In the window of a gallery in San Francisco’s Mission district, Mirabelle Jones paced the enclosed space in nothing but nude underwear. Razor blades suspended from balloons hung just over her head. In this pink-tinted, claustrophobic exhibition, the San Francisco performance artist stripped down and endured a barrage of real (recorded) catcalls. For eight hours.
The idea behind the exhibition To Skin A Catcaller is to change what we see when we hear the term “catcall.” Street harassment isn’t the clichéd image of a construction worker whistling at a woman in a skirt suit and pumps. It’s walking from one place to the next in fear because a strange man said something rude to you, threatened violence, or started to follow you. Or it could be any other of the disturbing experiences reported by the hundreds of women who responded to Jones’s survey about sexual harassment on the streets of San Francisco.