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Our efforts to oust ‘journalist’ Juan Terranova for publishing his wish to rape an anti-street harassment activist are still going strong. Rape threats are not funny, clever, or thought-provoking. Join us tomorrow (Saturday, April 2) to keep the momentum going.
Terranova will be participating in a one-day online reality show TOMORROW with six other Hispanic ‘literary’ figures.
His broadcast will be on this page:
Users will be able to make comments during the live broadcast (Terranova will be on from 2:45 – 4:30 PM or 1:45-3:30 EST) through the website as well as Facebook and Twitter. We want to send a message to Terranova that says that we will not tolerate rape threats!
You can tweet him at @juanterranova or comment directly on the website.
If you don’t speak Spanish, you can use this message, “Las insinuaciones de violencia y violación no son graciosas, astutas ni invitan a la reflexión. Disculpas a la representante de Hollaback.” which translates to: “Threats of violence and rape are not funny, clever or thought-provoking. Apologize to the representative of Hollaback.”
Remember that sicko we wrote about a week ago? The “journalist” who published his desire to meet and ass rape a Hollaback activist? Well he still has his job. What can you do about it? Sign our petition. The editorial teams of all the publications he works for receive a notification email every time you and your friends sign it. They may come to realize that publishing his trashy internet rants aren’t worth the price they pay from all the negative attention we garner for them. Please sign it today and let your friends know to do the same.
BY SAMUEL CARTER AND EMILY MAY
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth installment in our Women’s History Month series of posts highlighing our living history. As our history is still in progress, we hope you’ll give us feedback so we can strengthen our work. The next three posts will be released over the next week and will highlight more lessons we’ve learned. Stay tuned. These posts are also cross-posted on Feministing.com.
When Malcolm Gladwell wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” in The New Yorker, he argued that the revolution would not happen through social media because the revolution requires “strong ties” and the Internet only facilitated “weak ties.” There are lots of abstract ways to measure “strong” vs. “weak” ties, but the founders of Hollaback! felt that Gladwell was missing the mark. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak’s research shows that social media causes the release of oxytocin, which is the hormone that is responsible for feelings of trust, generosity, and connectivity. It is released by mothers holding their babies, people falling in love, and according to Zak, it is the “social glue” that adheres families, communities, societies — and dare we say, movements. This suggests that individuals can form strong, emotional connections over digital networks.
Gladwell didn’t get everything wrong though—movements do require strong-ties. Our “hand them a start up packet and be done with it” model didn’t just fail because it didn’t provide people with enough training, it failed also because it didn’t provide them with community.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you were part of a great team? When everyone was on the same page, working seamlessly to the same incredible goal? Those moments are rare, but when they happen they are the best. We wanted to build Hollaback! with that design in mind—an incredible team that loved each other and were all in it together, fighting for something bigger than ourselves. Releasing oxytocin at every turn.
In March 2011, a prominent journalist and professor in Buenos Aires named Juan Terranova wrote an article on our Buenos Aires Hollaback! site. He wasn’t a fan; and instead of critiquing it from any reasonable academic or journalistic perspective, he went after our site leader, Inti Maria writing, “I want to break her asshole with my cock.”
His words reverberated across our network. A collective shock, rage, and concern about Inti Maria’s safety lit our listserve on fire. Inti Maria left the country to gather her thoughts and ensure her safety, and we started a petition on change.org to get him fired. Within a few weeks we’d collected 3,500 signatures from 75 countries around the world. And still, the publication that he wrote for didn’t budge. So we targeted their advertisers, Fiat and Lacoste, and within two days we’d gathered over 1,500 signatures and both Fiat and Lacoste ended their advertising contracts. At that point, the main shareholder made the call. Terranova was fired, and both Terranova and the editor of the magazine wrote a front page apology to Inti Maria.
In his apology, Terranova referred to Hollaback! as a “powerful, well-organized international organization.” At this point, Emily had been on salary as Executive Director for just two months, and we had no additional staff or an office. But as a badass collective of feminist activists with computers, Terranova was right: we were both powerful and well-organized.
