Being catcalled or harassed in public places is something many women experience, and they may not always know how to deal with it. This Dutch woman came up with an ingenious way to express to the world just how it made her feel.
Noa Jansma, a 20-year-old student from Amsterdam, Netherlands, decided to share a powerful message to the world through Twitter. For a while, she had considered the idea of doing a project involving taking selfies with all the catcallers she came across, but it was not until she was harassed by two men on a train that she made up her mind to actually do it.
For a month, she took selfies with nearly every man who catcalled her and posted them on an Instagram account, which she named Dear Catcallers. Through this project, she hoped to reach other girls around the world. In just one month, she had built up a collection of 30 posts and attracted over 45,000 followers.
The selfies were not taken in secret; she asked permission from her catcallers and they were happy to do it—as we can see from their grinning faces. The first man she asked for a selfie replied “with enthusiasm,” Jansma told Het Parool.
Throughout the one-month project, only one man asked her why she wanted to take a selfie.
“They’re not at all suspicious because they find what they do completely normal,” Jansma said.
But by no means did she document every catcaller encounter she had; she said that on some occasions, either the man had already left before she had a chance to get a photo, or in some situations, she didn’t feel safe enough to even ask for a selfie.
Apparently, as of Jan. 1, 2018, such forms of street harassment will be illegal in the Netherlands, and violators will be subject to a fine of 190 euros (US$220). Although Jansma feels such a law might be hard to enforce in practice, she feels it is a step in the right direction, a “symbolic” gesture. “I think that’s good,” she added.