Thousands of women in China are posting videos imitating “greasy middle-aged men” in a new online trend drawn from their daily experiences of being sexually harassed.
The video trend began in late April when Fangtouming, an influencer in China, started posting clips pretending to be a man who would cat-call or wolf-whistle at younger women or take their photographs without their consent.
Describing the videos, Fang wrote that she was reclaiming the “female gaze” — a feminist theory that gives agency to women depicted in films, who would otherwise be sexualized.
An in-depth tutorial on how to mimic the stereotypical “greasy” man on the Chinese video platform Bili Bili raked in thousands of views and likes.
“First, raise your eyebrows, keep your eyes half closed and brows frowned,” the user wrote in the video’s description. “Finally, shake your head while biting your tongue, or whistle.”
Users have praised content creators for capturing what women have to deal with on a daily basis. “The imitation is a mirror, forcing men to see who they are and reflect on how they present themselves in daily life, which has been normalized in the collective unconsciousness,” Zhang Nian, a philosophy professor at Tongji University, told Sixth Tone.
Room for Disagreement
Other people see the trend as causing more harm than good –– saying that the viral videos normalize sexual harassment, and may prompt men to inadvertently feel like they hold power over women.
Speaking to Sixth Tone, a gender equality advocate said that the videos will make men think “Is this how I look to others every day? That’s a good thing.”