How Being Catcalled in NYC Helped Me Make Art

Empowerment from a place of harsh discomfort.

My body posture would instinctually change the second I encountered men I didn’t know.

It wasn’t until I went home for a few days after my first year of being in NYC that I realized my body posture would instinctually change the second I encountered men I didn’t know. I would hunch over slightly, like I was protecting myself from an oncoming onslaught, and I would adopt a sort of low-eyed scowl-a big departure from my genuinely sunny demeanor. I had started making myself physically and mentally smaller as a defense mechanism to not be seen and acknowledged in public.

The Rob Bliss Creative Video

We’ve all seen it — the woman, strapped with a camera and microphone being harassed on the streets of NYC.

A Song Inspired by the Video

Four years later, I heard Nat Zegree and Eric Holmes’s song “Hey, Beautiful!” inspired by Bliss’s video (from above). I remember feeling the same emotions as when I first saw the video, the driving pop chords and ferocious, smart lyrics blasting through my headphones.

Turning the Song into a Musical Short Film

Greg and I promptly met with Eric, Nat, and director Kenneth Ferrone to craft the visual scope of this song. We added extra characters to Ashley’s journey with the addition of her friends, making Ashley’s song as a call to action, inspiring her friends to call out the harassment they faced that day too.

Upon releasing the video…

Reflecting the Present

And as a producer, I feel it is my duty to share the stories of those who might not otherwise get a seat at the table, and as a woman, I feel privileged to share these stories in the wake of the #metoo and #timesup movements. I was fortunate enough to hear NY Senator Alessandra Biaggi speak at a Women’s Event in NYC a few weeks ago. She is presiding over hearings in Albany, for the first time in over a quarter of a century, calling out fellow senators and staffers in the assembly for sexual harassment in the workplace.

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