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Have you seen the new bus shelter at 16th and JFK? With a welcoming message, it lets visitors to Philly know that our city takes pride in its streets and that street harassing behaviors are not tolerated here.
HollabackPHILLY, a project of Feminist Public Works, designed this ad in response to a large billboard that GPTMC, Philadelphia’s tourist marketing company, ran as part of its VisitPhilly campaign in 2012. That summer, HollabackPHILLY protested the placement of GPTMC’s enormous street-harassing billboard on the side of a parking garage in a prominent location in Center City.
The billboard (pictured above), said “Dear Walking This Way: I like the way you move it move it. With Love, Philadelphia XOXO.” GPTMC justified this ad by saying that is is a play on a lyric from the song “I Like to Move It” from Madagascar 2. HollabackPHILLY, however, pointed out that there is a significant difference between “I like to move it move it” (a person having fun dancing) and “I like the way you move it move it” (unwanted commentary on passersby).
It also quickly became obvious that this was not GPTMC’s first ad to “accidentally” promote street harassing behaviors. Check out this example from 2010:
GPTMC refused to remove the “Walking This Way” billboard, stating that it was set to come down soon, but they did agree to meet with HollabackPHILLY to discuss the issue. The meeting resulted in an offer by GPTMC to work with HollabackPHILLY on the design and placement of a welcoming ad. However, despite multiple attempts by the HollabackPHILLY team to contact GPTMC following this meeting, they were unresponsive.
Disappointed but unfazed, the HollabackPHILLY team decided to incorporate a new spin on GPTMC’s offensive “Dear Walking This Way” ad into its April 2014 anti-street harassment ad campaign. The new ad (which had previously been proposed to GPTMC) reads: “Dear Walking This Way: Welcome to the city of brotherly love (and sisterly affection). Our streets are your streets. With love (and respect), Philadelphia XOXO. PS: #ENDSH.” This new ad was specifically designed to show – despite past mistakes by our city’s tourism marketing company – that Philadelphia is proud to be making steps in the right direction to make sure that all people walking its streets feel safe and comfortable.
HollabackPHILLY welcomes your thoughts on this ad, and its entire 2014 campaign.
I was crossing Broad St in the crosswalk. Even though I had a walk signal, a cabby was mad because he couldn’t turn on red with a person in the crosswalk. He leaned on his horn and gave me the finger out of the window. When I got to the other side of the street (before the light had changed to green) he yelled out of the cab that I was a dumb fat bitch who needed to walk faster, then he flicked me off again and spat at me. A man who saw the whole thing still got into this man’s cab and they drove away.
I was waiting for the bus to go home, right off of temple campus at 12th and oxford and a white van jam packed with people in it beeps at me and I assume it’s because I’m on the edge of the curb so I step back. Wrong. Almost every man in that van started to yell, wave kiss and stick their tongues out at me. Tired of being catcalled when I’m trying to get home.
Walking from 69th street terminal up west Chester pike RIGHT ACROSS FROM POLICE STATION a man in an old great Honda pulls up next to me and asks to use a lighter. Upon looking up from my feet I realize this man has his pants down and is rubbing his gross dick.. after he witnessed my utter disgust and shock, he drove off.. with the satisfaction of getting the reaction he desired.
I had just come out of my bodega and walked across the street towards my house. An older (50+) came up to me and said “I’ve been with white women…” I practiced my safest reaction, dirtiest side glance, and kept walking. He was almost standing right in front of my door while I tried to unlock it and said “yeah, I’ve been with A LOT of white women” while he tried to open my house door further. I pulled it shut behind me and locked it.
I was on my break at work and a group of 20-30 year old men cornered me and said “damn look at this fine ass motherfucking bitch. Give me your number, lil mama. We can hangout and mess around a little” and they wouldn’t let me walk away for at least five minutes even when I told them to
Cross-Posted from GeeksForCONsent, originally published on April 14, 2014.
Sexual harassment and groping at comic conventions is a serious problem that has received increased attention in recent months. Awesome Con, a crowdfunded, by-the-fans, for-the-fans convention, responded to reported harassment at their first convention last year by creating an anti-harassment policy and procedures for dealing with harassment, training their volunteers, and partnering with GeeksForCONsent to provide an in-house, trauma-informed team to provide resources to attendees.
Unlike harassment in public spaces, conventions are private events. There are rules in place, and they should extend to include and address harassment. GeeksForCONsent (affiliated with HollabackPHILLY) is a safe haven for victims of convention related harassment to build community and organize to influence conventions to improve and enforce anti-harassment policies.
The team has collected stories at conventions across the U.S., revealing that con harassment encompasses crude comments, sexual requests, physical harassment, unpermitted and sexually explicit photographs (upskirt shots, “creeper shots”, etc) and misuse of photographs on social media. This harassment leaves cosplayers feeling objectified and humiliated. Despite this, most mainstream conventions continue to resist instituting specific policies designed to hold harassers accountable. Their inaction leaves the targets of harassment feeling even more vulnerable and discouraged.
“We are excited to partner with a forward thinking convention who, not immune to harassment itself, decided to do something about it this year,” said Erin Filson, Creative Director of GeeksForCONsent, of their partnership with Awesome Con DC this weekend (April 18-20). “We worked with Awesome Con to train their volunteers to respond to harassment situations, and will be on hand to provide resources and support to anyone who is harassed, or wants to talk about harassment they’ve experienced at other, less-progressive conventions.” GeeksForCONsent will have a prominent table in Artist Alley, where they will share anti-harassment resources, assist volunteers, and provide a safe space for con-goers to share stories.
The GeeksForCONsent team’s efforts include auditing convention harassment policies, determining whether or not those policies are enforced, and especially focusing on whether volunteers are trained/equipped to deal with reports of harassment. The end goal is not to criticize conventions, but to work together to come up with a comprehensive plan to actually create these conventions as safer spaces.
To learn more about their efforts, or to join them at conventions, visit GeeksForCONsent.org, or email GeeksForCONsent@gmail.com
Director, Geeks for CONsent
About Geeks for CONsent:
As experts in dealing with harassment, training women and LGBTQ folks in coping and responding to harassment, and training people how not to harass, the GeeksForCONsent team has been conducting workshops on gender-based harassment and better ways of communicating with each other in public for over 3 years. The GeeksForCONsent team spread the Cosplay =/= CONsent message by tabling at Wizard World Philadelphia in 2013 and Locust Moon Fest 2013; presenting a panel at GeekGirlCon 2013; and interviewing cosplayers at Baltimore Comic Con 2013, Boston Comic Con, MicExpo and New York Comic Con 2013. Cosplayers have signed petitions, sent in photographs, and provided video testimony of their comic-con harassment experiences – all empowering our mission to hold conventions accountable for making their conventions safe and inclusive spaces for EVERYONE in attendance. Our training manual is being used to train all the Awesome Con 2014 volunteers – and GeeksForCONsent will be the in-house anti-harassment team at the convention.no comments
I was walking to the bus from work a short walk from 16th and walnut to 15th and JFK. They followed me from Starbucks trying to get my attention by calling me names and commenting on my body. It was a group of 4 young men in their early 20s like me. I ignored them then they followed me the longer I ignored them and kept walking the harsher the names. They then began throwing quarters and change at my back and head as I was walking. They stopped following when I was able to get in the bus.