“What I really want you to think about, before you open your mouth, is how what you are about to say is going to make me feel.”
This is just one of the many suggestions that the members of the Women’s Bike Messenger Association have for catcallers on the streets. In the organization’s new PSA, Cut the Catcalling, the WBMA members answer the question, “What would you go back and say to your catcaller if you could?” Each woman in the PSA has her own unique way of calling out street harassers for the endless and unnecessary attacks on the safety of female bike messengers.
The WBMA was founded last year by a group of female-identifying couriers who believed that women needed their own personalized space within the bike messenger industry. Kelsey Phillips and her co-workers at Cut Cats, a courier company, were the main proponents for the creation of the PSA.
Phillips chose to pursue a career as a full-time bike messenger just two years. She knew that the job wouldn’t be easy between making deliveries all over Chicago and dealing with the hectic traffic in the city. But Philips had not anticipated the extreme amount of harassment she would be receiving from strangers on the street. As a female bike messenger, Phillips has encountered it all, from standard catcalling to direct and aggressive threats. She hopes that this PSA will encourage others to speak out against street harassment. In an interview with Broadly, Philips states, “It’s been so positive. So many people were just like, ‘I’ve been trying to say this for so long.’ It’s something women messengers feel every day, and putting it into words really spoke to them.”