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While our launch party this past May seemed like a fun, festive occasion, with a great outpouring of local support for our comic and our CONsent project, some people were harassed by someone who was not only at the event, but who purchased a comic and showed support for the anti-harassment cause. Our entire comic-con anti harassment movement is geared towards shifting the culture of conventions and comic book stores to be inclusive of more than just straight male fans. Part of that inclusive culture means firm responses and zero-tolerance policies toward gender-based harassment.
Now that things have settled down from the release party, and we have brought the issue to the attention of Locust Moon who reiterated they have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment, we want to share the story with you all from beginning to end.
Anonymous’ Story: First off, I had a great time at your event last night. You all were so pleasant and your cause is one that has my full support. Oh, and the comic is awesome! It really exceeded my expectations.
Unfortunately, that’s not why I’m contacting you. I’m contacting you because a friend sent me this: http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/mis/3830982425.html which is clearly about me. [Anonymous requested the post be removed, which Craigslist actually honored. So we’ve attached a screenshot]
At first, I thought it was really funny, maybe a joke. But the more I think about the sad irony of attending an event to end harassment and winding up on Craigslist’s missed connections, the angrier I get. If it’s the guy I think it is, I literally spoke one sentence to him. He seemed harmless enough at the time. To think that in those brief seconds he made my heart go pitter patter is insulting to me and the serious relationship I am in. He clearly mistook my excitement of purchasing your comic for “something very real.” And the end? How creepy is that?
This is exactly what Hollaback stands against. He reduced me to “a killer set of tits,” made vastly exaggerated assumptions about me, and removed my choice in the matter. And to top it all off, I am now hesitant about returning to that amazing comic book store.
Locust Moon seems a very woman-friendly store. That’s why I was so upset about this guy practically saying he’d be waiting for me there. Locust Moon is by far the most welcoming comic store I’ve found since I moved to the area, and I definitely plan on visiting whenever I can. But, of course, I want to feel safe.
I assume he is only a regular customer, not an employee. I realize this is completely out of your control and appreciate your support as well. I mostly just want to feel comfortable when I visit Locust Moon, and him to understand his behavior is totally unacceptable. I’m not entirely sure how to even handle this. I certainly don’t want any contact with this creep. But I would really like to feel comfortable the next time I visit Locust Moon. Any suggestions?
We’ve had nothing but excellent, supportive interactions from Locust Moon, so we sent them this information, including the name and photograph of the offender, and asked for their opinion on what they were willing to do as a store that seems to pride itself on being inclusive and welcoming. We also sent Anonymous an email letting her know how we planned to respond.
Anonymous response reminded us why we do this – because you should never be made to feel that you are overreaction when harassment upsets you; because you deserve support and a community that has your back.
Anonymous: Thanks again for getting back to me. I hope I didn’t blow this out of proportion, like some friends accused me of. I’m just very tired of the onus being on the victim though, not the aggressor. And I hate when people use the Internet as a way to anonymously threaten others. That’s why I want to take a stand alongside groups like Hollaback.
And Locust Moon’s response reminded us that men are often allies, and we if we trust them enough to talk to them about these issues, we give them the opportunity to be equally horrified enough to stand alongside us as we speak out against harassment.
Chris from Locust Moon: We’re glad you brought this to our attention, and only wish we had gotten this information sooner. We definitely want Locust Moon to be a welcoming place for everyone, and take the safety of our patrons seriously. This guy has no idea how to deal with women, and I’m sorry this had to happen at our store, and that such a good night was sullied by such ignorant and childish behavior. Unfortunately (or fortunately), this guy DOES NOT come to the store often. While currently there is nothing we can do (none of our staff even recognize him), but he is no longer welcome at Locust Moon. This guy will NOT be allowed into the store if he tries to come by again. We will keep his photo on file and try to look out for him. This applies to more than just this one man: any person who harasses or makes threats against any of our patrons is not welcome here, and we do want to be made aware if any such behavior occurs again.
