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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this post!
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.
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!
It’s finally here! Join us at Locust Moon Comics, Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 7:00pm for the premiere release of our comic book! Register at the Facebook Event Page: “Hollaback: Red, Yellow, Blue” Comic Book Launch Party!
We’ll have a table in Artist’s Alley, and we will be carrying around 16BitSirens’ “Cosplay =/= consent” signs to take pictures with various people in Cosplay, while talking to them about harassment at conventions.
By: Lula Lisbon, Guest Blogger
I distinctly remember walking down the sidewalk with my friends at the age of thirteen, getting honks and lewd comments hurled at us. I repeat: WE WERE THIRTEEN. Imagining ourselves cool and grownup, we would give offending drivers the finger and gleefully yell “Perv!” as loud as we could. After the shock of the first time or two, I considered it old hat in the nonchalant way that kids who don’t know better have. Maybe it had happened to me earlier even than thirteen, because I developed very early — but if it did, it was too traumatizing for me to not block out of my memory.
“I’ve heard it all, and I don’t care what the words are, I hate them all.“
Street harassment is not about compliments. It’s certainly not about being nice. It’s about intimidation and dehumanization, about objectification and making the recipient feel powerless and scared while the perpetrator feels powerful and aggressive. It’s about keeping its targets firmly in a place of submission and fear, and perpetrators (in my personal experience, they have invariably been men, of all races) in a place of power.
“You have no right to talk to me like that. Harassment is illegal in the workplace, at school, at home — pretty much anywhere that’s indoors.“
Christy Turlington-Burns in her Women’s Way Powerful Voices Awards Keynote Address, 2013: “The most powerful thing we can use is our voices. And, that’s free.”
Philadelphia’s City Paper has a tongue-in-cheek advice column titled “Ask Papa”. The premise of the column is for readers to solicit advice from the late Ernest Hemingway by sending their questions to the writer, Alli Katz, who then channels Ernest Hemingway via Ouija board to give advice. Last week, “Hemingway” tackled street harassment.
“Hemingway’s” advice was problematic, to say the least, we were inspired to channel his estranged mentor, Gertrude Stein; bringing back to life their famous feud.
This is what good old Hemingway-reincarnate had to say about street harassment in the City Paper’s April 27, 2013 “Ask Papa” column:
Dear Papa: Now that the weather is warm, I want to ride my bike more, but whenever I bike in a dress I get honked at. I’m sick of getting cat-called for just leaving my house! What should I do? —Bare-Legged in Bella Vista
Dear Bare: I don’t understand. What is the problem? Wear pants? Don’t ride your bike? Shout back? Tell each one to shove his own eye in his asshole? Marry them? That would surely cause suffering. But, really — why would you ask me this? The only reason I’ve ever worn a dress is to hear what a man had to say about it.
Ernest communicates with writer Alli Katz via Ouija board. Send her your questions for Papa.
Of course, we here at HollabackPHILLY couldn’t let that go without a response. We channeled his late mentor, Gertrude Stein, to bring in her expertise about Hemingway, and what it is to be a woman who is street harassed, both alone, and when walking with her same-sex partner. Check out the letter we wrote to the editor, enclosing Stein’s response!
Oh Mr. Hemingway. After hearing the call for my assistance in addressing this City Paper column, I had to respond. Perhaps had we not parted ways I could have saved you from responding to the call of this column. There is still much for you to learn. In reading and mentoring you on your work, it became clear you were one of these men, who envisioned women as things at which to stare, our humanity less than yours. Perhaps I should have taken the advice you give this woman, and told you then, when you were a mere 23 and possibly saved from espousing this drivel.
Many people who are harassed on the street take these things quietly, but still feel them deeply. The layers of oppressions often built-in to street harassment experiences make it less comfortable, and often less safe, for many people to respond to their harassers. Following your advice can extend the license men feel they have to verbally harass, and lead to physical and sexual assault to silence the people who dare to speak out against their behavior. The harassment I experienced as I walked alone was one thing, but the harassment when I dared to walk with Alice was entirely another. I am sure you can relate, since you slandered my name for my enduring relationship with Alice. Not knowing how our shouting at the man would be interpreted in these harassing situations, it wasn’t always the easiest, and was often far from the best, option. Regardless, it was not my error to correct or my shame to carry.Nor is this Bare-Legged In Bella Vista’s shame, it lays entirely at the feet of men who engage in this behavior, and those giving advice like yours, dearest Ernest. The shame is entirely yours.-Gertrude SteinWriter Rochelle Keyhan, Director of HollabackPHILLY, communicated with the late Gertrude Stein via Ouija board for assistance drawn from Ms. Stein’s relationship with Hemingway as his mentor, and personal experience as a woman in a life-long relationship with her beloved Alice.
Talented local film student, Kara Lieff, created a video tour of the chalk walk portion of Philadelphia’s Anti Street Harassment 2013 actions. Participants that day included representatives from Poppyn, GALS, FAAN Mail, Philly Youth Poetry Movement, Philadelphia Futures, and other local Philadelphians invested in ending street harassment. Checkout her other films about street harassment here and here.