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Apr 25 2008

Fuck You Aussie Perverts

Here’s some good news: Lauredhel of Hoyden About Town has opened up a HollaBack franchise serving Australia’s harassed masses. The “pillocks, numpties, asshats and douchebags of the Australian streets” are hereby on notice.

HollaBack, in case you were on vacation the day Al Gore invented the Internet, is a “global social movement“ consisting of websites that publish the blurry cellphone photos you take of the jagoffs who harass you on the street. You send’em a brief account of your brush with pervitude, then sit back with a pitcher of margs and a fattie while your photo wends its way throughout the World Wide Web. HollaBack also has handy links about street harassment and is entertaining, edifying and deeply gratifying.

Used to be there was only one HollaBack, HollaBackNYC, which is where I sent my photo of ”King Leer.“ Localized HollaBack branches have since sprung up all over the world (see any HollaBack site to find the branch office nearest you). It is my policy to photograph, with intent to disparage, any dude I encounter who wields his manly privilege at me or my posse, and I encourage one and all to do the same.

The scheme is Spinster Aunt approved; it’s non-violent resistance!

For extra credit, check out:

1. sajbrfems’ “52 Acts of Cyberfeminist Creativity,” art related to the HollaBack concept.

2. At HollaBackNYC, Jessica Valenti youtubes (it may as well be a verb; everything else is) a sad tale of subway harassment entitled ”Fuck You Public Perverts.“

26 comments

1 ping

  1. PhysioProf

    Am I allowed to skip the pervitude and go right for the “sit[ting] back with a pitcher of margs and a fattie”?

  2. OM

    And make her stop talking. It is not necessary. No offense. She is awesome.

    I’m offended by you.

    I’m sure you’ll grow to hate me, though.

    Done.

  3. Lauredhel

    Thanks for the shout-out. I’ll hoist a margie at lunchtime. Except it might be a vodka/tonic. Either way. Cameraphones ahoy.

  4. The ecologist

    I was just reading HollaBackNYC (thanks for letting me know about it!); and I am so angry and so disgusted! Arg!

    Just reading those stories makes me want to go kick the guys in the crotch, or break their hand, or elbow (which I am fully capable of doing). I just hope that if that does ever happen to me, I will have the bravado to carry out the thoughts I have now.

    If I ever want to get angry, all I have to do it read your blog!

  5. Twisty

    Invisible, my blog is not, perhaps, the ideal vessel for decanting one’s incomprehensible dream life. Hence the deletions. Sorry.

  6. McPreacher

    I don’t know why this reminds me but does anyone else get irked when a guy talks about “when [he] has kids”? In pretty much every conversation it has come up in, it seems to be a statement of fact that a genetic legacy is his god-given right. It’s even worse when he lists how many he plans on having and when. Fucker, you don’t have kids, you plant them; and guess who says when you can start?

  7. Lara

    I took a picture of some creep on the metro (subway) who kept leering at me almost a year ago. He wasn’t quite leering to the extent that that pervert at the “tiki” bar was, Twisty, but it was harassing enough. I still haven’t uploaded the photo on Hollaback yet.
    Twisty’s account of the leering fuckhead is both angering and hilarious (such wonderful prose, dja know?).
    Reading the Hollaback stories is angering, yet strangely cathartic. It’s like you realize that there are so many women experiencing the same kinds of harassment and sexual terrorism on the streets and in public. Street harassment is certainly a form of sexual terrorism: it reminds women of “their place” in society, that once they are in the vicinity of males, they are their property.
    IBTP.

  8. slythwolf

    Have y’all heard about the Open Source Women Have Each Other’s Backs Project? I say we all get involved in it and try to spread it as far and wide as possible, so the next generation of high school freshwomen getting jerked off at on subway platforms will be able to find some help. You know, just until the revolution comes and dudes stop harassing women in the first fucking place.

