No Laughing Matter

This morning, DigBoston released its latest cover art: on the surface, timely and cheeky.

upskirting is not just for women // hollaback! boston

Then began the backlash.

As feedback poured in and the Hollaback! Boston team discussed, we were disappointed; making light of harassment and sexual violence, regardless of gender or what a person is wearing, isn’t okay.

It was just Monday that we wrote about legislative updates being just the beginning in changing the norms that condone upskirting and similar violations in public space. We were thrilled at the speed with which the legislature updated Massachusetts’ outdated peeping tom laws, and share the artist’s excitement that the illustrated behavior is now illegal—but especially now, less than a week after those changes, we can’t afford to make light of the very real experiences of victims of sexual harassment and violence in public.

There are so many ways that women and queer folks are violated in public every day beyond upskirts; there are so many ways in which men and trans* and non-conforming folks can experience the very same humiliating, degrading violation depicted cartoonishly, laughably, here; there is so much more work to be done.

Hollaback! Boston needs to respect the stories that are shared with us online, in workshops and at events. Collective storytelling is at the core of our mission, and we are continuously inspired by the courage of everyone who shares their experiences—their fears, their violations, their anger and their vulnerability—with us. These experiences are no joke, and unfortunately, this week’s cover makes light of and minimizes very real violations happening in Boston and around the world.

–The Hollaback! Boston Team

image credit: DigBoston


We actively denounce the notion that street harassment is culturally accepted and that victims somehow "deserve" it. Through raising awareness and sharing experiences, we hope to put an end to catcalling, groping, stalking, public masturbation, assaults, racial slurs, and other forms of street harassment. Because we believe we have the power to create a world where we can feel hot, confident, and badass, while still feeling safe!

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  1. […] asked us to respond to their upskirting cover kerfuffle, and we did: IRE-LAND: A RESPONSE TO LAST WEEK’S DIGBOSTON COVER […]

  2. […] Boston were asked to pen a response piece for DigBoston, a local paper they criticized for their insensitive cover art that made light of the “upskirting” issue that was just dealt with in […]

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