Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
Have you have ever been curious about using “personal safety products” to protect yourself from street harassers? We have an event for you!
Join Hollaback! Des Moines for a product presentation and safe-space discussion of personal safety products, co-sponsored by Damsel in Defense!
Tuesday, August 6 from 6-8 p.m.
1611 11th Street
Des Moines, Iowa
The event will feature a demonstration, as well as a raffle and silent auction, of Damsel in Defense products, with proceeds benefiting Hollaback! DSM. Hollaback leaders will be on site to facilitate a safe space discussion of using PSP’s in the event of street harassment. There is no purchase necessary to attend this event–everyone is welcome to come learn and discuss!
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or RSVP on our Facebook page!
I had wanted to see a movie tonight. I had to change my plans because I was supposed to baby-sit. I shouldn’t have cleared my schedule, because the woman whose kids I was supposed to baby-sit never called me. I sat at home for a while, waiting for her call. Anyway, I decided to ride my bike to the grocery store at about eight o’ clock. I couldn’t go two miles without being yelled at or honked at. Shouting “let’s see some titties” only makes me hate you.
by Becca Lee
We are officially ONE WEEK AWAY from the first-ever HOLLA::Revolution, a 1-day anti-street harassment conference being held at New York University! The conference is featuring TED-talk type speeches from international Hollaback! site leaders, including founder and Executive Director Emily May, Ottawa’s Julie Lalonde, Philadelphia’s Rochelle Keyhan, and many more, as well as some heavy-hitters in the feminist world: Jennifer Pozner, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Jamia Wilson, Nicola Briggs, and still more! Yes, this is a day dedicated to channeling some major energy against street harassment, and the best part is….
I GET TO BE THERE!
Yee haw, this little ole Iowan gal gets to pal around with Hollaback peeps in Hollaback’s very own birthplace, the Big Apple! New York City, baby!
Needless to say, I’m excited.
Perhaps more needless to say…my mother is freaking out. Because of the pimps and shit.
Going to an anti-harassment conference = panic over harassment that could happen in transit. Oh, the irony!
I don’t share really personal stuff all that often, but this seems relevant. To be very clear: my mom is a HUGE Hollaback supporter, and on any other day, she could not be more proud of this little loudmouth she’s raised. (And she’s still beaming with pride, that’s not the point.) But she’s also a mom–a good one–who has raised her daughter in a world that is saturated with harassment and rape culture. What does any good parent do? You protect your kid from what threatens to harm them.
My not going could protect me….potentially. But my going is what will protect my daughter, and your daughter, and your gay brother, and your transgender niece, and people you will never even know exist in the future, but who deserve to be safe.
(And obviously, staying in Iowa, the good ole Midwest, has not protected me anyhow, or else Hollaback! Des Moines would never have been born under my co-leadership.)
Parental fears are natural, but they also prove exactly why it is we need this HOLLA::Revolution. Everyone takes safety into account when they travel, sure, that’s a given. But when our fears are specifically for our daughter, who is traveling alone to a large city that looms with threats of sexual violence and minimal protections (particularly while in transit), the solution is all the more to let her go.
A moment free from worry that your kid will be groped on a subway = happy, supportive momma!
I read all our blogs, all our submissions, from across the world. I know that harassment in New York City is very real. But I also know harassers want you to stay inside, to think twice before you move through public space. They want you to plan your day, and your life, in consideration of their power.
I defy the threats of violence and your rape culture. If some creep shouts at me next Thursday, I will gladly stride past, knowing his days are limited because in a week, or a year, or ten years–sometime soon–the sound of the revolution will forever silence the destructive, oppressive forces that currently cheer him on.
Don’t believe me? There are currently more than 60 cities on a waiting list to join the Hollaback movement. When they all launch, we will effectively double our numbers. Oh yes–oh fucking yes–we are turning up in droves against the “pimps and shit” who haunt our mothers’ nightmares.
