Athens GA, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Duke University, NC, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Flagstaff, AZ, Houston, Iowa City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock TX, Manhattan KS, Muncie IN, New Orleans, New York City, Oneonta, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Providence, Richmond VA, San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, Twin Cities, West Georgia (University)
BY DIANA EMIKO TSUCHIDA
The talented movers and shakers of Hollaback! Brussels have made media waves and incredible political progress in the last two weeks, by capturing the backing of Equal Opportunity Minister P. Smet and Brussels’ Parliament Member Yamila Idrissi in the fight to end street harassment in Brussels.
In recent times, Idrissi has observed a distinct increase in street harassment in Brussels, before, she admits that she would walk down the street virtually carefree, but today she reveals being whistled at, which makes her more and more insecure during her city strolls and very enthusiastic about backing Hollaback!.
Both Smet and Idrissi will head up a groundbreaking, year-long initiative where researchers will map out sexual violence incidents and attempt to unveil the root causes of homophobic and misogynistic attitudes in Brussels.
Idrissi will also give the Hollaback! group a chance to appear at a session of parliament to voice their ”demands,” one of which is that the Minister of Education is present along with Smet. This will be an ongoing struggle but full of exciting potential that leads in the right direction.
So from all of us here at Hollaback! HQ WELL DONE HOLLABACK! BRUSSELS! It is fantastic to see their fearless endeavors creating social change. The only question left to ask question is when will something this awesome come over to the U.S.?
Check out P.Smet talking about the new initiative here.
Hello! I want to share this cover image I made for facebook users. Please feel free to use it and empower yourself and others around you!
Between our first-ever board retreat at the OMEGA institute (which got a Wall Street Journal shout-out!) and the American Express/Ashoka Social Entrepreneur Boot Camp (thanks to the Women’s Media Center for promoting this!), last week was a week of strategy, strategy, strategy. So much strategy (and travel), that we missed writing our weekly update. But this week, we’re back with a bang!
A Warm Welcome! to new staff member Amy Klein and also to Duke students Sunny Frothingham and Rikera Taylor. We super-psyched for you to join our team! We were also happy to have Soapbox’s Feminist Summer Camp interns in our office on Tuesday, thanks for the help!
Out and About. Victoria attended a working group at Barnard College on Thursday led by feminist author, speaker and blogger Courtney Martin, to discuss the impact and sustainability of online feminism.
Hollaback! Around the World. The change making ladies of Hollaback! Brussels have gained the support of Flemish minister P. Smet and Parliament member Yamila Idrissi.
In the Press. I was interviewed by Bandit Queen Radio on Monday, I told them all about the college campus campaign, the revolution and the moving and shaking of the Hollaback! movement. We also got press by Fox News Latino, an interview with the Line Campaign, and a shout-out in Jezebel.
We’ve only got 6 days left in our campaign to end campus harassment — PLEASE DONATE and spread the word! We need all the help we can get!
HOLLA and out —
Join us in our fight to bring Hollaback to 10 college campuses over the next year — and bring an end to sexual harassment on college campuses!
Take a stand against campus harassment and bullying! Send a tweet or status update about our new college campaign and you’ll be entered to win this sweet Hollaback tee!
Dear supporters —
It’s the final countdown. The clock is racing. We’re only 9 days away from our deadline and time is running out. We’ve still got over $20,000 to raise in order to bring Hollaback to 10 college campuses over the next year. In world where 51% of college men admit to sexually harassing their female counterparts, we don’t have time to spare.We know we can do it, and we’ve done it before. But we’ve never done this without you. So today, we’re turning towards you to ask a favor: can you take a stand against campus harassment and bullying? If you can help us, your ultimate reward is a world where campus harassment is no longer accepted as “normal,” and where everyone has a right to education in a safe environment. As a token of our gratitude, however, we’re giving away some Hollaback prizes as well. Every day that you post about our campaign on your social networks, you’ll automatically be entered to win a free t-shirt from Hollaback. We’ll be announcing one winner per day until our campaign ends on June 13th.
