This article traces a genealogy of sexual harassment in Buenos Aires public transport, analyzing the intersection between gender and mobility through cultural history. It focuses on the first decades of the twentieth century in which the city became a modern metropolis and women became more visible commuters using public transport. It deals with the tensions, interactions, expectations, and representations that emerged from the increasing presence of female passengers within the male imaginary and how women became a sexualized object in order to contextualize sexual harassment and explain how it became a “natural” practice over time. Finally, this article argues that the case study triggers the need to analyze gendered mobilities paying more attention to the relationship between sexuality and transport to understand passengers as sexualized bodies.
Dhan Zunino Singh is a sociologist (University of Buenos Aires) with a PhD in history (University of London) who works on cultural history of urban mobilities, looking at infrastructures and experiences of mobility, particularly in Buenos Aires. He is a research assistant at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) at the National University of Quilmes, Argentina. He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Transport History and vice president of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic, and Mobility (T2M). He lectures master and doctoral seminars on mobility and cities at the University of Buenos Aires. E-mail: email@example.com