Follow TV Tropes


Construction Catcalls

Go To

"Why do builders think that works? As if the woman's going to turn around and be like, "Oh! My future lies with him!! And his huge, round tanned belly!"?"

A scene used countless times in media: Some construction workers are on their lunch break, when all of a sudden a sexy lady struts by the site. Cue the Wolf Whistling and sexual comments. If this behavior towards passersby is probably not as common in Real Life as in fiction, it is nonetheless unfortunately true that sexism and sexual harassment are persistent problems for women actually trying to become construction workers.

It's commonly subverted nowadays by having the workers comment on something else entirely.


Hey Troper, how 'bout some examples with that description!

    open/close all folders 

  • Subverted in an Arby's commercial, where they say nothing after a couple of ladies walk by, while a man holding a bag of Arby's food gets several catcalls such as "Can I get some fries with that shake?".
  • Inverted in a famous commercial for Diet Coke, with a bunch of ladies ogling a construction worker on his lunch break.
  • A Snickers commercial featured construction workers instead saying respectful things to women. The words "You're not you when you're hungry" appear.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Featured prominently in Microwave Massacre, due to the main character being a construction worker.
  • The 1980 film Hardhat and Legs has the protagonists first noticing each other this way.
  • Used in the Mexican film El Crimen del Padre Amaro when the girl Amelia takes Amaro to see the construction site of the new church's hospital, Amaro even lampshades the attention Amelia gets from the workers.
  • In Poltergeist, the construction workers for the new pool, catcall the oldest daughter Dana, she just flips at them.
  • In Drive a Crooked Road, the mechanics' break area at the garage where Eddie works sits slightly below street level, and has large glass window that allow them to see the women passing by on the sidewalk; especially their legs. Any time an attractive woman passes, their will be a barrage of catcalls and lewd comments from the mechanics. Eddie never joins in on the catcalling which earns him ribbing from his workmates.

  • In Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, when Bridget goes to meet her friends, she walks past a construction site. She prepares herself for "lewd catcalls and embarrassing remarks" then feels a "complete arse" for not getting any. On her way back, she walks past them again, and hears a "huge cacophony of appreciative noises". When she turns around to give them a filthy look, she finds out that they're all looking the other way, and one of them had just thrown a brick through the window of a car.
  • Gender Flipped in Robert Merle's novel The Virility Factor, where, after Gendercide killed most of the men in the world, the male protagonist has to deal with catcalling female construction workers, who eventually assault him sexually.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a group of Muggle construction workers whistle and call at Hermione when she appears on the street in a fancy dress. They are implied to do this to every woman that walks by; the disappearance of their yells foreshadows an imminent attack.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Used in an episode of The Thin Blue Line, where the woman is Sergeant Patricia Dawkins and winds up getting so irritated she arrests the lot of them for harrassment.
  • On season 7 of Diff'rent Strokes, Mr. Drummond's new wife makes fun of him going out to a construction site (he's dressed as a construction worker), saying he'll be catcalling "Hey, chickie baby!". It made the opening credits montage.
  • On one episode of Malcolm in the Middle, one student in Malcolm's school gets in trouble for writing a short story about a woman who dies in a hit and run accident after failing to heed one construction worker's warning of the oncoming vehicle, since she learned to ignore their catcalls. It's all because of one catcall that Malcolm failed to remove or censor, and as punishment, the principal cancels all extracurricular activities.
  • Jerry discusses this in his stand-up act in the Seinfeld pilot, when he talks about how men have no idea what women want. "Men know what men want, what do we want? We want women, that's it! It's the only thing we know for sure, it really is: we want women. How do we get them? Oh, we don't know 'bout that, we don't know. The next step after that we have no idea. This is why you see men honking car-horns, yelling from construction sites. These are the best ideas we've had so far."
  • In the Sex and the City episode "The Drought", Miranda is frustrated because she hasn't had sex for months. Eventually, she confronts a catcalling construction worker:
    Worker: Where are you goin', doll? I got what you want. I got what you need.
    Miranda: You talking to me?
    Worker: We got a live one, boys.
    Miranda: You got what I want? You got what I need? Well, what I want is to get laid. What I need is to get laid. I need is to get laid!
    Worker: Take it easy, lady. I'm married.
    Miranda: All talk and no action, huh?
  • In Green Wing, Joanne walks back and forth past a group of workers, trying to grab their attention, each time acting more and more "sexy". She decides to flash them in the end.
  • On Get a Life, Chris starts hanging out with construction workers and learning their ways - as they catcall ladies walking by, he chimes in to one "Yeah! Eat that cheese, lady!" She walks up to him and knees him in the groin, to the great amusement of the others.
  • Used in an A Current Affair segment on a weight loss treatment: reporter Brady Halls stated that not so long ago, this would never have happened to the women in question. The Chaser's War on Everything called them out for basically sending the message, "Get dieting now, ladies, here's your chance to be wolf-whistled by seedy men!"
  • On Charmed, Paige is dressed up and given a tray of baked goods in order to distract a group of construction workers. Piper makes a point of undoing an extra button on her blouse before sending her out.
  • Doug tries to coerce some workers into doing this to Carrie on The King of Queens.
  • Lily Tomlin leads a seminar on how to Gender Flip the activity in a season 1 sketch of Saturday Night Live, with Dan Aykroyd as the target.
    • Another sketch had a bunch of construction workers doing this, but Daniel Craig's comments were all incredibly bizarre. His apparent Freudian Excuse is that his father, also a construction worker, was killed by a woman he catcalled at.
  • One episode of 30 Rock has Liz get accousted by a roadside worker, whose vulgar remarks are covered up by the sound of a jackhammer. Liz's response is also covered, except for when she says "Infected penis!"
  • An All in the Family episode has Gloria experiencing this, but things take a darker turn when the catcalling escalates to an Attempted Rape (all of which happens offscreen prior to the start of the episode).
  • Spoofed a couple of times in The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in regards to a video a woman made of herself getting catcalled all day. He had no idea so many men did that; he thought it was just "construction workers and cartoon wolves." He refers to it again when he compares it to Ted Cruz getting harassed in New York. "Even the construction workers are like "Hey, Ted Cruz! Show me that pretty smile, baby! (cue Cruz's infamous creepy smile) AAAAAAGH! NEVER MIND, NEVER MIND!"
  • In Younger, Liza is riding a bike when a construction worker calls out "Wish I was that seat!" This distracts Liza so much that she crashes into a car.
  • Parodied in this Mad TV sketch where the construction workers in question pay no attention to the women attempting to be catcalled.
  • Strong Medicine's Lu gets this and in true Straw Feminist style, tells them all off and asks them how they would feel if someone were talking to their wife/girlfriend/sister/daughter/mother like that.
  • One episode of Mad About You has a Jamie reduced to a Towel Of Modesty going by a construction site and hearing "Hey mama! Nice cookies", which angers her and leads to an angry tirade... before she notices the mother of one of the workers, who brought cookies for the whole group.

