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Some guy on the Media/Elwyn line began interrogating me, trying to get my number and find out where I go to school. Despite saying I was on my way home from my boyfriend’s place, he didn’t relent until we both got off the train at Suburban Station.
A man selling papers for a local homeless organization started asking me rather personal questions, like if I’m single and why didn’t I have a boyfriend. I told him it’s because I prefer girlfriends, which is both true and got him to leave me alone, but now this charity’s name is damaged for me. All of my previous experiences have been positive. Now I have to wonder if I’ll get propositioned every time I see their neon yellow vests.
Having a smoke waiting for the bus and a large white man with an Italian flag shirt on came up and asked where I was from and if I was single. I said no, I’m French and engaged. He called me a whore and walked off.
We are gearing up to meet with local officials about planning a city wide safety audit to improve the condition and safety on our streets for women, LGB, and trans* Philadelphians! Gender-based safety audits are a United Nations best practice for assessing and responding to safety concerns in public spaces.
Please take three minutes to fill out this survey and help us make this audit happen!
Hi Fans! HollabackPHILLY is looking for some interns/volunteers to help us with some pretty exciting/huge projects we have on the horizon! Check them out and, if you want to help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks for helping us with this revolution!! We couldn’t achieve these results without your support and assistance!
Interns will be essential in continuing the momentum of HollabackPhilly’s current projects, which include:
For the research and data analysis, publication credit is possible depending on quality and quantity of your work. For more detailed descriptions of the various projects/positions, see below!
Research: We have both qualitative/quantitative and academic research projects in the works. Depending on the applicant’s level of assistance, there are opportunities for credit in the publications of this research. Applicants with statistical backgrounds will be invited to work on analyzing the data from our user submissions, the surveys conducted in response to our 2013 SEPTA PSA transit advertisements, and the social media feedback about those ads. This data will be used to augment our public policy outreach that is currently in the works. We are also working on academic research projects, some of which are scheduled to be published, and others of which are still in the research stage.
Public Relations: Our comic-convention anti-harassment campaign is an ongoing, large-scale campaign that is focused on Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Boston, and Los Angeles at the moment. This campaign is going to increase in momentum as we gear of for San Diego Comic Con in 2014. In addition to publicizing this campaign, we have two large events (a conference and a party) scheduled for the Spring of 2014. Publicity intern will work on press releases, contacting vendors, writing blog posts, and will learn how to create a “pitch deck” as they work on a deck to help with the event publicity.
Event Planning: We have two large events scheduled for the Spring. The first is a full day conference featuring speakers discussing Human Trafficking. This event will require reaching out to vendors for food and supplies, as well as coordinating their services. The second event is HollabackPHILLY’s 3rd Birthday Party in May, which will celebrate everyday heroes/activists in Philadelphia while serving as our kick off party leading into our San Diego Comic Con effort in July 2014. This event will require reaching out to vendors throughout the city for collaboration on the swag bag, reaching out to local artists and comic-creators to feature during the event, and coordinating the volunteers and donations.
Urban Planning/Development: We are planning a city-wide, gender-based safety audit using United Nations’ manuals and best practices as our model. We have international advisors assisting us in the planning stage, and are in talks with local government officials about collaboration. Responsibilities for this internship will involve reviewing the various United Nations manuals and compiling a shorter training manual for the 50+ volunteers that will be assisting with the safety audit. This intern will also be present and active in the planning process as we fine-tune the training and audit implementation plans. The audit is tentatively scheduled for 2014.
Graphic Design: As part of our Comic Convention Anti-Harassment campaign, we have a few publicity projects that require graphic design skills, including meme generation (for which we have the content started, just need the design assistance). There is also room for collaboration on new projects and assistance with publicizing your work to international audiences.
HollabackPhilly is the only Philadelphia organization of its kind dedicated to ending street harassment on an international level. We are non-political and non-partisan. Our model is based on giving women and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) folks an empowered response to street harassment, a “hollaback!.” We implement innovative, though-provoking, and groundbreaking work that has elevated the global anti-street harassment effort to the next level. As part of a 64-branch international network, we design all of our programming (including our comic book and our public transit ads) to be scalable for international use. So, your local assistance will have a global impact.
In addition to our work in the community, we encourage users to tell their stories, and provide a platform on-line through blogs and mobile phone apps, which allow for sharing of the harassment story as early as while it is still occuring. Each Hollaback is mapped, putting a face on the everyday harassment and assault, and breaking the silence that has perpetuated street harassment. By using data to establish the case against street harassment, Hollaback!’s social change efforts will ultimately result in significant improvements in policy and a reduction in crimes against girls, women and LGBTQ individuals.
To date, Hollaback! is in 64 U.S and International locations, with another 60+ cities on the waitlist to start their own branches. HollabackPHILLY’s programming is all designed to be scalable to those organizations. So, the work you do with our organization will have an international impact as we share the resources with our sister branches all over the world.
HollabackPhilly is committed to diversity and encourages everyone who is interested to apply. Decisions will be made regardless of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or veteran status.
Rochelle is a book reviewer for Red Letter Reads, and her most recent book review is of “They Used to Call Me Snow White…But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of Humor” by Gina Barreca. This book is relevant not just in its feminism, but also because it discusses humor as a tool for empowerment, and even specifically discusses humor as a strategic response to street harassment! Even if she hadn’t explicitly mentioned street harassment, Barreca’s discussion of humor is spot on and relevant as a tool in our arsenal for reclaiming public space and refusing to be silenced.
