Big name media sources don’t often cover the problem of gender-based sexual harassment, or street harassment, so it is a big deal that the Huffington Post ran the story “When Hollered At, HollaBack!” today.
“Whatever the time of day or activity, many women have become accustomed to unwarranted gender-based street harassment. Unwanted cat-calls and even groping — or worse — are almost customary as we go about our daily lives in public environments.
While at times sounding harmless or even deceptively flattering — “Bless you for that body,” “I’m gonna take you home, beautiful” — any single experience of unsolicited commentary or behavior can be rife with racial, ethnic, gender and other implications that are the opposite of positive. Understanding these kinds of experiences as harassment is key at both individual and larger levels.
Without that vocabulary, behavior that is, in fact, unacceptable can become a normalized, daily occurrence, and alter the way we think about our self-esteem and personal safety. Ultimately, street harassment can transform the way we as women walk, dress, commute and live — such that our worldviews assume objectification and disrespect as status quo.
For many, gender-based street harassment has become unexceptional, yet the majority of people have not yet figured out an appropriate response to it.”
Don’t forget, if you don’t live somewhere with an active Holla Back, share your story on this blog via an anonymous online form.