Following the ordeal, Inti Maria wrote to the Hollaback! listserve:
The other day I made a comparison to a friend between Hollaback! and a bee hive. I said I felt like a bee because we are organized, strong, active and when we get mad — we act together. He said, “you are a strong bee,” haha. But the point is I feel strong because we are all strong together. Right now it feels like we’re taking down the bear of institutionalized misogynism in the media!
What happened with Terranova reminded us that we were up against some pretty terrifying enemies. Before Terronova we had all suffered through a range of hater comments calling us “fat,” “ugly,” or “just needing to get laid.” They stung. But this was a whole new ballgame. The ordeal inspired the establishment of Hollaback’s culture of support as well as one of our core values: “I’ve Got Your Back.” It’s reads:
“Making revolution isn’t always easy. It’s scary to tell your story, and it’s scary to lead a movement that challenges the status quo. When times get tough, we stand as a united front against the forces that try to pull us apart. We embrace others’ perspectives, see debate as a learning opportunity, and we never, ever get holier-than-thou.”
Today, we maintain our community’s solidarity through several outlets, including a listserve and facebook group where we share announcements. The goal of our online communications isn’t just to share resources or best practices. It’s to inspire that warm-fuzzy feeling. The feeling of being on an incredible team, the feeling of being understood. Because it is that feeling above all else that makes things happen.
“I found it important to bring the issue up in the public realm. It was not an issue that had been addressed very widely, but it was certainly the case that it was an issue that needed attention. Hollaback! offered the tools and the support to create a new paradigm using digital technology, which wasn’t being used in that way here yet…” –Inti Maria
Last year, when Hollaback! Buenos Aires leader Inti Maria received a public rape threat from prominent and influential journalist Juan Terranova, Holalaback! sprang into action to respond. Terranova made his threat in reaction to Hollaback! Buenos Aires’s sudden rise in publicity surrounding an advertising campaign by Coca-Cola which encouraged piropos, a kind of street harassment. Sending a clear message that Hollaback! takes violent threats seriously, Emily May, Inti, and Hollaback! site leaders from around the globe created and circulated an online petition that gathered signatures from over 3,500 people in 75 different countries. Next, Hollaback! focused their energy on convincing advertisers to withdraw support from the magazine that printed the threat. Through brilliant use of online organizing and their global network, the united Hollaback! groups convinced advertisers Fiat and Lacoste to pull their advertisements, prompting the magazine to distance itself from Terranova. More recently, Inti has been working on building a stronger local network and volunteer community, organizing alongside feminist organisations with strong digital platforms, such as Con.textuadas, AnyBody Argentina, Especie en Riesgo de Extincion and Chicas Bondiola, in opposition to a website, Chicas Bondi, which posts photos of women on public transportation without their knowledge or permission. In her own words, Inti is most proud of “having inspired personal and professional growth in the volunteers of the chapter.” Most recently, Inti has raised the issue of street harassment at the National Annual Women’s Meeting, attended by 25,000 women. She has also singlehandledly set up a screen printing studio in her garage to make hand crafted merchandize, which helps visbilize and bring brand awarenes to the movement. Hollaback! Buenos aires has joined forces with the feminist self defense workshop to create a safe space for women to talk about strategies of self defense and street harassment, and participated this years Marcha de Las Putas Festival with an information stall, t-shirts, and a self-defense workshop.
Moral Low Ground: ‘Douche de Jour’: Argentinean Journalist Fired After Threatening to Violently Rape Activist
LYJ: Love Your Job: Five Questions for Emily May
Calcutta Tube: Women Harassment: Technology to the Rescue
April 22, 2011
April 20, 2011
Care2.com: Hollaback! Wants You To Participate
March 8, 2011
The Guardian Newspaper: Sister act: Women take on street harassers
March 6th 2011
New York Times: Keeping Women Safe Through Social Networking
February 28, 2011
ABC News: Construction Workers Harass Women: What Would You Do?
January 13, 2011
New York Times: “Phone Apps Aim to Fight Harassment”
November 8, 2010
ABC Eyewitness News: Caught in the Act
MSNBC: “Should Street Harassment Be Made Against the Law?”