Tip: listen to this song before, during, after your reading. It’s the perfect accompaniment!
And now on to the review, and how Barreca’s arguments relate to our every day lives, including our anti-street harassment activism. The book was originally published in 1991, but was recently re-published. That being said, the main street harassment example is of a construction worker, which is limited and pretty tired, but the rest of the messages, of speaking up for ourselves, reclaiming humor and using it in response to humor used to silence our opposition, are definitely something we can get behind. While, of course, shouting back in the moment to harassers is not for everyone, and its definitely not for every instance of street harassment, when you feel it’s appropriate and have the nerve, she has some great suggestions at responding to the harassment while also lightening the moment. Check out the excerpt below, and Rochelle’s full review at Red Letter Reads.
But those minor annoyances of life – the guys at the bar, the nasty co-worker, the snotty salesman – these can and should be countered by a battery of humorous responses you can cultivate like a beautiful and slightly poisonous garden. When a construction worker shouts at you as you walk down the street, “Hey, honey, I want to get into your pants,” by all means shout back, “Nah, I got one asshole in there already.” his pals will give him a hard time all day, and they might even applaud you. They are unlikely to give you any more problems, and you don’t have to spend the next twenty minutes fuming about the way men can yell things at women but women can’t yell back. Yell back – just attack him with a joke he can’t answer. Making a joke at the joker’s expense is like making a cheat pay the tab when he thought he was going to be the one who to the free
And, something all too common in life, and especially in street harassment situations when our reactions are all too often minimized as overreactions or hypersensitivity, is when women “play against the house” by internalizing the behavior of others. This section is something we should all remember!
Playing Against the House
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When you turn back upon yourself, the anger you have toward another person, you are playing a losing game. Women tend to turn their anger against themselves, psychologists argue, since women are taught that it is unfeminine to show anger at anyone else. Phyllis Diller says that “Comedy is a hostile act,” and that she attacks herself because “that’s what got the laughs.” If instead of seeing that the reason you are mad has less to do with your own inner self than it has to do with reacting to outside forces, then you can begin to challenge that which is making you angry. When a guy shouts to you on the street and you feel bad about having provoked such a comment, you should stop and think about the dynamics of the situation. This guy is not seeing you as a person, he’s eyeing you as sexual fast food. Therefore you don’t have to examine yourself to see whether you’ve done anything to bring this on yourself. You haven’t. You are therefore allowed to respond to him as fair game, as to somebody who has violated you verbally, and you are allowed to respond in kind. I know a woman who was once so angry at such a comment that she screamed back “IF your mouth is so big your dick must be real small” and then spend the rest of the day worried – honest to God – in case he really did have a small dick. Believe me, this is misplaced compassion. When you respond with a bitchy, funny remark, you are not so much being hostile as asserting your right to be heard. You are making sure that you have the last word. And the last laugh.
If you like what you see, head over to Amazon (or check if it’s available at your local library) to read the book yourself! The author loved Rochelle’s review so much, she commented on it! Check out the review, and the author’s comment, at Red Letter Reads link!no comments
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!
Guest post by Audrey Webb, co-creator of “The Object Project”.
From The Object Project: We are a blog dedicated to exposing examples of the objectification of women, men, and those who identify as neither in everyday life. Objectification of gender in different ways is something we have come to accept as normal and okay, something we do not notice. If we can notice when an image is perpetuating a harmful generalization or stigma, we can then combat it to spark change.
The Object Project started as a fun social experiment a couple of my friends and I did when bored at the mall one day. We had recently attended a couple of Gender & Sexuality classes at a local college and heard a HollabackPHILLY presentation. The class and presentation had really grabbed our attention so we decided to observe what we had learned in our daily lives, such as when shopping at the mall.
While walking around the mall we noticed things that we might not have usually taken much heed to before the HollabackPHILLY presentation. Such as when we were at a media store that sold music, DVDs, and videogames, where on the covers of videogames the men were dressed in full body armor, while the women were dressed in armored bikinis.
Another example is when we visited Spencer’s, a gift shop. A part of the store sold very inappropriate gifts, such as hats with the phrase, “Black out with your rack out,” and baby clothes with the phrase, “I love my Mommy even though she is a Bitch.”
My friends and I were shocked at the outright disrespect of women. This crude language and behavior are exposed to people of all ages, through shopping malls and through media, such as television. Because of all of this we decided to create a Tumblr blog in order to help bring about awareness
The Tumblr blog is primarily focused around the objectification of people, which seems to occur mostly with women in our society, but also explores other forms of social This project has only recently started, but it is something we care about. We want to bring about social awareness and help others to realize that we should not just accept this. This As David Hewson, author of the novel Macbeth said, “…Is your destiny such a small thing then? To keep your legs open and your mouth shut?”
Let us become aware, spread the word, and stand up! No longer shall we tolerate being given gifts such as the hat from Spencer’s, or tolerate being yelled at by a stranger, “Hey Baby!” We deserve to be treated with respect and how we want to be treated. We are people, too. Hollaback!
Check out: http://theobjectprojectblog.tumblr.com/
Send submissions: email@example.com comments
I was dog walking when a man in a white van appeared to be taking pictures of me. I flipped him off and walked away. He drove away and I went back to walking when he drove past screaming ” I have your picture”.