While filming a new video in Rome for lingerie brand Isosceles, filmmaker Amy Gwatkin—who was heading up a small, all-female team—noticed a man watching them from a distance, changing position, returning. “When he came too close we asked him, politely, to please move along,” the London-based director explains. “Even without speaking much Italian, it was clear how his protests, which started out defensive, became petulant; then very quickly outright abusive.”
Gwatkin made a record of his unsolicited comments––”Don’t worry girls, I won’t do anything to you”, was one––and you can read a full transcript below.
The encounter sheds a harsh light on the male gaze and on masculine entitlement concerning the female body—demonstrating the risks that women face in authoring and protecting themselves amid a potentially dangerous world. “It left us all a bit shaken and angry,” Gwatkin says, “But I was very pleased to appropriate and re-record his words with Camilila Lacobotti, our make-up artist, who had the perfect voice for it.
“We didn’t let this derail the rest of the day,” she continues, “but there was a certain irony in this encounter. Among the first images I exchanged with Cicely (the designer and creative force behind Isosceles Lingerie) were one of a girl flashing her pants in a fountain in Paris by Roy Stuart. Something about the joyful interplay between exhibitionist and voyeur in his work seemed ideal for the shoot in Rome. But this incident brought into focus the difference between that interplay, having ownership over your body and image, and the one-way street of bring considered an object.”
A TRANSCRIPT OF THE ENCOUNTER
I’m only watching. It’s not against the law to watch. This is a free country / it’s a free country this one I’m staying here, I don’t/wont do anything.
Don’t worry girls, I wont do anything to you. Of course Ill look at you, you are so beautiful.
Girls Its against the law to think that a woman is beautiful.
Excuse me if I… Why do you want me to move away/want me to distance myself?
You show me your ass and I’ll watch I know… What problem do you have/whats your problem?
This is the problem with you whores. In reality you like to be watched.
What you are doing is illegal. Don’ t worry girls, I wont do anything to you.
What is this, a porno film?
Of course…It’s possible to see you while you undress/strip.
I’m only looking, it’s not against the law to watch.
You’re disgusting, whore.
This is a free country / it’s a free country this one.
I wont do anything to you. You are so beautiful, girls.
I’m staying here, I’m not doing anything/I wont do anything. Don’t worry girls, I won’t do anything to you.
Excuse me, but if you show me your ass i’ll watch, I’m a man.
Of course I will watch you, you are so beautiful, girls.
It’s against the law to think that a woman is beautiful.
I’m looking, that’s all, I wont do anything to you.
Why do you want me to go away? / why do you want to move away from me?
What is this, a porno film?
You are wh…
Have you finished?
What is your problem?
You are so beautiful, girls.
Prostitutes, whores, letting yourselves be se.. (..en)
You are prostitutes, whores, letting yourselves be seen in the park. What is it, a porn film?
In reality you like to be watched. What you are doing is illegal. You are prostitutes, I should call the police. There a children here. They could see you while you strip/undress. You are disgusting .
…Like this in the park, you should be ashamed, you’re prostitutes .
You should be ashamed, you are prostitutes .