November 6, 2010
Jezebel: “Can A City Effectively Ban Catcalls?”
ABC News: “Hollaback: New App for iPhone and Android Phones Fights Harassment
November 10, 2010
Gothamist: “Street Harassment Finally Gets City’s Attention”
October 29, 2010
New York Post: “Lawmakers probe street harassment of NYC women”
October 28, 2010
Washington Post: “Lawmakers probe street harassment of NYC women”
October 28, 2010
Metro: “City talks back to ‘harassers’”
October 28, 2010
Huffington Post: “A Cure For Cat-Calling?”
October 4, 2010
McSweeney’s: “Column 20: Sticks and Stones”
BBC: “BBC Woman’s Hour”
September 16, 2010
The Independent: “Harriet Walker: Hassled just because I ride a bike”
July 23, 2010
Ms. Magazine Blog: Is Videogame “Hey Baby” A Positive Response to Street Harassment?
June 10, 2010
Daily News: Pol pushes bill for public stats on subway sex crimes including groping and lewdness
June 2, 2010
NPR: Tell Me More: Video Game Lets Women Fight Back
Examiner.com: Emily May working to end street harassment through the Hollaback! movement
June 13, 2010
Discovery.com, Planet Green: Cell Phones Stopping Street Harassment with Hollaback’s New iPhone App
May 20, 2010
Huh. Magazine: Hollaback London
May 21, 2010
About.com: Don’t Just Put Up With Street Harassment, Hollaback!
May 19, 2010
Trendhunter Magazine: The Hollaback! iPhone App Deals with Dirty Men
Bust Magazine: Hollaback! App Seeks More Support
May 19, 2010
Feministing.com: It’s kinda like an app, but it’s a movement
May 19, 2010
Gizmodo Japan: Hollaback!
May 17, 2010
Examiner.com: Hollaback!: fighting street harassment one photo at a time
May 18, 2010
Jezebel: Sexually Harassed? There’s An App For That
May 7, 2010
CNET News: New App Lets You Report ‘Street Harassment’
May 11, 2010
Women’s Media Center: Emily May: A Woman Making History
March 29, 2010
Vocalo Radio: Feminist Wednesday: Emily May of Hollaback.org
March 17, 2010
The Daily Femme: Women Interviews-Emily, Founder of HollabackNYC, online forum encouraging women to call out their harassers
January 29, 2010
BY EMILY MAY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
On Saturday morning, March 6th, 2011, an email went out over our listserve from Inti Maria, our site leader in Buenos Aires. It read, “”I’d like to see her to tell her I would break her asshole with my cock” This is what a JOURNALIST wrote about me today — on the printed page they changed it but he made a POINT of including his original version on his blog.” The changed version wasn’t much better. It read, “break her argument with my cock.”
Tears immediately welled into my eyes. Hollaback/Atrevete Buenos Aires launched only a month ago. I knew our work was controversial, but I never thought it would lead to a public rape threat from a prominent journalist and professor. This wasn’t just an asshole. This was an asshole with a mouthpiece.
I quickly g-chatted Inti Maria. She was shaken, but OK. She decided to leave the country for a few days to be safe.
Both Inti Maria and I knew we had to take action, but what do we do? Our model was premised on the power individual activists who were committed to bringing the movement to end street harassment home. None of our site leaders have funding or on-the-ground infrastructure. It is the beauty of our model, but now I could see it was also a tremendous risk.
I spent a day reaching asking a lot of super-smart people for advice. The advice was across the board, and it struck me that this decision was going to have to be made based on gut instinct. As we weighed our options, I just kept coming back to one of our core organizational values: “we’ve got your back.” We needed a response that showed Inti Maria that we had her back, and showed all our site leaders that if this happened to them, we would have their backs too. We also needed a response that would set a precedent: Hollaback takes violent threats and actions seriously. And if that wasn’t a tall enough order, we needed it to be based in Buenos Aires. Engaging our networks in the United States would quickly lead to a US v. Argentina dynamic that would be ineffective, and just quite simply wasn’t our style or our message.
