Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need an advertisement campaign talking about improving the ways we treat one another. In a perfect world, we would value each other as human beings, no matter our differences, whether or not we can relate to one another on any other level than that we’re all human. In a perfect world, rape culture isn’t real. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world. This is a world that needs (and still gets significant push back against) advertisements explaining what many women and LGBT folks experience on a daily basis. As such, we framed a series of advertisements that would best engage others and loop them into the conversation, newly aware of and equipped to resist rape culture.
We’ve received some messages about this specific ad, and want to publicly respond. We understand the problematic framing of this ad and did grapple with it (read: had heated debates about it) before ultimately deciding to use it. The goal with this series of advertisements is to broaden the conversation about rape culture and the ways our streets are constructed as hostile to women and LGBTQ folks, largely at the hands of male behavior. We wanted to start that conversation in a way that engages people who might otherwise dismiss street harassment, and rape culture along with it, encouraging them to delve deeper into the issues, and to hopefully join a conversation about how we can do better.
We recognize that this form of relating to issues can be seen as degrading to everyone involved: women shouldn’t need to be seen as sisters/daughters/girlfriends/mothers/wives in order to be seen as human, and people should be above needing that form of relation to value others for their basic humanity. This criticism, however, comes from people as entrenched and aware of rape culture as we are. Throughout the course of the past year we’ve written dozens of variations of these advertisements and shown them to countless people to get their visceral, gut reactions. Even when those people weren’t shown this specific ad, men and women alike often related the issue to those closest to them, and imagined this experience through their eyes; this was especially true for people who had never experienced street harassment, and thus had never considered the lasting effects street harassment can have. When this ad was included in the series we showed people, they usually chose this as one of the most powerful, the one that resonated with them the most. Despite its flaws, this ad is the one that most effectively meets the goal of this entire project.
We welcome you to publicly post your comments on this advertisement, but we also request that you keep in mind the overall goal of this campaign: to get us all to the same point of understanding, that we’re all human beings, regardless of our gender, gender presentation, or relation to one another on anything more than a human level. That being the end goal, we have to start at the beginning. The beginning involves reaching people where they are, in the ways that are most relatable.
I shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable with the students that I am supposed to be helping. These hallways should not be filled with ‘hey sexy’ remarks and officers who laugh at reports of harassment. It makes me sick.
I was walking to the store and suddenly I heard a group of 5 twelve-year old boys yelling remarks about my body from across the street. Then they were right behind me and as I sped up they started running ‘excuse me miss, do you have a boyfriend?’ After a few blocks I finally stopped and turned around to tell them I wasn’t going to engage in a conversation because that’s not the way to talk to women. ‘I said excuse me!’ He retorted. I shouldn’t have to defend myself to a child half my age.
~4pm, Saturday. Small event, but vexing. I was walking down the somewhat deserted street with my bookbag in a dress, jacket, and nearly opaque tights with modest shoes. A truck passed me and, when just out of sight, honked at me and the driver bellowed “Hey, how much?” Uh…what. Seriously. I kept walking and felt powerless…even if I turned around and mouthed off he would have been long gone. Coward, honking at young women alone on the sidewalk. I hate that these people make me rethink everything I wear out of the house. But I know it doesn’t matter what I wear, its about being young and alone and “vulnerable”.
10am Saturday morning. I’m walking to the bus stop weighed down as usual, by a giant backpack and toting my yoga mat around. A man walked up to me, got right in my face and whispered “you sexy.” When I gave him a dirty look, he continued to repeat it. It was very creepy, not a freaking compliment. I ended up walking to a different stop a block away because I did not feel safe standing there with him. Pretty mild, but still unsettling to me.
It’s 3am and I’m making the 2 block trek to my front door from a taxi cab. As I’m walking past a group of men AND women, I begin to hear taunting. The women start to yell, “Yo white girl, Hey white girl,” and the men start saying, “Yo, where you goin’, shorty, you need some company?!” The group as a whole laughed mockingly. In my opinion, female on female harassment is the most dangerous.
We are a few days late in posting, but almost overnight we went from a little over halfway to our goal, to having met our goal and well on the way to meeting our fundraising goal for taking the comic to Comic Con 2014!! Now, with the campaign ending Monday, March 25, we’re a little over $200 away from the Comic Con 2014 goal.
All three of us are speechless with happiness and gratitude. A huge thank-you to you, our friends, family, and fellow fighters in the movement to end street harassment. Scroll to the bottom for the exclusive sneak peak of a page from Blue’s section as a token of our appreciation!!
We’re not giving up now… it’s on to our “stretch” goals! If we raise $6,516, we can take our project on the road to Comic Con 2014 in San Diego, and represent women creators of women- and LGBT-focused comics in a setting where that sort of discussion is rare. We are almost to that goal! If we meet and surpass $6,516, and make it to $7,500, we will be able to afford developing and providing a platform to share our comic book and the corresponding workshop curriculum with educators outside the Hollaback! network, and expand the reach of this effort. We aim big over here at HollabackPHILLY! Here we go!
-Rochelle, Anna & Erin
P.S. We are actively working to spread the word, and were honored to be interviewed by Glamour Magazine last week!
Drum roll please —- the long awaited page from Blue’s section of the book!
I was trying to unlock the front door to my apartment building and three young men were being loud and obnoxious. They leaned in close to me and said that they wanted to “fuck the shit out of my face”. I was scared to open the door, or yell at them. I did not want them to know where I lived in case they would come back.
I was walking out of my apartment building, heading for my car when I heard a man’s voice from across the street.
“Hey, what’s up, Ma?!”
I looked up and two young-ish looking men were walking across the street from me. I glanced back, frozen and headed to my car. Again, I hear:
“I said, what’s up, Ma?” I look over again, and now they’ve both stopped and are staring at me. I consider screaming, but instead I fish for my keys and begin to put the key in the lock.
“What, you too stuck up to say hey?”
Finally, I look up at them, shake my head and shout back, “Don’t talk to me like that. I’m not a dog.”
“What the fuck. I said ‘Ma.’ Bitch.”
I reply, “Fuck you.” I get in my car, drive away. I’m shaking, and angry tears force their way out. The worst part is that this is the first time this will happen, and I know that it most certainly won’t be the last.
We just made it past the halfway mark! Thank you for your generosity, both in donating and in spreading the word to your families and friends. It means the world to us!
Erin is hard at work creating gorgeous illustrations, and we are almost finished revising the script. It’s really coming together now, and we’re beyond excited. Stay tuned – we will be posting more sneak-peak drawings soon.
-Rochelle, Anna & Erin
Round-up of some comic book related posts this week:
Good video snapshot of the ways women are pushed away from the comic book world (Reposted from DC Women Kicking Ass!)
Who are your favorite women/LGBT friendly comics? We love Batwoman, Wonderwoman, Rogue, and Storm – but would love to expand our reading list to less mainstream comics. Share your faves in the comments!
We are so excited about “Wonder Women, The Untold Story of American Superheroines!” The trailer looks amazing: http://bit.ly/YU72mb.
Coming to the Philadelphia area (Westchester, specifically) soon!: http://ow.ly/i4O5w