Please let Anonymous know that we’d love for her to come back and see the kind of place we are. We’d hate for some random creep to ruin her, or anyone’s, perception of Locust Moon.
While we were heartened by this response, and appreciated the re-affirmation that they strive to be a comic book shop that breaks the “boys only” mold, what was more important, we wanted to be sure Anonymous was comforted and supported. Happily, she was!
Anonymous: Comic book stores can be kind of intimidating to women, what with the whole “fake geek girl” thing many of us have to overcome. Dealing with some creepy guy who swears his love to me because we made eye contact is just one more hurtle I don’t want to jump. All I want is to enjoy some good literature. I’m very pleased with Locust Moon’s response. They clearly care about my happiness and safety.
So, if you are looking for a women/LGBT friendly comic book shop in Philadelphia, look no further than Locust Moon. And know, if any harassment is to occur, they will have your back!
In case you missed the big announcement, we released the Fall Schedule for our Comic Book Tour (see below)! Meet us at the cons, or let us know if we left off your local con so we can try to add it to the tour! While we prepare for Baltimore and NY Comic Cons, HollabackBoston is taking our comic book, “Hollaback: Red, Yellow, Blue” to Boston’s con as they talk to people about the “cosplay =/= consent” movement to raise awareness about cosplayer harassment.
To get the tour started we want to link you to some ballbusting feminist heroines. Check out Buzzfeed’s “23 Times Lady Superheroes Were 1000% Done. This shit, they’re over it.” A couple of our favorites are posted below, but reading them all definitely got us in the spirit to kick some ass, superhero style!
Keep an eye out for our teams at the following comic conventions on the East (and one on the West) Coast throughout Summer and Fall 2013! We’ll have comics, swag, and information on our next steps! Share your stories with us to get some swag, and your stories will help the movement to create formal and comprehensive responses to cosplayer harassment, so conventions are safe and welcoming places for everyone.
Boston Comic Con: Meet our sister-site leaders of HollabackBOSTON as they bring the street harassment and cosplay =/= consent movement to Boston! Saturday, August 3, 2013.
Baltimore Comic Con: The HollabackPHILLY team will be outside the convention hall with the leader of our sister-site HollabackBMore talking to cosplayers, with swag and cameras in tow! Sunday, September 8, 2013.
Mice Expo. Meet our sister-site leaders of HollabackBOSTON as they bring the street harassment and cosplay =/= consent movement to Boston! Saturday, September 28, 2013.
Locust Moon Festival: We’ll be tabling at this local festival, with all our gear, swag, and exclusive goodies for attendees! You won’t want to miss it . Saturday, October 5, 2013.
Tentative: New York Comic Con: The HollabackPHILLY team will be outside the convention hall with the leader of our sister-site HollabackBMore talking to cosplayers, with swag and cameras in tow! Saturday, October 12, 2013.
GeekGirlCon (Seattle, Washington): Rochelle is presenting a panel on comics for social good, culture jamming, and a more inclusive geek culture. She’ll have comics in tow, and simple ways for you to get involved in changing the tide of harassment at cons. Saturday, October 20, 2013.
Welcome to HOLLA::Revolution! HOLLA::Revolution is the first ever international speakers series on ending street harassment. On July 25th, 2013, in New York City, Hollaback! will bring together leading thinkers and activists to give talks and performances on feminism, tech, and street harassment. It’s going to be an historic event, and we want to bring it to you LIVE!
Featured speakers include Jamia Wilson, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Jennifer Pozner, Jimmie Briggs, Sasheer Zamata, our HollabackPHILLY site leader Rochelle Keyhan, other Hollaback Site Leaders, and more!!!! Check out a full list of speakers here.
