Sunday, September 03, 2006

Shooting Street Harassers (with your camera)

Walking down the street, I’m alive, awake. I'll look at people, notice what they’re wearing, notice if it looks good on them.

[Haley Joel Osmet voice]

I see good-looking people.

All the time.

However, I’ve never invaded their personal space to make the grope, eye-attack, comment/compliment/invite, etc. Anyone’s who’s endured any of the above knows that it’s the feeling of being powerless and victimized that’s the worst part. September’s Ms. Magazine counsels via Hollaback NYC to:

take a photo when men hassle or insult in public... and to make the photo public on

The worst of these photos end up in the "Holla Shame." Interestingly, Holla Back [sic] is collaborating with Blank Noise Project, India. What is the Blank Noise Project about? Well most recently, this:

For some months now the Blank Noise Project team…has
been working on the clothes campaign.... looking to collect a minimum of
1,000 clothes that women were wearing when they were sexually harassed and
string these together in an installation at a public site and will
eventually travel across many cities. The variety of the clothes we're
getting (salwar kameezes to tank tops) defies the notion that by wearing a
particular kind of clothing, a woman "asks for it".

There are bound to be some philosophical reservations such as aren't Holla Back NYC and the other Holla Back chapters promoting a kind of laissez faire vigilantism… what will the Blank Noise Project do if someone sends them an item of offensive clothing--will that particular woman then be deemed as having asked for it… what are the possibilities of redress and reparation if wrongly represented on either site, etc.

But for now, they constitute an energetic, and overdue, step forwards.

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