HOLLAWho? Meet Chicago.

Meet Hannah Sanders, the patiently persistent activist fighting street harassment in Chicago, IL. 

Why do you HOLLA? Because a lot of people feel that they can’t or worse–that they aren’t supposed to hollaback at sexual harassment.

I holla because no one else on earth speaks for me. No other person is entitled to sum up my personhood with their own ignorance, to apply arbitrary liberties on my freedoms or ineffable human rights, or to inflict mental or physical abuses.

What’s your craft? My craft is free associaton, of course, as well as some photo and a little digital illustration. I also make exceptional milkshakes.

What was your first experience with street harassment? Being 13 and having grown men inappropriately and freely approach my barely mature/developed best friend with phrases like “would you like a man in your life?” and “would you like me to slam you like a screen door?” This scared me so much! It was like they didn’t see her as 13! They were attracted to her, and therefore, she deserved their comments and attention, and that attention presented itself as sexual violence. I didn’t realize until much later that these men are pretty “normal,” my friend is lovely; it was almost like a compliment to make these comments to her. These men had no one to censor them. There is nothing in our culture saying that you cannot talk to a woman that way, especially a young girl.

Define your style: My personality may come across as mild mannered, I was called “benign” once in high school (she followed her question up with “Do you even know what that means?” And yes, I did.) but I’m actually pretty bossy in the same vein as “I don’t suffer fools gladly.” If we’re talking about the types of clothes that I wear, then I stick to simple things like head- to- toe glitter, Gondolier stripes, and corduroy flares.

Say you’re Queen for the day.  What would you do to end street harassment? I would heavily legislate against any media sources that portray femininity, feminine power, etc. in a derogatory fashion. I would say that misogyny is not only against the letter of the law, but also against the spirt of the law. Life is about dealing with people, and because many of us look to entertainment for how to do this, we are “conditioned” to interact with the world with violently rhetoric language. Women, minorities, LGBTQ individuals, etc. are scape goats. We live in a time where it is perfectly acceptable to discount and shut down women or minorities based solely on the perceived value of their sexual attractiveness. Our culture is extremely critical and unkind to women that behave in any way other than subordinate. I don’t think this is an overly dramatic observation. Addressing the way that women and minorities are represented is the key to equality and a better country.

What do you collect? Lost cat posters…poor little fluffy things.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Be sweet!…and, just be cool…

My superheroine power is…Thunder leg: infinite patience and sturdy walkin’ legs that make thunder! (and rain)

What inspires you? Friends and family, organizations like: Hollaback!, Discover Hope, Team William, Everyone is Gay, and on and on.

In the year 2020, street harassment…will be discussed in schools. Tools to combat harassment (and bullying) will be taught alongside sincere sex positive education. How about in the year 2020, the word “feminist” will not be derogatory. Feminism will be the simple conceptual platform for all acceptable human interaction.

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