Update: VisitPhilly.com says they’re looking into the billboard problem – make sure they resolve it!

Thanks so much to the 73 of you who have already signed the petition, and thank you for spreading the word through Twitter and Facebook. Please help us inspire VisitPhilly.com to take positive action in response to this billboard, don’t let them just wait out the momentum of our anger. Today was the broad street run – so thousands of people were exposed to the “Hey walking this way” billboard today alone.

If anyone doubts the intention behind the billboard, you need look no further than an ad (to the right) they had up during Summer 2010 encouraging men to ogle women on our streets and sidewalks. A number of people commented back in 2010 mentioning the disrespect and “smarminess” of this older ad’s message.  This ad, together with the current billboard, clearly demonstrates a pattern of sexist advertising.  VisitPhilly.com was on notice back in 2010 about their sexist ad, and they acted again anyway. Help us tell them loud and clear that it needs to stop now.

We didn’t launch this petition without first attempting to reach out to VisitPhilly.com to reach a peaceful resolution. We even hoped to collaborate on future, positive local advertisements. We sent an email, and after a week of not hearing from them, we called. The telephone conversation ended with their refusal to remove this billboard before the contract ran out, and refusal to put up a new billboard to counteract the damage done by this one.

So, we launched a Change.org campaign to demand that they respond. After 25 signatures and a handful of Tweets to their Twitter account (@VisitPhilly), this Twitter conversation happened: 

Please stand by us, keep the pressure up, and let them know we won’t take this lying down. We can’t let VisitPhilly.com remove the billboard quietly. It’s  been screaming at us all for weeks from its prominent position on Broad Street, and  we deserve to see a different message for a few months,  shouting  out love and support to balance things out. Sign the petition and spread the word. Help us make Philadelphia a city of respect, not harassment; a city that values the safety of its streets and its citizens.

 

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5 Responses

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  1. Heather says:

    Wow. I am sad that my feminist fire has taken me to higher flight since I’ve moved away from my beloved Philly. I was always a staunch advocate for anti-street harassment and loved when I learned of this movement. Keep up the amazing work. If I STILL lived there I would be picketing somewhere. These billboards are NOT cool and are encouraging objectification. We all deserve to walk down the street without being afraid of an onslaught of commentary and disrespect. Thanks for all the work you do!!!

  2. [...] starting to get annoyed by the typeface.” We’ll take the latter, please, but over at philly.ihollaback.org, well, they’ve taken a different approach. And while we support Hollaback’s general [...]

  3. Lewin says:

    Obviously there are “bigger fish to fry”. The serious effort put into fighting something like this could most likely be better spent elsewhere, but besides all that; it’s fact that all straight Philly men enjoy the spring time “eye candy” you beautiful ladies of our city offer us.

    Ladies, it’s called nature, you’re hot and we’ve been programed to look at you as much as you’ve been programed to “dress to impress” us.

    I mean come on really…when the sun and the skin come out, I promise you, we would notice even without the BillBoard.

  4. Heather says:

    Lewin:

    I hear you, you enjoy looking at beautiful women. So do many people, regardless of sexual orientation (sorry, but it’s not just straight men :), which is why a standard of beauty is used to sell products, services, lifestyles, etc. But this doesn’t make this street harassment (in egregiously gender limiting language) okay, in any form. Plus I think we’re mising the larger point here that this is a really low selling point for a city of such cultural and historical significance. Secondly, so many individuals refuse to understand how horrible it feels to be physically appraised and to endure unsolicited commentary. It’s dehumanizing and objectifying and it doesn’t make anyone feel good. Regardless of whether or not the intentions are odious or innocuous, it still sucks. Street harassment is never ok.

  5. [...] Hollaback!’s Philadelphia site, I was alerted to the recent advertisement from the masterminds at VisitPhilly.com. A billboard [...]

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