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Happy Halloween! This week, we’re rounding up a day early, because there’s just so much worthwhile holiday goodness out there.
Don’t miss these women in an amazing and timely spoken word performance! Consider the appropriation of Dia de los Muertos, review a history of blackface, take a look at this vision for a non-sexist Halloween, peruse a student-driven costumes =/= consent campaign for the season, and catch a great list of cheap, easy, last-minute costumes if you’re still weighing your options.
Wishing you all safe celebrations!
video credit: YOUTHSPEAKS
Halloween is almost here, and so is our HOLLAween celebration! Head to the event page to read more about the event and the concept behind it – we hope you’ll join us on Friday at Make Shift to celebrate with DJ Univers-AL, a photobooth, snacks, raffle prizes and BYOB, shame-free fun.
If you’re still unsure of what costume might make the cut, or if you (like me) are forever waiting until the last minute to whip up a disguise, we’ve got a few suggestions.
Feeling sexy? Try a nurse, a firefighter or a ballet dancer! Cheeky, too? Pour over Jillian Tamaki’s Sexy Little Halloween series. This collection from The Society Pages passes cultural appropriation muster, too, and Todrick Hall’s Disney villain adaptation of Chicago is snazzy inspiration.
Perhaps something literary strikes your fancy? Maybe something local and timely – a Boston Strong runner? A bearded Red Sox batter? (We love this #GetBeard guide if you need to paint or sculpt your own.)
It’s possible you’re looking for something a bit more…feminist; Rosie is always a safe (and doable last-minute!) bet, and Bitch and Bust both have some suggestions. You like your revolution with a side of pun? The Toast has got you covered (with some excellent illustrations to boot).
Is the thought of entering a costume purveyor this close to the witching hour enough to scare you off of Halloween entirely? Maybe try your hand at one of Goldie Starling’s incredible facepaint tutorials. (I’m considering the Mysterious Bird Lady, myself.)
In case it is unclear, Should I Dress In Blackface on Halloween has the answer. (Spoiler alert: NO.) For more on why you should not, maybe stop by here. Head over to our HOLLAween resource page for more background, links and the full lineup of anti-harassment Halloween graphics to share.
And, if you happen to occasionally enjoy pedal-powered transport in Boston, give your costume a test run in tomorrow’s Halloween Bike Ride!
See you out there, revelers! What are your favorite costumes this year?
image credit: Hollaback! Boston
I was walking through Central Square and had headphones in. Apparently some guy who was hanging out with his friends started telling me I was cute or something. I wasn’t really paying attention. Next thing I knew he was in my face, following me, saying violent stuff like: “didn’t you hear me you bitch, I told you you were cute. Don’t fucking ignore me you cunt, etc…” There was a girl in his group, about my age, who came over and grabbed his arm and said: “dude, can you cool it?” and pulled him away. He continued to yell at and berate me as she got him to sit down again. No one else in his group did anything.
We kicked off our Friday bright and early with ELEVATE Boston, presenting our platform to one of the Mayoral candidates; we’re meeting with the other next week, and can’t wait to share our thoughts on their plans to elevate our city. Read the pledge, and let the candidates know where you stand!
As you go about your Friday, be sure to catch a Boston recap from Stop Telling Women To Smile, sign a petition to shut down t-shirts advocating rape (tw), recall the reasons for Hollaback!’s #harassmentis campaign and the importance of our inclusion of LGBTQ and other vulnerable populations in discussions of street harassment, consider the United States’ falling ranking for women’s equality worldwide, and absolutely watch this video (also bears a trigger warning).
Go Red Sox, and have a lovely, safe and peaceful weekend!
image credit: Hollaback! Boston
This past weekend, Hollaback! Boston held their first ever comprehensive volunteer training. Among other things, we discussed definitions of street harassment, looked at a timeline of anti-street harassment victories throughout history, compiled various responses to street harassment and practiced methods of bystander intervention. I’ve been working with Hollaback! since May and I still came away with new information. To me, this emphasized the point that activism, with Hollaback! and beyond, is a never-ending process. There will always be more to learn, and we can all be those teachers.
That being said, while I think that attending a formal training workshop is beneficial for many reasons, it’s not the only way to educate yourself. What I mean to say is: if you couldn’t attend our training, don’t let that stop you from interrupting street harassment when you see it. First off, you can check out more of our website. We have tons of information and tips on everything related to street harassment. Is there a question that we haven’t answered? Ask us! Also, remember that we are just one voice among so many organizations. Click on “Getting Help” under our Resources tab to find out about these other amazing advocates.
