HOLLAWho? Meet Dresden.



Meet Mirjam, who in addition to being a student and a teacher, fights street harassment, one changed mind at a time, in Dresden.

Why do you HOLLA?  Because enough is enough. Everyone should feel safe in their own skin and in their own city. No matter what. Other people are not there for you to objectify and judge. The next generation should not have to fight this battle all over again.

What’s your signature Hollaback?  Usually an evil “don’t mess with me” glare, sometimes a growled “Wow, you’re so clever.”

What’s your craft?  Trying to make the world a better place with deconstruction. I’m a part-time PhD student, part-time teacher of literary studies.

HOLLAfact about your city:  For all its conservatism, Dresden has a lot more queer and feminist activists than one would think. Grass-roots organizing, that’s where it’s at.

What was your first experience with street harassment?  Probably this very crappy guy who asked me whether I wanted to suck his **** when I was walking home one day. I was 12 and had no idea how to react. The experience left me feeling awfully alone and powerless.

Define your style:  Quiet at first, but alert at all times, I will speak up loudly even scream when it matters. People usually don’t see me coming.

What do you collect?  Nay-sayers. People who tell me I cannot do something are pretty good motivators.

Say you’re Queen for the day.  What would you do to end street harassment?  So much to do, so little time. Change the way the genders are portrayed in the media, in advertising, etc. Give money to organizations who work to raise awareness and who foster respect and acceptance. Make gender and sexuality training mandatory in all schools, colleges, work places, senior citizens’ homes, etc. Pass legislation regarding all forms of gender violence. … and so much more.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?  Empathize more. No seriously, try to put yourself into someone else’s shoes before doing anything, especially before doing harm.

What inspires you?  Little victories, like getting people to reconsider long held truths. When friends or family tell you how they now notice things they haven’t noticed before and you can tell they are slowly changing their mind.  And of course reading about other people’s struggles and victories, nothing can re-charge your activist batteries like hearing success stories from around the world.

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