Neither your silence, nor your stillness, nor your “safe” city will protect you. Who will protect you are your sisters, and brothers, waiting with open arms to join you in solidarity. Hopefully you find some of these people in your own hometown, but other times you need to venture out. Brave uncharted flights, streets, and train stops, because perhaps the act of going to the revolution is a revolution in itself.
by Becca Lee
I love music, I love feminism, and dammit if I don’t hate it when the two don’t come together. Unfortunately, this perpetual tension is way more common today than I could thoroughly relay here (but see exhibits Robin Thicke, the music video industry, and I don’t know, EVERYTHING ELSE to start). I think I’ve more or less just come to expect it from modern day Top 20 hits. But then, I have to say I’m still sometimes a little bit shocked/peeved when I realize I’ve been be-bopping along to “classic oldies” that turn out to be nothing but woman-degradin’, rape culture-perpetuatin’, street harassin’ tunes. This weekend, I woke the hell up to one.
They singer/songwriter in question: Roy Orbison, folks. Sweet charmer whose creamy lyrics made Julia Roberts’ famous strut down Rodeo Drive all the more memorable? Or really a slimebag weasel who can’t take a hint?
I am of course talking about the song “Oh, Pretty Woman,” and it’s pretty stunning I never noticed before. I mean, check this shit out:
Pretty woman, walking down the street
Pretty woman, the kind I’d like to meet
I don’t believe you, you’re not the truth
No one could look as good as you
Classic scene. Poor lady is just doing her thing, out for a walk, headed for Noneyabusiness. Some guy comes along thinking he’s special and starts laying on the perv vibes. Just another day in lady-paradise.
Does Julia look like she has time for this asshat? Nope.
Then it really gets going:
Pretty woman, won’t you pardon me
Pretty woman, I couldn’t help see
That you look lovely as can be
Are you lonely just like me
Pardon you? There’s no pardon for harassment. She knew she looked lovely even before she started rockin’ that hat, so you can save it. And that growl? Sexy in a song, perhaps. On the street, not so much.
Not an invitation, Roybison.
But sigh. It continues:
Pretty woman, stop a while
Pretty woman, talk a while
Pretty woman, give your smile to me
Loser, she has places to be, and she smiles because she’s happy, not on your command. Stop and talk to a creepy stranger late at night on the street? Or even in the middle of the day? Hell to the no. Move out her way.
But he doesn’t:
Pretty woman, look my way
Pretty woman, say you’ll stay with me
‘Cause I need you, I’ll treat you right
Come with me baby, be mine tonight
Pretty woman, don’t walk on by
Pretty woman, don’t make me cry
This is getting pathetic. And if I were this woman, I’d be a little terrified by his persistence. I think that’s the part that’s most disconcerting, that here is how the song then ends in dudebro Roy’s harassment-is-sexy fantasy land:
Pretty woman, don’t walk away, hey…okay
If that’s the way it must be, okay
I guess I’ll go on home, it’s late
There’ll be tomorrow night, but wait
What do I see
Is she walking back to me
Yeah, she’s walking back to me
Hold the fuck up. So in the last verse, not only do we learn that our singer is a repeat offender (“There’ll be tomorrow night,” AKA more chances to harass women), but then she starts walking back. The implication is that Mr. So-Smooth-Not-Really has wooed her with his crooning melodies and animal noises, so she has no choice but to go to him. I bet he pictures something like this:
GUH-ROSS. And unrealistic. ”Oh yeah, you like how I walk? You think I’m pretty? I’M YOURS!” …said no one ever.
Newsflash, Roy. In the age of the revolution, she is headed back to HOLLABACK in your face. It looks more like this:
WORK IT, JULIA. POWER TO THE BITCH FACE.
Do you think Roy Orbison was really a scum-sucking harasser in disguise? Do you know any other golden oldies packing age-old sexist bullshit in a jukebox candy wrapper? Call that shit out in the comments!
by Alysa Mozak
Why are we still debating if women’s clothing and personal behavior holds them responsible if they get sexually harassed or assaulted?