Not in New York? No problem. The live-stream of HOLLA::Revolution will run right here in real-time from 2pm-6pm EDT on July 25th. So save this blog post and tune in Thursday afternoon!no comments
Hosted by: Jamia Wilson, Feminist Media Activist, Organizer, Storyteller
Genevieve Berrick, Hollaback! Los Angeles Site Leader
Jimmie Briggs, Co-founder and Executive Director of Man Up Campaign
Nicola Briggs, Anti-Street Harassment Activist
Jill Dimond, Hollaback! Lead Tech Developer /Sassafrass Tech Collective
Rochelle Keyhan, Hollaback! Philadelphia Site Leader
Julie S. Lalonde, Hollaback! Ottawa Site Leader
Nefertiti Martin, Community Organizer for Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)
Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Executive Editor at Feministing.com
Jennifer Pozner, Executive Director of Women In Media & News (WIMN)
Beth Livingston, Assistant Professor of Human Resources Studies at Cornell University
Tanisha Love Ramirez, Blogger
Rockafella, Poet /Co-founder of Hip-Hop dance theater company, Full Circle
Pamela Shifman, Director of Initiatives for Girls and Women at the NoVo Foundation
Anna Whaley, Hollaback! Brussels Site Leader
Sasheer Zamata, Comedian
Kana Zink , Music Therapist/Hollaback! Fredericksburg Site Leader
This July, Hollaback! is hosting a TedX event, HOLLA::Revolution, bringing various international activists together to speak out. Our very own site leader, Rochelle, will be giving a talk on the history of street harassment. The event will be held on Thursday, July 25th, at NYU. Ticket information is available below!
The weekend will then follow with a retreat that will bring together site leaders from various cities all over the world to collaborate with one another and support each other’s local activism on the global Hollaback! stage.
The HOLLA::Revolution will be a public and live-streamed event at New York University, taking place on Thursday, July 25th, from 2-6pm (cocktails to follow the event), where Hollaback! will provide the platform for leading feminist thinkers, activists, and performers, including our very own Hollaback! site leaders from around the world, to give inspiring and empowering multimedia talks, performances and readings on subjects including ending street harassment, the future of feminism, online organizing, and movement building.no comments
We had such a heartening experience at Wizard Con this weekend in Philadelphia. Dozens of men, and many more women, came by our table to talk to us about street harassment. They showed their support, took home copies of the comic book home to show others, and grabbed harasser cards to embolden them to step in as bystanders more often.
Alongside our Hollaback: Red, Yellow, Blue materials, we also had a “Cosplay =/= Consent” sign that also brought people specifically to our table, where we had conversations about harassment and groping of cosplayers.
STORM (X-Men) SHE-RA
As we drew parallels between street harassment and cosplayer harassment, we handed out even more harasser cards as we explained to people the less aggressive ways to let a harasser know you felt harassed. The harasser cards, modeled off of cards made by someone for the 2011 DefCon, and they were a huge hit. We can’t wait to hear stories about more women telling off their harassers in this silent, less aggressive way!
Comic conventions are about celebrating the things that make us geeks, in a place where we can feel free to embrace our favorite stories and characters freely without judgment. I am so glad that sense of community was extended so warmly to our booth. We left feeling supported and more committed to our goal of achieving a world free from harassment, whether it be based on our genders, the fact that we’re in costume, or that we like things like wearing pointy ears in public as we make the Vulcan Salute to one another.
As we continue our East Coast convention tour, we’d love to see you! Let us know what conventions you’ll be at, and if you want to join the effort to combat both street harassment and cosplayer harassment. Email us at email@example.com, or comment on this post!one comment
We had a great time at our Release party at Locust Moon Comics this Saturday! Nearly 100 people were there to help us celebrate the comic’s success, to get their first look at the comic book, and to grab some “thank you” swag and, of course, to get their personalized live autographs from Erin Filson on the cover of her gorgeous first comic!
Tip: If you want some of the swag in these pictures, stop by Wizard Con this weekend and find our table!
Thank you all so much for coming out to help us celebrate! After a couple days off, we’re packing up and headed to Philadelphia Wizard Con this today (May 30) through Sunday June 2! If you are at the convention, look for our table in Artist’s Alley and our teams talking to Cosplayers and taking “Cosplay =/= Consent” pictures!
