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i had some man yelling at me from his car to smile today as I crossed the street and waited for the traffic light to turn. “..it ain’t that bad!” and he would not stop. (wait, did he know my leg is still cramping from boot camp and that’s why im limping? uh, NO.) im so mad at myself for the fake grin i gave him, just to shut him up. i wanted to say, ‘hey im just curious, do you ever command random men on the street to smile?” literally like 5 steps out the house and it’s “WELCOME to the world OF MEN, where men feel entitled to say whatever they want, to whoever they want!” awesome.
A local Philly submission, cross posted from ihollaback.org, March 13, 2011.
After a clumsy night with my friends that left bruises and scratches on my legs I was walking home with shorts on. An old man said “rough night,” pinched my butt and walked away.
Local Philly user submission on October 27, 2010, submitted to ihollaback.org.
I was going to the movies with my friend and he left his phone in the car, so he asked me to go back to the parking lot to get it while he bought our tickets. So I was walking in the parking lot when a car PACKED with jerks passes by me. And when the car gets beside me, they start slowing down. I was texting this whole time, so I really wasn’t paying much attention to them. Then they start shouting things at me like “HOLLA!” and being very rude and trying to get my attention. At first, I didn’t think they were talking to me. Then a lady who was walking ahead of me with her son finally turned back and shot the guys a look. They thought we were the only ones in the parking lot, but then they noticed the lady looking at them, so they were embarrassed and they sped off. That’s when I finally noticed they were talking to me.
As I passed by the lady she gave me a “those guys are such losers” type of look. I smiled. I think it was very kind of her to do that.
I had my phone in my hand, I wish I would’ve taken a photo of them!
Secretary Clinton’s speech this past Friday at the APEC summit (worth reading/listening in its glorious entirety at that link) calls us to action as individuals to create gender parity in the workforce and global marketplace:
As information transcends borders and creates opportunities for farmers to bank on mobile phones and children in distant villages to learn remotely, I believe that here, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are entering the participation age, where every individual, regardless of gender or other characteristics, is poised to be a contributing and valued member of the global marketplace. …
Now, my husband often says, in making the argument that everyone should be involved, that we don’t have a person to waste. I think that’s true. When it comes to the enormous challenge of our time, to systematically and relentlessly pursue more economic opportunity in all of our lands, we don’t have a person to waste, and we certainly don’t have a gender to waste either. …
So if we are serious about this undertaking, if we really want to achieve parity for women in the workforce, both that they participate and how they participate, then we must remove structural and social impediments that stack the deck against them.
It’s our time to respond to this call – today, not tomorrow or next week, but right now. Hollaback! is about more than just naming street harassment for what it is. Hollaback! is about taking back our right as women and LGBTQ to participate in the public sphere, to leave our homes and go to work (or have a social life) without fear of male-perpetrated violence based strictly on our gender identities. Until the constant threat of verbal assault is removed from every time women and LGBTQ decide which routes they are safe to walk outside their homes, parity in the global marketplace will not be possible.
The anti-street harassment movement is a necessary first step to the actuation of Secretary Clinton’s goal of total inclusion of women in the workforce and economic systems. Join us in removing one layer of social impediments to women and LGBTQ’s parity in the public sphere – spread the word about street harassment and why it’s unacceptable, disenfranchising behavior. And, of course, Hollaback next time you are harassed or see someone harassed.
Local Philly user submission originally posted November 16, 2010 at ihollaback.org.
I was celebrating my birthday at a bar with friends, and over the course of the night many people unknown to me would come up to say hello or to wish me a happy birthday. Near the end of the night, I was sitting in a booth with a male friend when some guy came over to our table. He eyed me and leaned forward, and since his lips were moving I thought he was trying to talk and I couldn’t hear him because of the loud noise in the bar. I also leaned forward, with my finger to my ear, when he reached over, climbing over my friend, and started kissing me, using his free hand to move my face so he could make out with me. I pushed him away and said “no”, but he leaned in again, making kissing gestures. The next time I said “no”, I put my hand in his face. My friend inched closer to me and put his arm around me, hoping to give the guy a hint, but the guy just kept leaning over me. I again put my hand in his face and shouted “no”. He said, “What’s wrong? Do you think I’m a fag? Are you calling me a fag?” I told him he needed to leave, to get away from our table. He got angry and put both hands on our table, and my friend started to get up to confront the guy. One of the bartenders came over just then, and although I couldn’t hear their conversation, I’m pretty sure she had words with him, because a couple minutes later the guy was gone. I was a bit shaken up, and while I appreciate that my friend wanted to defend me, I’m glad I was able to clearly and effectively state “no” for myself.