    Here’s vito_excalibur’s original idea, and here’s the LiveJournal community where people are coming together to do something totally awesome.

    That reminds me, I have to go suggest that the community add “feminism” to its interest list.

  9. ate

    Thank gosh for this website. I live in Aus and I’ve been wondering if there is a website like this out there. Every single day (unfortunately, that isn’t an exaggeration) i get some car rushing past with some dude leaning out the window and screaming abuse at me. In broad daylight on a main road a car full of men think it is acceptable to yell ‘show us your cunt, slut’ out of their car window. Being out at night means I get it at least three or four times and even more graphic language. I might not have time to get my cameraphone out but at least there will be somewhere to start logging license plates.

  10. PhysioProf

    He wasn’t quite leering to the extent that that pervert at the “tiki” bar was, Twisty, but it was harassing enough.

    Obviously there is a lot more to that dude’s leering behavior than could be revealed in the single photograph shown in the “tiki bar leerer” post. But for those of us who have little experience being leered at by pervy dudes, can someone explain whether there are some features of the tiki dude’s behavior that are specifically identifiable in the photo itself as leering?

  11. Twisty

    PhysioProf, the chief indicator is that he’s leering.

  12. PhysioProf

    I’m not trying to be stupid, although I may be succeeding effortlessly.

    To me, he just looks like a goofy dork with mirrored glasses who is looking in a direction oblique to that of the photographer. What is it about his expression that indicates he is leering?

  13. Lauredhel

    Every single day (unfortunately, that isn’t an exaggeration) i get some car rushing past with some dude leaning out the window and screaming abuse at me.

    And the slow-down drivebys, who idle just behind you at walking pace, leaving you wondering just when they’re going to jump out and attack. Then they hoon off, chortling loudly at your fear.

    Did you hear about the train-stalker dude in Italy who just got busted? Forty euros and a suspended sentence, but it’s a start. Salon is a festering carbuncle of OMGThoughtCrime!!!, of course.

    I have one positive experience with law enforcement to report. When I was living alone a few years back, a dude parked his car across from my house (it was a side street away from anywhere that he may have been waiting for someone), and just stayed parked there in his car. For two hours. I got the creeps, and called the cops, who turned up inside of ten minutes, recorded his details, and moved him along.

  14. Chocolate Tort

    Great website, though it’s a crying shame that it needs to exist. We all know what insidious social order to blame. I have to say, though, that I’ve experienced MUCH less harassment here in NYC than I did in my happy little (relatively speaking) college town. Here, people in cars seem to honk mostly at other people in cars, in the vain hope that doing so will get them wherever they’re going faster.

    There, I swear that the first night the college kids came back in the summer, I must have been honked at ten times; during the college kid-less days of summer, it was rare to get honked at once. Back when it used to be just one, I have to say I didn’t mind it, but when it happens over and over again, it gets really intimidating.

    And geez, that’s just honking and incomprehensible yelling. Anyone who has the presence of mind to take a picture after more serious harassment has my undying respect. I’m sure I’d be alternating between fury and terror and unable to operate my phone camera.

  15. mearl

    Jesus H. Christ. I thought my life was bad enough with the guys who pulled over in a truck and politely asked if I wanted to come party with them, then when I said no and walked off, apologised when I passed them parking their truck further down the street, acknowledging that they may have unintentionally scared me. I know patriarchal misogynistic shit happens all over the place in Canada, and in Winnipeg where I live, but it seems to be on a much lower scale than in bigger cities and other countries. Maybe I’m just not the target of it anymore, since I have reached the ripe old unsexy grizzled age of 29, but maybe some Winnipeg guys are more polite (read: they do their misogynistic crap in private or on the net).

