “Sexista Machista.” The song is explicit about how the actions of these men are interpreted by the women they catcall, ‘You just harassed me. I’m doing this because just harassed me.’
In true feminist tradition, they were inspired by their Russian Sisters. The group called Pussy Riot, known for their politically non-commutative displays which bring gender issues to the public stage, served as Hijas de Violencia’s inspiration to use punk music and satire to make a point.
"Normally when we’re doing this, women who are passing by laugh. It’s a party! The women love it. Even men are like that. They laugh too, because the guy is being ridiculed. So the harasser gets humbled because he is the laughing stock of the street."
And while they take a light hearted tone when confronting catcallers, a few men have responded with violent threats to rape or kill them. This does not stop them. Instead they continue to patrol the streets, ruling with ridicule.
“In that moment I feel like I can do whatever I want with them,” says Ana Karen. “They’re mine. They’re in my power.”
The women of Hijas de Violencia show that when women work together to make a stand, they can make an impact. Everyday at Fair Anita we work together with women around the world so that all of us can have a safer and happier future. Together, we are stronger.