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Hollaback NYC is the founding blog of the Hollaback movment: http://hollabacknyc.blogspot.com/

What Hollaback is, is a place for women to post their experiences of street harassment and cell phone photos of the host of ass-grabbers, "Hey, Baby"s, and chronic masturbators they encounter in every day life while attempting to be female in public. There are several Hollabacks now, including Washington DC, Chicago, the Pacific Northwest and London, among others. This is a valuable, worthwhile creation, this Hollaback thing, and I approve.

In the last few months, Hollaback's been raising money to get an iPhone app made that will allow women to nearly instantaneously post photos of creepy dudes who harass them from their iPhones. They did get the money, the app will be out in July. Reactions have been mixed to this news, and predictably, most of the negative reactions have been from guys who just know that vindictive bitches are going to be out there taking pictures of innocent Dudez, who were minding their own business and not being sexist jackholes at all, and posting them just because they can.


Ok, here's the thing. If you're worried that your picture could turn up on a Hollaback site, that's probably because you KNOW that you do actionable shit that offends and/or frightens women on a regular basis. My husband's not worried about turning up on that site. Probably because he's not a dick. A buddy of mine once got into a fight with a dude who said, "I'm sick of people flipping me off when I'm driving." My buddy's response was, "Well, then, maybe you should quit driving like an asshole."

If you're worried about winding up on a Hollaback site, maybe you should quit being a dick to women. It's that simple.

And if you don't understand why street harassment even as banal as "Hey, baby!" bothers and frightens women, you have a lot of reading to do. Start with Schroedinger's Rapist: http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/ and my response to it on the CA NOW site: http://www.canow.org/canoworg/2009/10/schrodingers-rapist-and-why-it-doesnt-say-what-you-thought-it-did.html

But back to what was the original subject/inspiration of this post.

Reading the Hollaback sites, particularly the ones from big cities (NYC, Chicago, Washington DC, LA), the one thing I noticed was that a lot (and I mean a LOT) of the women posted pictures of Latino/Hispanic guys. Several women, many of them Latinas, said that they hated saying it because it made them feel racist, but that most of the guys who harassed them were Latino.

I had to stop and think about that, because I didn't think I'd ever been street harassed by a Latino guy. Ever.* I've had a few hit on me very, very respectfully and leave off with a smile when I said, "No, thanks," but nothing like the women in these other cities experienced. Then it dawned on me.

I live in/near/surrounded by Redneck Chivalry. I've spent most of my life in the west, in areas that might have a big (biggish) city, but for the most part are surrounded by rednecks. Boise is just a small town with a lot of people, and Seattle, while it may be Liberal, is surrounded by rednecks, tons of them. And Redneck Chivalry demands that white women be respected by brown guys, or big, thick, cornfed redneck dudes will beat the shit out of them. What the woman or girl thinks or wants about the situation matters not one tiny bit, either.

Granted, that's about as "chivalric" as Redneck Chivalry gets. Trust me, the most disgusting examples of street harassment I've ever faced have come from big dumb redneck douchebags in jacked up pick up trucks with more lights on them than your average runway. So, it doesn't mean no street harassment (not by a long shot), it just means a different flavor of it. And that because of the inherent racism of the area, that Latino guys "aren't allowed to play."

Now, if we could just get another group who'll beat the shit of big, thick, cornfed redneck dudes... I'm kidding. Sort of. Ok, I'd like to be that group.

So, there, you have my two cents on why I have a different experience of street harassment than women in other cities.

*Trust me, I'm not ruling out the possibility that said guys just don't find me cute. But we all know that Street Harassment isn't a compliment, or we should by now.


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October 2012

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