    This leads me to my bright ideas: I’ve mentioned this in comments before, but I think it may have been related to the subject of assholes splashing random people by driving through puddles next to them. For this purpose alone, I carry a good-sized rock wherever I go walking. It’s in my pocket, ready to go, and if some prick decided to leer or yell out a window at me, he’d be needing some ketchup for his rock lunch in very short order. Guys love their cars and don’t like dents. They probably don’t like having rocks thrown at their heads, either, especially if they aren’t expecting it and are focused on the great sense of accomplishment and power that their leering brings to them.

    If no rock is available, there is always the Larry David approach. Like George Castanza’s father on Seinfeld, you can stand and scream about what the guy is doing with the sole purpose, not of angering him, but of embarrassing him. For instance, you point at the guy who is publicly masturbating, and yell to everyone while looking directly at him, “THIS IS WHAT WE’RE DEALING WITH, PEOPLE! HE PULLS HIS PANTS DOWN AND HE EXPECTS US TO LOOK AT THAT PATHETIC EXCUSE! THE MAN IS SICK IN THE HEAD! HE’S KIDDING HIMSELF!”

    Why get mad when you can get even? Fear is exactly what they want, and why would you fear some jerk who’s got his pants down? I would just consider a better opportunity to kick him where it hurts. There is less obstruction, and it would be hard for him to defend himself with his pants around his knees.

    And then the problem of leerers in cars. I posted my experience with the “titty-fuck” guy somewhere on this blog. I just stood there and calmly memorised the guy’s license plate number while he harassed me, then called the police on him. It’s a shame that I didn’t have a rock on me at the time, otherwise he would have subsequently been known as the one-eyed titty-fuck guy. Some people might say that the more calls coming in about harassment, the less the cops will take it seriously, but you’ve got to do something. That is, until we all agree to take matters into our own hands, and have full-scale organised action to combat this.

    Finally, camera phone photos are a great option if you don’t feel up to doing any of the above. Direct action is always a good one, though.

  16. Lara

    “Why get mad when you can get even? Fear is exactly what they want, and why would you fear some jerk who’s got his pants down? I would just consider a better opportunity to kick him where it hurts. There is less obstruction, and it would be hard for him to defend himself with his pants around his knees.”

    Mearl I totally respect you for your, heh, hands on approach to dealing with harassers. Kicking their asses is always good. But if a woman feels threatened or scared by some asshole or creep with his pants down in public, can we blame her? I tell ya, if I were walking alone at night, or even in the day time, and some disgusting man pulls down his pants, exposes himself, or masturbates in front of me (OBVIOUSLY stuff like this is done with the intent of harassing/terrorizing you) I would be scared or shocked, probably too shocked to do anything at first. It’s just not something that should be expected when you’re walking to fucking German class, ya know? I would love to have the opportunity to see his butt wooped. I am just saying that considering the context of misogyny and sexual terrorism that women deal with daily the mere sight of a man exposing himself intentionally in public can definitely be threatening.
    I’ve got my camera phone. If worse comes to worse, yeah, the rock throwing idea is good. That way you won’t have to get close to the creep.

  17. ate

    PhysioProf:imagine you were somewhere, anywhere, and a person was staring at you without quitting. They just locked their eyes on you and wouldn’t look away. Would that not make you uncomfortable? Now imagine you’re a female and you get that shit from men all the time, everywhere, from a mixed bag of sources. Maybe to you he’s ‘just looking’ but when you’re me men staring at you for even the slightest period of time is intimidating, occasionally frightening and absolutely uncomfortable. There is no such thing as men ‘just looking’ at me. It feels like leering and it is leering.

    mearl: Love the rock idea but not always possible, particularly if they’re gone by the time you look up. Once a fairly distinctive car did the old harassing yell out the window at me. I saw it a few days later parked in a street near my home and put a brick through it’s window. Not the most mature nor reasonable nor particularly useful act of my short life (and with the potential to get me in a whole lot of trouble) but intensely satisfying none the less. With anything more directly confrontational though I always chicken out… I guess from the fear that they might stop their car and get out and attack me / stop masturbating at me and attack me, etc.

