We’ve just celebrated International Women’s Day when it is customary for our social media feeds to start filling with messages of female empowerment. But obviously, celebrating being a woman should not happen merely on an annual basis. And what is more, the joy over how far we’ve come should not eclipse the work that still has to be done. We need more awareness about issues of intersectional feminism in our day-to-day lives. One such issue is the fact that womxn still cannot always feel safe in the streets of Berlin. “I’M BORED”, a short film by Chelsea Herbert and Alex Newton, is an honest and ultimately hopeful reflection on street harassment by a girl who’s grown tired of it.
Alex Newton, who directed the video, thus explained the idea behind it on his IG profile, Tall Guy Pictures: “A couple of years ago me and my pal Chelsea were throwing some ideas around for a short film project we could work on together. Though we got as far as doing a bit of filming we never managed to settle on a concept that we were both entirely happy with. Then one day, Chelsea was being harassed by a couple of guys on her way home from the gym – something that wasn’t an irregular occurrence. Frustrated, she sent me a monologue, in voice message form, describing how bored she was with having these experiences of street harassment. She wasn’t angry, nor particularly upset, just… bored.”
In the short film, whimsical shots of Berlin are intertwined with the uncomfortable scene of Chelsea struggling to end an awkward conversation with a man who obstinately tries to continue it – a scenario that’s all too familiar for a lot of womxn out there. We also hear the entirety of Chelsea’s monologue, which lists just a few of the many ways that womxn are impacted by the very real threat of harassment, such as “having to instantly check my body language so I don’t look super vulnerable when a guy approaches me in the street” or “walking down the street with my hand in my pocket on my keys in case I need to whip them out.”
“I’m Bored” does end on a positive note, though. As Chelsea Herbert explained in a quote published by Newton: “I’m optimistic for the future, and slowly but surely we are seeing change.” But for that change to really happen, we need to both engage in conversations about such topics and as Chelsea Herbert and Alex Newton both urge, recognize such behavior in real life.