Here are some suggested messages, but feel free to come up with your own:
51% of college men admit to sexually harassing their female counterparts. Donate to end campus harassment now: http://bit.ly/JcLZbT @ihollaback
27% of female students stay away from libraries, canteens, and computer labs on campus bc of sexual harassment http://bit.ly/JcLZbT @ihollaback
9% of female students dropped a course or skipped a class in response to sexual harassment. bit.ly/JrpO39 @ihollaback
16% of female students who have been sexually harassed found it hard to study or pay attention in class. bit.ly/JrpO39 @ihollaback
I just donated to @ihollaback ‘s campaign to end campus harassment! Please consider making a donation here: igg.me/p/107514
Fine print: To enter, you must tag us on facebook or twitter and you must include a link to our indiegogo campaign. You can enter as many times as you like. T-shirts are available in men’s or women’s sizes, and will be mailed to you following the campaign.
Thank you for your ongoing support, and for your donations so far! We’ve got nine days to go, and we know that, if we work together, can do this!!!
With hope and gratitude,
Thank you to our supporters so far!
Andrea C Vial
…and all our anonymous donors!
This man was on the bus asking personal questions and harassed two women and put his arm around them even when they voiced discomfort. I stepped in to talk to them and created a non-confrontational distraction. There was a security guard on the bus and neither him nor the bus driver said anything.
I am on the train to Nambour, Queensland, Australia. This creep got on the train and started staring. Blatant staring, not even pretending not to. Then he took two pictures. He left the picture taking sound on his phone on, I think because he wanted me to know what he was doing. I took one back, and then started staring at him so he knew what it was like, and that I wasn’t going to be intimidated. I kept staring. He got off the train shortly after.
Let’s bring Hollaback! to 10 college campuses over the next year! Take a minute to hear Victoria’s campus harassment story and to donate here.
Check out Hollaback! Baltimore chatting with Hollaback Brussels about the revolution, launching and taking back the streets one story at a time.
By Inti Maria Tidball-Binz & Ju Santarosa of Hollaback! Buenos Aires & Sharon Haywood of Adios Barbie & AnyBody Argentina
Every day, as women, we walk the streets, travel to work, visit our families, go out with friends, do our shopping, always knowing there is a possibility that they’ll catcall us, lean up against us/cop a feel in the subway, or follow us. Furthermore, knowing the reality of human trafficking, many of us live with the fear of being abducted off the street. If we have children, we project these fears to our daughters, who are exposed to the same reality.
Today the possibility exists that a stranger can anonymously take a picture of us and then upload it on the Internet for anyone to measure our physical attractiveness. Chicas Bondi, an Argentine Facebook page with the motto, “without posing and without permission,” exploits images of anonymous women for self-promotion. Taken secretly on local transportation, the images of these women, who could be identified by their dress and route of travel (which is also published), are subject to the gaze of thousands. In the context of a lascivious gaze, these women are exposed to a greater risk of harassment and stalking, which can be especially problematic for women who are suffering in or trying to escape violent relationships.
Chicas Bondi promotes this practice among its fans, encouraging them to upload their own photos, creating a culture of digital harassment. The feeling of being photographed in secret, or to discover your own image on Facebook can be extremely unpleasant, as one “chica bondi” described on Facebook: “Well, when I saw that I was in a posted photo, it scared me… and then afterwards, blah! But maybe there isn’t the need to post these photos online… I feel like I’m in a catalog for rapists or other sick people. It was quite shocking…” As so often happens, the social pressure to accept what has happened is stronger than the sense of shock and fear these women may experience.
On Thursday, May 24, Hollaback! Buenos Aires along with several other feminists engaged in a long conversation with the creators of Chicas Bondi (who wish to remain anonymous) in order to discuss how their project was impacting women and society. We described the reality of how women are objectified every day in the streets, in addition to the social pressures to conform to one stereotype of beauty (young, white, thin, wealthy). We reported the page to Facebook, and encouraged our followers to do the same, in addition to having them voice their concerns directly to Chicas Bondi.
