When she’s bullying him, notes the Mirror, passersby are all stares and giggles. When he’s bullying her, things turn serious. Which is … understandable, isn’t it? It’s all about the size differential. The guy is bigger, presumably stronger, and therefore capable of defending himself if things escalate. The woman might not be. (That’s also why the public takes statutory rape of teenagers much more seriously when the offender is male than female.) That calculus would change depending upon how severe the abuse got, though; if the woman knocked the guy down and then started stomping him or beating him with something, I think you’d see people move in. Shoving him around just doesn’t portend the sort of serious injury that’s easily imagined when a man starts getting grabby with a woman.
There’s a good point in the mix here, though, which they should have done more to draw out. Namely, size isn’t everything to the dynamics of abuse. If you have a man who’s passive, for whatever reason, paired with a woman who’s physically aggressive, their psychological interplay may leave him unable to resist taking a beating even though he’s larger and capable of it. This guy’s getting laughed at because he looks wimpy getting pushed around by his girlfriend but there are, no doubt, men who feel paralyzed in situations like this due to their own personality quirks. He can resist, and yet he really can’t. They’re trying with this PSA to make people more aware of that but I think it gets lost in the gimmicky hidden-camera idea.
Lots of profanity here, so observe your official content warning.