Men experience catcalling from other side in art exhibit opening for Stampede

A new art exhibit opening Friday in Calgary is designed to give men an idea of what it's like to be catcalled.

Exhibit visitors enter a dimly lit trailer while an audio track plays harassing, sexual comments

Runs until July 16 on Stephen Avenue 0:38

A new art exhibit opening Friday in Calgary is designed to give men an idea of what it's like to be catcalled.

Organizers planned it to open in time for Stampede.

The exhibit, called This Is What It Feels Like, invites participants to enter a dimly lit trailer while an audio track plays.

A total of 117 women in Calgary were surveyed for the exhibit about their experiences with street harassment.

Talia Murchie, 25, offered her own experiences.

"Just the general, 'nice legs,' or 'how ya doing, sweetie,' to really derogatory, like, being followed home," she said. "It just makes you feel awful. Men say it's a compliment. It's not a compliment. It made me feel terrible."

Talia Murchie, 25, was one of 117 women who offered their own experiences to help creators of This Is What It Feels Like, an art exhibit about catcalling. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Muchie said she hopes the installation will "spark conversations" around the issue of harassment.

"By offering things like this, an art installation where people can walk in, they can experience things that have been said first-hand, it almost gives them a way to step inside someone else's shoes and experience it," she said. "Things like this are what's going to create change. It's going to be slow but it has to happen."

The art installation is being hosted by the local non-profit, Next Gen Men.

Organizer Jake Stika says Stampede can be a hyper-sexualized time in the city.

An art installation titled This Is What It Feels Like allows men to experience being catcalled. (Mike Symington/CBC)

"We can elicit empathy and spark a conversation," he said. "And, I think a lot men will say, 'Oh, I've never catcalled,' but if they've sat idly by as their friends have done so, they're just as culpable," he said.

Taylor McMullen, 30, says his experience in the exhibit was humbling.

"To know that people, women, specifically, have to deal with that on a daily basis, doesn't make me feel very good," he said.

The art installation on Stephen Avenue runs until July 16.

With files from Allison Dempster