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Dear Catcallers | Bringing Awareness To Street Harassment Via Instagram Selfies

By Brittany Smith on November 2nd 2017

cat·call
ˈkatˌkôl/
Noun – a loud, sexually suggestive call or comment directed at someone publicly (as on the street).
Verb – make a whistle, shout, or comment of a sexual nature to a woman passing by.

Ask any woman as to whether or not she has been catcalled at any point of her life and the answer will be “yes” nine times out of ten. Whether it is meant to be complimentary, objectifying or merely for the sake of hearing one’s own voice, a catcall is not warmly received as a term of endearment.

Classic 2.0 “psssst, whoooooop, Can he have your number?” #dearcatcallers

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

Noa Jansma, a 20-year old student in the Netherlands, created @dearcatcallers after engaging in a class discussion about the sexual harassment women face (often on a daily basis). Noa found that many of the men in the class didn’t realize this was happening and some of them went as far as to claim it was not taking place. @dearcatcallers came to fruition as a medium for bringing awareness to this ongoing issue.

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Noa took selfies with the men who catcalled her and put their catcall as the caption when applicable during the month long photo project. She found that most of the men were oblivious to the harassment and actually felt as though their actions were complimentary of her. Some of the men thanked her for bringing awareness to their actions as they didn’t realize the ramifications while others didn’t care about her at all.

slowly following me 2 streets shouting “sexy!” and “wanna come in my car?” #dearcatcallers

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The project picked up steam via Instagram while bringing in over 349,000 followers and opened up a dialog that hadn’t been there before. Noa’s account equipped women with a new platform to engage in and discuss the harassment in an ongoing effort to bring awareness to the issue. The number of comments were often well into the thousands.

“This project also allowed me to handle catcalling: They come in my privacy, I come in theirs… but it’s also to show the outside world that this is happening so often.”

Being catcalled can be very frightening as a woman especially when being alone at night; any comfort of safety ceases to exist. Most catcallers will follow the object of their current attention until they feel as though they are heard without realizing how menacing and harassing it comes across.


With the personal project having come to a close, Noa is opening up her account on a global scale and inviting women from all over the world to participate in the project. @dearcatcallers will continue to bring awareness to this issue throughout the coming months and hopefully educate the masses on the difference between what is complimentary and what is plain unequivocal harassment.

#dearcatcallers

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Brittany is a fashion and beauty photographer who works between NYC, Montana and LA. She photographs the way she has always wanted to feel and believes in the power of raw simplicity. When not behind a camera she can usually be found at a local coffeeshop, teaching fitness classes at the YMCA, or baking something fabulous in the kitchen.
Instagram: @brittanysmithphoto

4 Comments

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  1. Giuseppe Calamita

    The key to success of an initiative like this is to involve all of those episodes where the target is not only women; there is an initiative started in 2005 and articulated in many countries https://hollabacknyc.blogspot.com that helps the victims, not only women, to report and defense any incident.

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  2. J O

    z

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  3. James Ogden

    [James Ogden has deleted this comment]

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  4. Jonathan Brady

    I can’t decide what’s worse, the fact that catcalls actually works (from the male’s perspective) – and don’t delude yourself – it does (I’ve actually seen it more times than I can recall), or that women fall for it.
    Most women just ignore it, roll their eyes, and keep on going. But some don’t. And these a**hole guys are simply playing a numbers game. You throw enough darts at the board, eventually, you’ll hit the bullseye, regardless of your actual skill.
    A woman, I think, has to be in a REALLY bad place to fall for the attention a guy gives her in this manner. But then a guy has to be an incredibly opportunistic, predatory piece of s*** to even bother trying this.
    I think I just answered my own query… men are worse. They should be taught some emotional intelligence and if they can’t (or won’t) grasp it, then let’s just neuter them. The women who fall for this lamest attempt at courtship possible simply need to understand their actual worth.

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