We decided to launch a petition on change.org in Spanish, with the English translation under it. Our lead blogger Violet wrote it, Gaby who runs Hollaback/Atrevete Mexico City translated it, and all our site leaders united to blog it, facebook it, and tweet it. Ultimately, over 3,500 people signed it from 75 countries.
When the publication that Juan Terranova worked for – El Guardian – wouldn’t budge, Inti Maria, Violet, and Gaby worked with the incredible team at change.org to target the magazine’s two main advertisers. We organized another petition that put pressure on Fiat and Lacoste pull their advertising, and it was signed by over 1,700 people. In historic and precedent setting move for the Argentinean media, both companies pulled their advertising and publicly announced their disapproval of Terranova’s threat. Lacoste wrote, “our brand has suffered from being associated to comments we disapprove of.”
The rest is history. A public apology was issued by both Juan Terranova and El Guardian, and Terranova’s column was cancelled at the request of the magazine’s main stakeholder. And although we don’t take joy in another man losing his job, we are pleased that another journalist will have an opportunity to write a column absent of rape threats. And as for Terranova, hold your sympathy. Rumor has it he’s getting a reality show.
But this story isn’t just about some asshole with a mouthpiece. It is a story of what happens, when people ban together to do the right thing. It is a story of what it means to have the backs of people you’ve never met. It is a story of an incredible team. Inti Maria wrote,
“The other day I made a comparison to a friend between Hollaback and a bee hive. I said I felt like a bee because we are organized, strong, active and when we get mad — we act together. He said, “you are a strong bee,” haha. But the point is I feel strong because we are all strong together. Right now it feels like we’re taking down the bear of institutionalized misogynism in the media!”
Even Juan Terranova agrees with us on this one. In his apology, he wrote, “Hollaback is a powerful organization, influential and organized, and I am sure they will get what they want.”
In nonprofit terms, we are a tiny organization with only one full time and one part time staff member. But in real terms, we are a team of over 100 people in 10 countries and six languages. I know for many, it is hard to understand how Hollaback works without a traditional office space, or a traditional organizing model. It is hard to understand how people who have never met each other can work together to create impact, and why all these tremendous activists are working ten, sometimes twenty or thirty hours a week unpaid.
The only way I can explain it is this: have you ever been part of an incredible team? Was there ever a time in your life when you completely trusted the people you worked with, when you would have done anything for them, when everyone had everyone else’s back, and when those things made you work faster, smarter, and better than you ever thought possible? Chances are you have. It may have been fleeting, but you know what I’m talking about. And chances are you’d give anything to have that feeling back.
But that is what it feels like to be part of Hollaback: we are an incredible team. Independently, we are like bees. Weak, small, and always buzzing that street harassment is not OK. Collectively though, we’re working together seamlessly to make the impossible possible. To bring awareness to an issue that has been ignored for too long, and to lead this movement in our own communities.
I feel honored to be buzzing alongside the most badass bees on earth, and knowing that no matter what comes our way, we will always have each other’s backs.
Rape-desirist Juan Terranova’s hateful writings have just cost his publisher, Argentina’s El Guardian magazine, major advertising dollars from Lacoste:
“Lacoste disassociates itself from the El Guardian journalist’s statements and more generally from any statement offensive to women and men. As we have already indicated, these statements go against our values.
We further confirm that we do not have any future advertising plan with this magazine.”
FIAT has not yet responded. Keep the pressure on:
…and El Guardian doesn’t mind publishing stuff from a neanderthal who calls himself a journalist; that is, El Guardian publishes the hateful, B-grade writings of Juan Terranova. And Juan Terranova publishes rape threats.
Help us out. Tell Fiat and Lacoste their advertising dollars shouldn’t pay for the promotion of hateful, sexually violent scribblings, before the magazine gains any traction. Still in its infancy, El Guardian doesn’t even yet have a website. But as advertising dollars grow, so will this publication—and if they’re publishing this sort of crap now, imagine what they might publish later?
Facebook bomb FIAT and Lacoste and let them know where their advertising dollars are going, and what sorts of writings they are promoting. El Guardian might not mind doing favors for men who publish rape threats but they’ll mind when funding is cut off.