Local Philly user submission originally posted on March 4, 2011 at ihollaback.org.
I was walking home from work in the dead of winter, and I came to an intersection. The guy driving the pick up truck stopped at the stop sign, and waved me through. As I crossed in front of him, he beeped his truck horn, and I looked at him to see him making a tongue-pass at me. I kept walking, and he rolled down the window and yelled “what’s the matter, bitch? just trying to keep the neighborhood friendly!”
And yet another story…..this happened to me yesterday and I am really shaken up by it.
I was on my way to Kung Fu Necktie to hang out with a friend. I took a cab and had my window rolled down. A homeless man came up to my window and asked me for money. I told him “no, sorry” and he proceeded to PUT HIS HAND THROUGH MY WINDOW. I held up my hand to him and very firmly said “no, don’t do that” and he began to call me “baby” and yell at me. I rolled my window up but we were stuck in traffic and he kept yelling at me. I was very frightened.
Multiple things about this upset me. I have come to accept (though why should I ever have to accept) being harassed while walking, while out with friends, etc..but this was a whole new extreme. I feel completely violated..I can’t even be safe in a cab? While I don’t need a man to protect me, it was very upsetting that the cab driver did NOTHING, he didn’t even say anything to the man.
Something needs to be done about this type of behavior…I wish I had a solution.
King is an educator by trade in Brooklyn, NYC, whose work focuses on women’s empowerment, afro-diasporic arts and multicultural identity. What if street harassment was a crime? In her multidisciplinary show, writer-performer Leah King examines the distinctly New York experience of the “holla” through four Brooklyn women contemplating a new anti-harassment law. King breaks down the show into four separate characters, to reflect multiple personalities and open the dialogue about street harassment into one that is accessible to a diverse audience of women. Her approach has also successfully engaged men in understanding and responding to street harassment.
Meet the characters! The names link to video introductions of each character.
Local Philly user submission originally posted on October 25, 2010 at ihollaback.org.
Yesterday I was walking to the post office, feeling strong and standing up straight, happy to be feeling confident and grounded in my body. I recently moved with my partner to Philadelphia from our home in the Bay area Ca, and am still adjusting to a new city, but yesterday for the first time, I felt at home in my body here.
A man took that from me. He was just a random guy on the street, walking back to his car, but he may as well have knocked me over and kicked me. “Wassup Baby,” he said as he passed me. And then as I tried to speed up he watched me from behind and said “Nice ass.” I felt like every inch of my strength deflated with one breath, I was a puddle on the sidewalk.
I could feel his eyes on my body as I walked away, and I just wanted to disappear, but I couldn’t… So I just froze. I stood there, on the street, waiting to get up the courage to turn around and tell him that was NOT ok to talk to me that way. To explain how much his words cut through me like a knife, making me into a naked shell of myself. I stood there for what seemed like forever, as I heard him get into his car and zoom off. I stood there even after he was gone, ashamed of myself that I could not stand up for myself, for women, for our bodies that are forever under attack.
This was not the first time I had been harassed, but somehow it struck me differently, maybe because I am in a new place and far from home. Why is this ok? Why does this happen everywhere? I am now an adult woman, I don’t dress in a way that invites any attention to my body from strangers. I have a loving and respectful boyfriend who affirms my right to own my body every day, and I feel stronger now than when I got harassed as a teenager or even a few years ago. But yesterday, that man made me feel like nothing anyway. I wish there were more places like this website, where the force and weight of street harassment and all it leads to was acknowledged. How can we create more space for this issue to be recognized for the oppression that it is? I’m still searching. For now, thank you for making this space.
I was standing outside a bar on south street on a Friday night. A man walked by me, grabbed my shoulder and said “how are you doing?” I began to yell at him to “not fucking touch me” but he smiled (THIS is what makes me infuriated, these pigs who think it’s funny or acceptable to grope and harass) as he walked on.
Unfortunately, earlier that night when I was inside these two men started talking to my friends and I. When they left one of them grabbed my ass. I yelled at him to not grab my ass and he said he didn’t…and then proceeded to grab my ass, making sure he got out quickly before I could do anything.
My friend was working the door wanted me to point them out, but I’m glad I at least yelled back. I guess since I am a woman I can’t have a nice night out with my girlfriends at a bar…