    Puppet Shows 

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • In a 2005 stand-up, comedian Lee Evans pointed out how ridiculous he found this trope (see page quote), and then added that that's how he thinks Tom Cruise manages to get women: by cat-calling them on top of a balcony in a sequence similar to Romeo and Juliet.

    Video Games 
  • The "Deconstruction" mission of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has C.J.'s sister Kendl complaining about the people of a local construction site hassling her and calling her a hooker. C.J. takes this badly. Very badly. Chase the foreman into a port-a-potty, dump the port-a-potty into a pit, and fill the pit with concrete badly.
  • Parodied in Psychonauts; one Paper-Thin Disguise used by the G-Men of the Milkman Conspiracy level is that of a construction worker and he says, "Look at that woman's breasts. They're large."
  • Done by the construction worker ghosts in Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Oddly, even when no women are present and it's just the male Ghostbusters.

    Web Animation 
  • asdfmovie11 has this golden scene:
    Construction Worker: Hey baby, you lookin' fine!
    Actual Baby: [in similar gruff manly voice] Eyy thanks Jerry, you too.
  • Bad Days: Wonder Woman gets catcalls from construction workers the moment she transforms. She responds to the annoyance by taking them all out with her tiara.

    Web Comics 
  • This happens in this Palindramas strip. Except that, in order to make it a palindrome, the construction workers have to be numbers.
  • Sinfest: Monique decides that she craves attention, and so wanders by a construction site (marked "High Testosterone Area"). This being Sinfest, it's she who makes the demeaning comments, then gleefully runs from the resulting barrage of construction equipment.
  • El Goonish Shive has this happen in the first few pages of Title Pending. The commentary makes it clear that the stereotypical depiction was completely intentional.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • On episode "Today I Am a Clown", Homer gains a new talk show. We see some workers watching the show while on break, and as a lady walks by the site, one worker proceeds to hit on her. However, he's just recommending Homer's show.
    • Discussed in the episode "Brother From Another Series". Sideshow Bob is given a construction job on a dam by his brother, and sarcastically asks if it will be his job to lead the "hooting". "Oh, yah! Shake it, madame! Capital knockers!"
  • On Family Guy, Peter once mentioned working as a construction worker in a Cutaway Gag, but could never get the catcalls right, telling one woman "You suck!".
  • On Transformers Animated, the Constructicons like to do the nearest Transforming Mecha equivalent by catcalling at hot sportscars
  • On King of the Hill episode "Square-Footed Monster" which is about Ted Wassonasong building a mansion within the main characters' block, Bobby and Joseph hang out with the construction workers, and they all make catcalls to a woman passing by.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Sonic Rainboom" has a scene where some pegasus construction workers gawp at Rarity's magically-granted butterfly wings.
  • Parodied in the Cow and Chicken episode "Chicken Lips", where Chicken sees some female construction workers whistling at a muscular guy.
  • An episode of Beavis and Butt-Head opens with this. Beavis and Butt-Head admire their ability to talk to women.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, there is an episode where three LEGO construction workers appear to be hitting on any woman that passes by and mocking everyone else. In truth, they are so socially inept that their sincere compliments come off as lecherous or mean—for instance calling one woman "sweetie" and another "cupcake" because they were literally a lollipop and a cupcake respectively. When Gumball tries to give them tips on how to be friendlier in their approach, it turns into the kind of lewd street harassment associated with construction workers and gets worse from there.
  • In The Fairly OddParents special "Abra-Catastrophe", after Bippy the monkey wishes the Earth was ruled by apes and monkeys, a group of construction worker gorillas do this to a female gorilla walking past their site, hooting wildly.
    Lady Gorilla: (angrily shaking her fist) KNOCK IT OFF! What are you, a bunch of HUMANS?!
    Construction Gorilla: (offended) Hey! Who are you callin' a human?!


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: