There's Actually A Scientific Explanation To Why Certain Men Harass Women On The Street

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
Catcalling and street harassment is rampant around the world, and despite occasionally trying to find the humor in such a totally inappropriate and unwanted situation, we also have to acknowledge that the consequences can be disastrous, even violent. Even as awareness of street harassment increases, so does the harassment itself. What gives? Are some men just programmed to act like supreme assholes as soon as they set foot on a city sidewalk? Science says, yes.
There's absolutely no excuse for harassment, but there are probably countless different reasons behind it. According to a new study, some men might simply be doing it because they feel shitty about themselves. Bet you saw that one coming.
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NPR recently reported on a new study from international research group Promundo that examined street harassment in Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. One major finding: Men with secondary-level education or higher were more likely to harass women on the street than men with less education.
Don't worry, it's not education itself that is fueling the douchebag fire. The study's authors explain that these educated men "have high aspirations for themselves and aren't able to meet them" due to their degrees not actually giving them much of a leg up in the real working world (Sound familiar, millennials?) "So they [harass women] to put them in their place. They feel like the world owes them," the authors conclude. How delightful.
This study is certainly limited — it surveyed less than 5,000 men and only within the Middle Eastern countries listed — but the authors strongly believe it has global implications. "We know that street harassment is an issue around the world," Promundo fellow Brian Heilman, who worked on the report, said. "And there are likely similar dynamics at play [on a global scale]."
That said, it's not on us to make dudes feel better about their shitty job prospects. It's on them to start acting like responsible, respectful human beings — whether or not they're in public.
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