Angelique’s story: I don’t have an “all or nothing” idea about what beauty is

This has been happening to me for 51 years. people come up to me and ask me “what is wrong with your face?” and get mad at me if i don’t want to explain that it was partially paralyzed from medical (birth) malpractice. i don’t see why i ‘have’ to repeatedly talk about that; it happens before anything about me is asked, as if that’s all there is to me, period. my family didn’t raise me to think of myself as ‘wrong’ simply because of that incident, and i have gone ahead and tried to enjoy and live my life like anyone else. when i look in the mirror, i can appreciate my features; i don’t have an “all or nothing” idea about what beauty is, much less what an ‘acceptable’ human body is. this seems to be really lost on some people. i’ve noticed that those who don’t act as though i ‘must’ explain my body to them are generally positive in their attitude about life overall, and can make thoughtful remarks rather than presumptuous ones about me (such as “you must hate yourself/want to commit suicide/be in denial if you are happy, successful, have relationships with guys, etc.” what can i say to those people to make it clear i deserve as much respect as an individual as anyone else?

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HOLLA ON THE GO: New submission from phone app

A guy yelled and whistled at me while riding my bike home from work. I’m an RN at a community health center and try to treat every patient with respect. I expect the same from my community.

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Paige’s Story: I wasn’t “asking” for this

I was walking from the subway to my apartment in the pouring rain. It was really hot out, so I was wearing a relatively low-cut yoga top and pretty short shorts. I wasn’t wearing makeup or trying to flaunt my body in any way. It was just hot out. A man on a bike (I’m guessing in his 30s) rides past me and says, “Nice.”

I wasn’t “asking” for this. I’m infuriated that this man couldn’t control himself, ESPECIALLY because he was on a bike and therefore didn’t expect a response from me.

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A week in our shoes: TURNING UP THE HEAT EDITION

Hey Hollabackers!

If you remember a few weeks back, we got a grant to do some strategic planning at our first ever board retreat at the Omega Institute.  Check out the video they did on all the organizations that were invited!

Women Serving Women Summit 2012 from Omega Institute on Vimeo.

Now, for some updates:

Our site leaders win funding! Congrats to our Hollaback sites in Czech Republic, Philly, Baltimore, and Croatia for winning $1k towards their efforts to combat street harassment from Worldwide Visionaries.

Jezebel’s 5th birthday, and we got honored! The official announcement will be up on Jezebel next week, but for now check out this super cute picture of me and our interns (from left to right) Rikera, Sunny, and Natalie from the party last night.

Our 6th class of Hollabacks are in training! They include:

Sheffield (in South Yorkshire)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Lima, Peru
Melbourne, Australia
Quito, Ecuador
Victoria, (BC) Canada

Their webinar on how to localize the movement through on the ground activism takes place tomorrow.

Knight Civic Media Conference in Boston! I was honored to be invited. Check out the speaker videos, here.

Shout-out and profiles! This week I was profiled by SPIN magazine and Ashoka’s Changemakers, and we got awesome shout-outs from Scenarios USA, Sadie MagazineFrance 24 Observer, and Days of Pink Tumblr. The more media attention we draw to street harassment, the quicker people learn that street harassment is not OK!

Remember: all this is possible because some bold people (perhaps you) told their stories.  Let’s keep sharing our stories and keep growing this movement.

HOLLA and out —



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Street Harassment, Illustrated

Cross Posted from HollaBack! Boston

We spend a lot of time talking about street harassment – but sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words. From the mighty pen of Jess Finkanother illustration of street harassment.

Here’s wishing you a sunshine-y and harassment-free weekend!

image credit: Kid With Experience


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HollabackPHILLY’s Subway Ad Campaign was just funded!

Cross-posted from Hollaback! Philly

We are so excited to announce that our proposal for a two month advertisement campaign in both Philadelphia subway lines was just accepted! Check out our winning proposal here.

Below is our video intro to the project!


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Take the Healthy Masculinity Challenge Today!

The HMAP Challenge:

Don’t we all love lending our support to a valuable cause? As a Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP) Ally, Hollaback! has done just that through the social media world.


