New Yorkers holla back

A new photoblog turns the tables on street harassers.

Topics: Broadsheet, Love and Sex,

We couldn’t let the day go by without calling out the great Holla Back NYC, a community blog dedicated to shaming the city’s legions of street harassers. (Thanks also to Feministing for showing us the way!) The site’s rousing tag line encourages catcall recipients to talk back: “Holla Back NYC gives New Yorkers the right to Holla Back at street harassers. Whether you’re commuting, lunching, partying, dancing, walking, chilling, drinking, or sunning, you have the right to feel safe, confident, and sexy, without being the object of some dickwad’s fantasy. So stop walkin’ on and Holla Back!”

Site visitors can post any objectionable remarks they’ve heard to the Holla Back reel, along with — and here’s a digital-age idea I can get on-board with — camera-phone pictures of the offenders.

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Given that being on the receiving end of some yahoo’s nasty, unsolicited feedback can be an isolating and scary experience, this take-back-the-streets community forum seems like just what the doctor ordered. But turning the tables can be a complicated thing — when Holla Back launched last month, it came under fire for accruing posts that struck readers as racist and homophobic (read Wikipedia’s account of the situation here). The site responded by stepping up its editing policy and issuing posting guidelines discouraging racial commentary, as well as offering some holla-back safety reminders. Listen in on the hollering or add some of your own here.

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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