Women's Issues

Women Are Taking To Tumblr To Share Photos Of What They Wore When They Were Catcalled

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Catcalling and street harassment have been gaining traction in social media and the news lately, as women are becoming more open about their experiences. For example, the brilliant viral video of an actress walking the streets of New York while documenting the catcalls, come-ons, and threatening behavior she experienced in a single day has received millions of views and plenty of worthwhile attention. While openly talking about harassment like this probably won’t ever stop it from happening, it’s a great way to bring attention to it while empowering women at the same time.

Which is why a woman named Kati Heng started a Tumblr page called But What Was She Wearing: Stop The Cat Call where women are sharing photos of outfits they were wearing when they were catcalled. Because this is a question a lot of people ask in response to women’s frustrations over street harassment. Why? I don’t know, because people are ignorant. And sexist. Which only makes the images and stories these women share even more powerful. She opened up to Buzzfeed about why she decided to start her page.

“So often, when women try to talk about the harassment we face, we’re met with that stupid question, ‘What were you wearing?’ as if WE are the ones responsible for what happened to us,” Heng said. “By having the selfies of what we were wearing upfront, it takes the question away, forcing people to get past it and just read the stories.”

Insert applause emoji right here, please. Here are a few of the stories women have shared so far:

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Yesterday, a man I didn’t know called me the “c” word inside the grocery store. Why? Because I didn’t acknowledge him in the parking lot going into the store when he yelled “Hey honey, nice ass!”

Lovely. Just…lovely. And sadly, all too common. Why would ANYONE think that’s acceptable? Seriously.

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As I made my way from my red line stop to my apartment, someone yelled from their car window: “I bet your pussy tastes really good!”

Raise your hand if you feel like throwing up now. Because I sure do.

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I work at a theme park. These are my uniforms. Weekly, men of all ages walking by will call, “Hey girl, how you doin’? I like your dress” and other things along those lines.

I mean… REALLY? If people aren’t yet convinced that what a woman was wearing has absolutely no impact on harassment, I don’t know what will convince these idiots after that.

The other thing these stories have in common is the fear a lot of these women felt, because more often than not the harassment didn’t stop after the initial catcall. They were either followed or continuously harassed when they didn’t acknowledge their harassers. It’s frightening and it’s outrageous and it’s got to stop. Heng also told Buzzfeed that girls under the age of 18 often receive the “worst” harassment because they leave school still wearing their uniforms. UGH. Nothing I didn’t already suspect, but still. They’re effing students, WHY WOULDN’T THEY BE WEARING THEIR UNIFORMS. Grossly uncalled for.

The purpose of this project is so women can “share their stories, not swallow them,” according to Heng. Because catcalls aren’t compliments. It’s a reminder that a large part of the male population still only views women as sexual objects. If you’d like to particpate in this project, you can send your photo to [email protected]

(Lead Photo: Tumblr)