I’ve had a lot of conversations with my peers recently about intervening in violent incidents. Violence can be physical, emotional or something else entirely. Workplace harassment is a form of violence. Racial slurs are a form of violence. We are taught that if we see something, we should say something. But, for one reason or another, that’s not always how it works. First of all, sometimes intervening can put us in danger. We should always assess the situation before intervening. Putting one’s body on the line is not always what makes the most sense. Second of all, sometimes we assume that someone else will intervene. This is human nature, social psychology shows that, but we should all be making active efforts to get out of this mindset. Assuming that someone else will step in is too risky and has, quite literally, killed people, Kiity Genovese and Connor and Brandon Moore, just to name a few.
However, the third excuse that I hear is one that we can fix right here, right now, with a change in attitude. The excuse is this: people feel as though they can’t intervene because they don’t have the vocabulary or the academic grounds on which to base their arguments. I’ve been guilty of using this one myself. But here’s the secret: IT DOESN’T MATTER! You don’t need to have read the State Department’s report on gender-based violence or be able to quote the latest Feministing article in order to be an active bystander. Using a lack of knowledge or experience as an excuse for not speaking up isn’t fair. It’s not fair to the person being harassed and it’s not fair to you. If you have assessed the situation and you feel safe speaking up, you can always say “Stop” or “Don’t say that” or “Don’t do that.” What you say doesn’t need to be a persuasive essay, and it may not stop harassers in the end, but at least you have marked the moment. You’ve made it clear that at least one person is offended. Moreover, you’ve validated the experience of the person being harassed. To that person, your few words can make all the difference in the world.
It’s one thing if you don’t feel safe, but you should never let an internalized sense of inexperience keep you quiet. I’m here to tell you that you all already have everything you need. If you want bonus stuff, that’s what we’re here for.
image credit: Kate Ziegler
Many thanks to HI-Boston for hosting our volunteer training in their beautiful community-accessible space!
A man on the train was filming two teenage girls. They asked him to stop taping them, but he wouldn’t. So I started filming him. That made him stop, but it also made him angry. He came over to me and started to yell at me and demand that I delete the video. I told him I did, but I did not. He also tried to grab my phone.
Nobody else in the full train did anything. I got off at the next stop.
Using real Google suggestions for popular search strings, this UN Women campaign illustrates gender inequality in stunning form, and we can’t get enough. This selection in particular highlights the perspectives that lead to a culture that normalizes gender-based violence, including street harassment:
“Gender equality is not only a basic human right, but it’s achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies spurring productivity and growth.
“Yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. They are too often denied access to basic education and health care.
“This campaign uses the worlds most popular search engine (Google) to show how gender inequality is a worldwide problem. The adverts show the results of genuine searches, highlighting popular opinions across the world wide web.”
Be sure to click through to see the full campaign! What do you think?
image credit: Christopher Hunt
Be sure to weigh in on Emily Yoffe’s controversial advice to college women, and responses from Ann Friedman and Feministing. Consider what it means to be a woman in public, peruse 10 feminist costume ideas for HOLLAween, chime in with what #harassmentis to you, get to know the women working in comics, and revel in the magic that is these men with motorcycles.
Then, go rock your weekend!
image credit: Hollaback! Boston
It’s official! By popular demand, we’re headed to Allston tomorrow night to take back the bar at Tavern in the Square.
We’ll begin arriving at 8pm to beat the rush, but you can join the group at any point in the evening. Remember: this is not a protest or a confrontational event, just a low-key gathering to create a safe space within a traditionally less-welcoming space. Read our FAQs for more background, join the event on Facebook, and spread the word—we hope you can join us!
image credit: Take Back The Bar
I realized recently that one of the reasons I have noticed personal harassment lately is because I, consciously or unconsciously, work hard to avoid those situations. I wear higher cut tops, I never go to bars and clubs and I make sure my dresses and skirts are longer. In the rare times I have worn lower cut tops or a shorter dress, I notice the eyes on my chest or “up down” glances during my daily walks down my busy neighborhood street and hate it. Then I end up throwing the shirt somewhere deep inside my closet, feeling confused and shamed.
This makes me angry.