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“Introducing” is an ongoing series in which we ask bloggers, activists, allies, entrepreneurs and assorted Bostonians about their inspirations, motivations, super powers and experiences with street harassment. If you know someone you think we should feature here, please drop us a line!
Brandie is the latest addition to the Hollaback! Boston team – as Communications Coordinator, she’ll be taking the reins as our primary social media maven, and taking a HUGE weight off Britni’s shoulders. We can’t wait to see what we can accompish with her help. Thank you, and welcome, Brandie! –Kate
Hi! I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Brandie and I’m the new Communications Coordinator for Hollaback! Boston.
Tell us about yourself – what are you into? I’m an outgoing queer woman of color who has lived in Boston for the past year. Bostonian through and through, but I have moved around a lot since I was younger. Veganism, feminism, and being part of the LGBTQ community are all very important to me. I love animals, pole dancing, cooking and spending time with my friends. In the past few months I have become very passionate about being involved in empowering women, the LGBTQ community and people of color through various projects and community outreach.
Define your style: Very eclectic! There are times I enjoy the retro look; high waisted pencil skirts, bandanas and pompadours. Other times I enjoy wearing combat boots with fishnets and jean shorts. Other times I wear funky patterns, bright colors and leopard print. Gotta have the leopard print. It’s really a day to day way to express how I’m feeling and who I am.
Favorite Boston fact: Dorchester is the most diverse area in the city. Dorchester represent!
Your favorite place in Boston? Boston Common. There are some great rallies held there! I remember going to the anti war rally when I was a sophomore in High School. That experience was life altering.
Have you experienced/witnessed street harassment in Boston? What stood out most in your memory? Yes, since a young age I have been witness and experienced street harassment in Boston. It’s a very unnerving feeling. I use to be harassed and thought it was a compliment because that is what I was being told to think by my family and friends. “Typical guy behavior.” Even when I brought up the fact that they followed me, got out of their cars to “talk to me” or became angry and aggressive when I either ignored them or told them to leave me alone, some would blame it only clothes. “Why were you walking around late at the night?” What I would later learn was victim blaming. Something that always sticks with me was walking to a corner store when I was 9 years old, excited that my mother gave me a dollar to buy some candy. A man who was in his car beeped at me, slowed down and started to yell sexual things out of his window. Ignoring him I quickened my pace and thought I lost him when I got to the corner store. On my way back home, he appeared again and slowly crept along side me as I walked. While he continued to harass me out of his window, complimenting my thighs and body, I finally yelled, “I’m 9!” He looked embarrassed and (luckily for me) drove off.
What’s your signature response to street harassment – your go-to Hollaback? I don’t have a signature response, especially when I am caught off guard, but I have asked them to repeat themselves. By the time they do, I have come up with an empowering statement to share with them: “My name is not hey sexy,” “Women are not objects, I do not appreciate the way you are talking to me,” “Do not say those things to me, that is street harassment and that is not OK.”
Your superpower is… smashing patriarchy and challenging gender roles.
What are you excited about in 2013? All of the amazing campaigns that Hollaback! Boston is introducing to the Boston community. Take Back the Bar and Safe Spaces. I believe these are great opportunities for ideas to transcend the norm and challenge individual ideas of what is acceptable behavior in public spaces.
What inspires you? The women, people of color, and LGBTQ leaders that have come before me! Those who make a difference in the world every day! Seeing all the amazing news of people rising up against patriarchy, transphobia, racism and sexism.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? To be kind to one another, not to assume the worst. Stand up for yourself, empower women of color and the LGBTQ community by hearing what they have to say, and be allies to all oppressed people.
image credit: Hollaback! Boston
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