The release party for our comic book, Hollaback: Red, Yellow, Blue, couldn’t fall on a more appropriate day! Happy National Wine Day and National Geek Pride Day!! Help us celebrate BOTH today as we toast our Geekdom, and the wonderful Philly geek scene, over glasses of wine! Join us tonight to celebrate with some wine, snacks, gorgeous art work, a meet and greet with local artist Erin Filson, and an overall awesome time!
Details: Event page
Where: West Philly at Locust Moon Comics (34 S 40th Street) (Within blocks of major bus routes and the Market-Frankford Line).
Added Bonus: our SEPTA ads are only running for one more week! Take the subway to the party for your last chance at seeing them!
Actual survey data available here.one comment
When: May 25, 2013, 7pm
Where: Locust Moon Comics, 34 S 40th Street
Why: The comic book has been printed, and we can’t wait to share it with you!
Meet us at Locust Moon Comics (34 S 40th Street, right off the Market-Frankford line 40th street exit) for the first reveal of “Hollaback: Red, Yellow, Blue”, before we take it to Philadelphia Wizard Con May 30-June 2.
Artist Erin Filson will be there to sign copies, and the HollabackPHILLY team will be there with her to talk about future programming and next steps. Enjoy a glass of wine and some delicious snacks to help us celebrate!
We’ll also be talking about anti-harassment teams for Wizard Con 2013 here in Philly May 30-June 2, and at San Diego Comic Con 2014. We’d love for you to join us in starting the conversation about safer conventions for everyone who wants to attend, in costume or otherwise. Stop by and talk to us about it, or feel free to email or post on our Facebook page if you’d like more information!
RSVP on the Facebook event page so we are sure to have enough wine!
If you donated to the campaign to help make this comic book a reality, meet us at the event to get your rewards levels (instead of waiting until we ship them at the end of June)! Bonus Perk: get your limited edition prints signed if you were a $100+ donor! Want in on the rewards levels? Head over to philly.ihollaback.org/comic to learn more!
Join us in wishing the happiest of birthdays to fierce local activist, Nuala Cabral, working tirelessly alongside other activists to make Philadelphia, and this world, a better and more just place. Nuala is an educator, activist, and film maker who has made some powerful social justice films. One of her films, Walking Home, is a powerful and eloquent response to street harassment, and it is our go-to anti-street harassment film. Watch it below:
Co-Founder of FAAN Mail, Fostering Activism and Alternatives Now) she also focuses much of her work around media literacy. As defined on FAAN Mail’s website,
According to the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media. Anyone can do media literacy. It can happen in classrooms and in your every day life. Media literacy is a tool we use to help us navigate a media saturated world. It helps us be more informed consumers who advocate for change.
To that end, Nuala works with high school students at POPPYN as they make films “news report” style, she has appeared on HuffPo live multiple times, and FAAN Mail hosts “talk backs” that help break down the media by which we are surrounded, and demanding accountability from the media creators. The talk backs have mobilized hundreds of people and contributed to corporations responding to the criticisms and withdrawing their support of specific artists and/or offensive songs. She has also used her film, “Who’s that girl?”, which discusses women of color and hip-hop, in her media literacy work around hip-hop music.
She is beyond impressive, and I am so happy to call her my friend. Though she has achieved so much, and has seen so much aggression, she still approaches her activism from such a positive, un-angry place. That approach makes her energy magnetic, and whenever we partner with her for street-activism in Philly, it is no surprise so many people show up to play a part. I personally have grown so much from knowing her, as my activism is often from a place of anger. Seeing her lead by an example that is free from judgment has helped temper my anger quite a bit, which really facilitates engaging men in discussions about gender-based violence, broadening the discussions I’m able to have about our work here at HollabackPHILLY. I could keep talking about how amazing she and her efforts are, but better to let her work speak for itself!
So, check out Nuala’s amazing work, follow FAAN Mail on Facebook and Twitter, and join in the next time you have the opportunity. She is amazing, and you will want to be a part of her work here in Philadelphia!