The feminist movement has done EVERYTHING to make this issue a top priority–from mass messaging and grassroots efforts to strategic policy and laws (hello, Rape Shield Law!). Yet it has and is still being severely undermined and challenged by political backlashes and media messaging that influences the everyday consumer (not to mention the vulnerable populations they purposefully market to, like adolescent girls). This makes me more and more motivated to continue the conversations, like the wonderfully written piece by Bitch Media writer Shira Tarrant, in order to ‘right the wrongs.’
In Tarrant’s piece called “The Great Cover-up,” featured in the Winter 2008 issue of Bitch, she is right on in her argument defending women’s right to sexual agency. (By the way, if you have never read a full issue of Bitch, go NOW and grab a copy and support their work, as they are one of the only feminist nonprofit magazine companies providing thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture!) Tarrant stomps out the myths surrounding female modesty and purity movements that use the guise of ‘female empowerment’ but oddly enough subject females to a standard that blames them for their sexuality and freedom to express it. THIS is what the WHOLE Sexual Revolution was founded on; why again are we still fighting? Yet Tarrant writes:
The modesty movement is at its heart an essentialist one: Men are sexual brutes, and women must keep them in line with crossed legs and high necklines. (Not surprisingly. Girls Gone Mild and Modestyzone don’t bother to ask what effect the mod/slut binary has on young lesbians.) Its justifications keep women’s bodies and women’s sexuality—especially young women’s sexuality— at the core of female identity. Forget about focusing on achievement, dreams, and education (although the modesty movement claims that by removing pressure to hook up, they are providing this opportunity for young women).
I wish I could say that this blatant hypocrisy is rare, but it seems like it is being packaged into nice little ‘empowerment’ gifts to women of all ages in our culture in various settings, everything from church groups to corporate businesses. These efforts to co-opt feminism, to lure women into becoming ‘real revolutionaries against sexism’ are actually coercive in their framing and reiterate the whole notion that women are personally responsible for self-policing their sexuality. As Tarrant states, “they are exclusively about female modesty, and say nothing about male entitlement,” and to force the message of modesty onto women is not helping. Messages of “modesty” will never deter our culture from seeing women as a commodity or minimize the male gaze, especially when that message is soooo ingrained in our culture!
Instead we need to keep fighting on a conscious-raising level to honor all of what our former feminist sisters (and brothers) have done to shift cultural thinking away from policing women’s sexuality. Blaming the feminist movement for “pressuring young women into wearing short skirts and having casual sex” is just asinine people, just asinine!
Hollaback! Des Moines site leaders celebrated National Pride Month this past weekend at Capital City Pride in Des Moines’ downtown East Village! If you didn’t make it to the event, or have never been to a Pridefest, you definitely missed out. Pride Festival is:
a group of proactive individuals who are striving to recognize the importance of gay culture in the Midwest. The annual Pride celebration, held the second weekend in June every summer, consists of a street party, a parade, and a show with all types of community exhibitors and musical performances! Our mission is to promote acceptance, tolerance, and understanding of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community through education, programming, and visibility. For more information, visit http://www.capitalcitypride.org/about.html
There we talked with LGBTA folks and allies from around the state (and beyond!) about what we can do to end all forms of harassment. We also talked to some particularly awesome young folks (ages ranging 5 to 12) about how they would Hollaback! against a harasser or bully. Their responses were both empowering and endearing:
More tips on how to respond to a harasser.
We also talked about bystander intervention — specifically what folks should say/do if they see someone else being harassed. These bright young minds were ready with their answers!
For more information on bystander intervention, check out our resource “Five Ways to Take Action.“
So there you have it! But keep in mind — harassment doesn’t stop with youth, and we need YOUR story–no matter who/how old you are– to help end street harassment. Submit now!
I was walking across 31st and Carpenter at around 9:30 pm when a man in a car began verbally harassing me with comments such as “Hey sexy” and telling me to stop walking, as he and his buddy could show me a “good time.” As I kept walking, the car turned around and followed me into the parking lot I had stepped into. I don’t know what happened to the car following this, as I took out my cell phone and ran to my apartment. I legitimately feared for my own safety, and hope that this will not happen to other women crossing this intersection.