But HMAP is more than Facebook posts and Tweets advocating the idea of healthy masculinity—it’s about starting a necessary conversation in society and making a difference. And despite the great advantages and global connections social media provide, we can’t forget about the power of direct, one-on-one communication.


That’s why Hollaback! is encouraging you to take the Healthy Masculinity Challenge. All you have to do is talk to two people about healthy masculinity. It’s a conversation we should all be having, and a great way to prepare for the Healthy Masculinity Summit, October 17–19, in Washington, D.C.

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HOLLA ON THE GO: new submission from phone app

An older man approached my female friends and I and started hitting on my middle, Asian friend. Perhaps because she was smallest. He said things like “just because you are wearing cool colors (she was wearing a blue shirt) doesn’t mean you’re not hot. You might be the hottest one here.”

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Happy Birthday, Title IX!

This week, our nation celebrates 40 powerful years of Title IX, the federal law most famous for increasing female access to school athletic programs.  Although the landmark law has certainly impacted school sports, the reach of Title IX is vast:  it mandates gender equity in every educational program that receives federal funding.

Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, and states: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.  Agencies covered by the law include approximately 16,000 local school districts, 3,200 colleges and universities, and 5,000 for-profit schools as well as libraries and museums.

Today, June 20th, the White House Council on Women and Girls will host an event to celebrate the legislation and discuss its impact and future.   Participants will include:

–        Keynote speaker Valerie Jarrett, Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls,

–        Former United States Senator Birch Bayh, who introduced Title IX in Congress,

–        Laurel J. Richie, President of the WNBA, and

–        U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

What does this have to do with street harassment?

Title IX has paved the way for organizations working for gender equality.  For example, take a look at the achievements of Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), an amazing Brooklyn-based coalition-building and youth development organization which recently celebrated its 10th year of promoting the well-being of girls and women.  One of GGE’s first activities was the creation of Gender Respect Groups for students, which addressed the goals of Title IX and aimed to help girls and boys understand gender equity in an educational setting.  GGE workers soon noticed that sexual harassment was a concern for most of the students, many of whom were all too familiar with being harassed at school and elsewhere.  Ultimately, GGE and its youth activists filmed “Hey…Shorty!,” a documentary about street harassment (also check out GGE’s book, “Hey…Shorty! A guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets,” by Joanne Smith, Meghan Huppuch, and Mandy Van Deven).   The video was presented at a street harassment summit, which also included the screening of Maggie Hadleigh-West’s “War Zone,” another documentary film addressing street harassment.  Several organizations dedicated to ending street harassment—including Hollaback NYC!—joined forces at the summit, facilitating workshops and furthering the discussion on how we can all work towards achieving respectful, safe public spaces with gender equity.

For more information about Title IX:

United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Title IX and Sex Discrimination, available at

National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, Fast Facts, Title IX, available at

National Organization for Women, Title IX and Education, available at

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Layne’s Story: “I raised my middle finger right up at his grinning face”

I’m submitting this story here, for the widest distribution possible. It happened to me in Florence, Italy in early June 2012. With summer vacation upon us, many women from different countries will be visiting Italy and I want to warn them of the possibility of this sort of “attack.”

I was wearing a knee-length summer dress, walking with my husband past the Uffizi Gallery, towards the Piazza della Signoria. My husband was walking several steps ahead of me, when I felt hands run up the backs of my thighs and my skirt was lifted up to my waist. It was surreal. A crowd of people laughed as I whipped around to see who had done this. It was a young man with some sort of face paint. I don’t know if he was a “performance artist” attempting to amuse passers-by, or whatever. I did the first instinctive thing that came to me (for better or for worse) … I raised my middle finger right up at his grinning face and then strode away after my husband (who never saw this happen).

I got increasingly stressed out over this incident, remembered the feel of his hands dragging up my skirt – I felt so violated! It ruined the rest of our time in Florence, since I kept thinking I might run into him again, or someone else would try something.

So my warning to all women visiting Florence – wear pants, and be aware that there are some misguided souls out there trying to make a buck.

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