This Role-Reversal Experiment Shows Just How Outrageous Everyday Sexism Really Is

04/16/2014 04:40 pm ET | Updated Apr 16, 2014
  • Sarah Barness Huffington Post Trends and Digital Innovation editor. Writer, Artist Extraordinaire

When The Guardian's Leah Green went undercover in London, she was not reporting on breaking news.

Instead, she took a new lens to a centuries-old issue which impacts women all over the world, all the time: casual, everyday sexism.

Many women, regardless of age, race, class or physical attractiveness, experience inappropriate or unwanted attention from men on a daily basis, and describe it as part of their normal life. In this hidden camera social experiment, Green turns the tables to see what happens when a woman projects this same sexist behavior onto men.

Based on real-life encounters tweeted by women to @EverydaySexism, a Twitter feed turned book project that chronicles women's daily experiences with sexism, familiar scenarios are reenacted -- but this time a woman is doing the harassing.

Though the scenes are based on true events, they are tough to watch.

"I hear stories of women being inappropriately spoken to like this all the time," Green writes in a Guardian piece discussing the motivations behind the video. "I personally experience it often. Never, ever, have I heard of a woman being surprised when, for example, she is honked at by a male driver. Scared, perhaps; embarrassed, almost definitely."

The project received mixed response from critics, but Green continues to defend the comedic aspect of the video, saying it is not meant to make light of the issue, but serve as a device to highlight the outrageousness of the behavior.

"By turning the tables we can look at harassment with fresh eyes," she writes. "The men's disbelief mirrors the disbelief we all should still feel when such acts of everyday sexism happen to women; their surprise reminds us this should not be taken as a compliment, or brushed off, or tolerated."

When a male bartender replies "How do you make that?" to Green's request for "a lap dance," the disproportionate effect of casual sexism on women is made abundantly (and yes, hilariously) clear.

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