How often do you look in the mirror before leaving the house and think about whether you’ll be catcalled on the street that day? Most women consciously or subconsciously prepare themselves for unwanted attention. Sometimes we try to cover up more of our body in order to draw less attention to ourselves and not stand out in a crowd. Sometimes we consciously make the decision to wear what we want and brace ourselves for the awful catcalling that we know is going to happen. The strange truth is, however, that it doesn’t matter what you wear, some men will still think that there’s nothing wrong with leering at you and shouting at you in the street.
Noa Jansma, a design student from Netherlands, chose to take a stand. She decided to take pictures of people that catcalled her on the streets of Eindhoven and post them on Instagram. Her project #dearcatcallers got over 300k followers in a month and while most people understood the reasoning behind it, others accused her of just wanting attention.
Noa says that at first the idea came to her when during a class discussion she realized that most girls in her university dealt with catcalling on a daily basis, and lots of guys at her uni didn’t believe her when she talked about it. So taking pictures of her cat callers was a way of showing people that catcalling is a real thing and it happens to women on a daily basis. It was also an empowering thing for Noa, these men were encroaching on her privacy so, in a way she encroached on theirs by posting their pictures online. She knows it’s risky business, so she only engaged with these men and took pictures when she felt she was safe (in daylight or surrounded by people), but what was most baffling to her is that most of these men didn’t realize why she was taking these pictures and didn’t feel bad about what they were saying or doing.
1. Mmmmmm beautiful sweet girl
2. After following me for a solid 10 minutes he says: “sexy girl Where you goin’?? Can I come with you ?” …
3. My name is not baby
4. “I know what I would do with you, baby”
5.*Honks at me 3 times with his scooter, approaches from behind and cuts me off* “God bless, When I see you, all I get is wild thoughts, wild, Wild Thoughts!! Darling” *honks again 3 times*