  18. Ron Sullivan

    Pepper spray really really hurts on the naughty bits.

    Just sayin’.

  19. Lauredhel

    Mearl I totally respect you for your, heh, hands on approach to dealing with harassers. Kicking their asses is always good. But if a woman feels threatened or scared by some asshole or creep with his pants down in public, can we blame her?

    For people who think women just need to step up and throw rocks, consider that a lot of women are in absolutely no position to even begin to think about physically defending themselves. Walking around the world with a tiring, hurting chronic illness and a baby in my arms sure brought that home.

    Making a decision not to increase the risk of you or your loved ones getting raped and/or killed is a perfectly rational way to go about life. It’s not collaboration.

  20. PhysioProf

    PhysioProf:imagine you were somewhere, anywhere, and a person was staring at you without quitting. They just locked their eyes on you and wouldn’t look away. Would that not make you uncomfortable? Now imagine you’re a female and you get that shit from men all the time, everywhere, from a mixed bag of sources. Maybe to you he’s ‘just looking’ but when you’re me men staring at you for even the slightest period of time is intimidating, occasionally frightening and absolutely uncomfortable. There is no such thing as men ‘just looking’ at me. It feels like leering and it is leering.

    Got it. Thanks for explaining that.

    And I can sort of see that in Twisty’s photo. The dude doesn’t appear to be incidentally glancing, but rather purposefully looking. His gaze is not in transition from one spot to another, but seems fixed.

    Is that what you see that is characteristic of leering?

  21. PhysioProf

    Oh, fuck! Twisty, if you see this comment, can you close the blockquote tag in the previous comment after “It feels like leering and it is leering.”?

  22. Twisty

    “And I can sort of see that in Twisty’s photo. The dude doesn’t appear to be incidentally glancing, but rather purposefully looking. His gaze is not in transition from one spot to another, but seems fixed.”

    Dude, “leering,” as practiced by the referenced leerer, was, I thought, explained rather well in the post that accompanies the photo under discussion. O why do I bother writing these things?

    PS I could not detect any blockquote issues. I love it when shit fixes itself!

  23. PhysioProf

    Dude, “leering,” as practiced by the referenced leerer, was, I thought, explained rather well in the post that accompanies the photo under discussion. O why do I bother writing these things?

    Yeah, it was. Sorry for being an oblivious fuckwit!

    PS I could not detect any blockquote issues. I love it when shit fixes itself!

    The indented quote should end after “It feels like leering and it is leering.” At least for me, the whole rest of the comment is also indented.

  24. Lara

    “For people who think women just need to step up and throw rocks, consider that a lot of women are in absolutely no position to even begin to think about physically defending themselves.”

    Lauredhel, in quoting me, I hope you didn’t misunderstand my post as saying that women should throw rocks?
    I could just be tired :P

  25. mearl

    ate: props for the brick.

    And Lara and Lauredhel, I understand your points completely, as I had this exchange in the comments section once upon a time with a respected co-Blamer, LMYC, who brought up the issue of women who were physically challenged, elderly, had kids with them, etc. I’m still single, as well as tall, scary, and I’ve always worked out, so the perspective I’m coming from IS biased. But please note that I offered a few non-rock-based suggestions, and I fully support collective action such as photo-taking and stepping in for other women even if I don’t know them. Any action is good action. In reference to the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Program (thanks for the links!), I was a bit surprised, because I assumed everyone operated under this mandate. I always have. It’s one of the inherent traits of a shit-disturber ;)

  26. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Wish I’da had a camera phone when I was nine and some perv waved his weenie at me. Even more, I wish I’da had a bazooka to silence the wagging, clacking tongues of the police who made me feel like it was All My Fault when they responded to my mom’s frantic phone call.

  1. HollaBack « mirabile dictu

    [...] For an explanation of Hollaback see this post at i blame the patriarchy [...]

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