In Episode 2, we go “Under The El” in West Philadelphia to start conversations with passers-by about street harassment,“catcalling”, questions of having to grow up too fast, and if the way a woman dresses defines her.

Music by:
The Custodian of Records, A Word From Mr. Furley
PRE, Yesterday
Mr. Lif and Brass Menazeri, Brothaz (Live at KEXP)
MS Cullah, Soul Hip Hop

This project was a collaboration between four graduate students from the University of Pennsylvania (located in West Philadelphia) and four West Philadelphia High School (WPHS) students as part of a class supported by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships entitled: “Social Change Through Participatory Filmmaking”. The class was slightly experimental, as none of us knew exactly what the process would hold, or what the end product would be. By chance, our production group turned out to be all female. In our first meeting as a group, the WPHS students expressed their interest in doing a documentary project about body image, “yerping” (catcalling), harassment, and the pressure to grow up too fast. That’s how Conversations From The Bench was born. We decided as a group that the best way to present these topics was through open discussion, rather than either a “PSA”, or re-enactment style format. Episode 1 focused on the school environment. In Episode 2, we took to the streets and set up at 49th and Market, under the “El”, directly behind the school. The idea was to start conversations directly with the people who these girls encounter on a daily basis, walking to and from school. So with our (Penn students) supervision, the high school students found men and women on the street, and asked them if they catcall, if they get catcalled, how it makes them feel, or how they think women feel when it happens.

posted by Juliet




Conversations From The Bench is a collaborative web-video series addressing important social justice issues in a participatory documentary format. In episode 1, students from University of Pennsylvania and West Philadelphia High School explore the topics of street harassment, “catcalling”, body image, and relationships between genders.

Music by:

Colin Pyrex Sprows, Rhye xx1

McCullah, My Mental Gets Phatter