She includes the photo and a caption of what they said to her
If you’re a woman, it’s probably happened to you — you’re walking down the street minding your own business, when some bro decides to holler about how sexy you look or how badly he wants to take you home. It’s called catcalling, and as one woman’s incredible Instagram project proves, it’s definitely not a compliment.
Noa Jansma is a 20-year-old student from Amsterdam and she found a way to call out her catcallers while educating the public about why it’s wrong for them to do so. She created an Instagram account called dearcatcallers and for 30 days, she documented the men who yelled unsolicited remarks at her as she made her way through life.
She writes in her first post, “This Instagram has the aim to create awareness about the objectification of women in daily life. Since many people still don’t know how often and in whatever context ‘catcalling’ happens, I’ll be showing my catcallers within the period of a month.”
Her logic for including both herself and her street harassers in the images? “By making the selfie, both the objectifier and the object are assembled in one composition,” she writes. “Myself, as the object, standing in front of the catcallers represents the reversed power ratio which is caused by this project.”
Along with the selfies, she sometimes includes the words that were shouted at her before taking the photo.
Often, you can see she’s wearing earbuds and without saying a word, that should suggest that she’s not interested in random conversations with strange men. But that doesn’t stop a man who believes he has a right to her body and her attention, simply by being in close proximity and attractive to him.
Of taking the selfies with the men, she tells the Dutch paper Het Parool, “They’re not at all suspicious because they find what they do completely normal.”
As much as we hate that Jansma felt this was necessary to begin with (as in, it’s awful that this even happens,) we’re amazed by her courage and refusal to take harassment without speaking up. By turning the lens on those who feel they’re owed her gaze and appreciation for the vile things they say, she’s showing the world what so many women deal with.
The men say things like, “Ey sexygirl, Where are you going alone?” and “Hey girl, where are you going? Where do you live? Think we can do fun things together?”
“I know what I would do with you, baby”.
And of course the time-honored bro classic, a smile request.
It’s infuriating to scroll through the posts imagining how she must have felt. Going past a crowd of men, all shouting at her, must feel awful. And many of us understand because we’ve been there.
Jansma wrapped up the project a few days ago posting her final message.
She writes, “My month of posts has ended, but that doesn’t mean catcallers are in the past as well.” She explains in her last note that she will pass on the account to other women around the world, so sadly, we can stay tuned knowing there will be plenty of material no matter where the next selfie-taker lives.
“It has made it clear that catcalling is still a common occurrence that many of us are dealing with.”