Part of the conversation between Hollaback! Buenos Aires and Chicas Bondi.
We ended up extending the following proposal: if the photographer asked women to offer up publication rights to Chicas Bondi before publication, women would then have the right to decide what is done with their own image, thus giving them autonomy over their own body. After a lengthy and indepth conversation with the owners of Chicas Bondi, they committed to asking women permission before publishing their photos, and in return, we agreed to withdraw our unified campaign against the page. We hope that they fulfill their promise and also apply the same measures in any other similar situations.
We have reached an agreement.
Chicas Bondi has promised to ask permission.
Prior to our negotiations, the page published a notice stating that if a woman requested her photo to be removed, Chicas Bondi would do so without issue. It’s important to highlight the difference between this measure and the act of asking permission before posting. Once a photo is in the public domain on the Net, it cannot be deleted; the moment a photo is published online, it can be easily copied and stored by anyone who wishes to save it. It is impossible to know who has a copy or where. Worth noting is that if the photos are posted on Facebook, the location and time of the photo are saved: “When you post things like photos or videos on Facebook, we may receive additional related data (or metadata), such as the time, date, and place you took the photo or video,” even though such data is not made public.
We want to stress the importance of this new measure, even though Chicas Bondi has made it clear that they did not make this choice for us (“us” being Hollaback and all women), but that they have chosen to do so for themselves. Filmmakers have approached Chicas Bondi with a proposal that would require consent of the women featured in the project. Beyond their personal motivations, we do see this as a step forward. Through a joint dialogue and an exchange of ideas and perspectives we were able to achieve greater awareness of gender equality issues.
For the record, Hollaback! Buenos Aires, AnyBody Argentina, and Adios Barbie reject the idea behind the project: it is an expression of sexism which, under the excuse of being artistic, presents women as “decorative bodies” in the public eye, acting as a “things” to be commented on and judged. This is the same concept behind the problem of street harassment. We reject the commodification of the female body as an object existing for the enjoyment of others, to be enjoyed without the essential element of consent. This form of sexism presents women as objects destined to satisfy men, removing autonomy over their own person and body. Why does the photographer feel he has the right to take pictures of women he does not know and share it on the Internet without their consent? What entitles him to do so?
To justify the existence of Chicas Bondi, the owners originally cited the [Argentine] law 11.723, art. 31 which says: “Portraits are free to be published as they relate to scientific, educational and overall cultural ends, or if they relate to facts or events in the public interest or have occurred in public.” Hollaback! Buenos Aires contends that a woman cannot be treated as a “thing” in the public interest. A woman is not liable to be “owned.” We need to stop endorsing the macho concept that, in public life, a woman is public property, and therefore “arguable” at the whim of an observer. Women’s image in society will not change if we ourselves don’t actively take charge of our own integrity.
In our favor, Article 1071 bis of the [Argentine] Civil Code, in seeking the protection of the right to privacy, states: “Whoever arbitrarily interferes in the lives of others by posting pictures, humiliating others by broadcasting correspondence that reveals personal habits or feelings, or in any way disturbing their privacy, and if a criminal offense has not been committed, the offending party must cease such activities, and pay fair compensation to be fixed by the judge according to circumstances; also the aggrieved may order the publication of the judgment in a journal or newspaper.”
We believe that anonymously taking pictures of women and uploading them to the Internet is a violation of one’s right to privacy, and threatens the personal integrity of women photographed. In addition, this kind of behavior reinforces a sexist and backward-thinking society in which the image isn’t just defined by its appearance, it is also defined by the connotations behind the image. The message being sent is that the woman is an object, defined by her passive role, thus leaving her to be exploited or suffer a loss of autonomy.
While the underlying issues remain–the objectification of women, the underlying sexism in this practice, and the way we normalize the violation of women’s rights–at least now, those digitally-captured Argentine women have the right to basic consent. For our part, we will make every effort to monitor the page to ensure that no further breach to the privacy of women occurs.
You can find the original Spanish version at Hollaback! Buenos Aires.