Street harassment has been part of my existence since I was a young teenager, but it wasn't until I was in graduate school in 2006 that I even learned the term "street harassment." I found the term on the website of the Street Harassment Project (founded in the early internet days of 1999). When I learned the phrase, I was so relieved: there was a name for what I experienced. There were other people who hated it, too.
Here's all the feminist news we have for you this morning!
• Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for giving files to WikiLeaks. He hoped that the documents he leaked would lead "society as a whole to come to the conclusion that wars weren't worth it." [Boing Boing]
• In a bizarre attempt to shut down abortion clinics, a billionaire-backed anti-abortion group urges lawyers to sue abortion providers by sending them an 11-minute DVD. [Mother Jones]
• Victim-blaming has once again gone viral: Photographs of a 17-year-old girl performing oral sex at a concert in Ireland emerged online, creating the slut-shamey hashtag #SlaneSlut while discussions of the men involved are nowhere to be found. [Jezebel]
Grassroots anti-street-harassment group Hollaback organized the event, welcoming community organizers, nonprofit members, and just plain angry folks to share histories and to air out grievances about everyday sexual harassment.
It's clear that at the end of the event that street harassment is all about ownership of space.
• "Still Marginalized": The Root interviewed activist Janet Mock about the discrimination trans people still face in the wake of DOMA's undoing. [The Root]
• In more trans activist news, the Media Literacy Project created an ad to counter the images used in a Chicago teen pregnancy campaign, and it features the slogan: "Trans Men Have Babies Too." [Media Literacy Project]
• The first-ever international event on street harassment, HOLLA::Revolution, is taking place in New York at the end of the month. The conference will include discussions on tech, feminism and street harassment. The facebook page has more details, including a speaker lineup and information on how to purchase tickets. [HOLLABACK]
• The D.C. City Council is trying to pass a "living wage" bill that would force major employers to pay their employees a whopping $12.50 an hour, and Walmart is whining. [Think Progress]
Almost every woman knows why strangers hooting and hollering at people on the street is a problem. More than 80 percent of women experience gender-based street harassment: unwanted sexual comments, demands for a smile, leering, whistling, following, and groping. Many men do, too, especially in the queer community.
Having recently returned to New York from Detroit's Allied Media Conference and two stops in the Midwest on my nationwide book tour, I am feeling reinvigorated by the innovative grassroots organizing work happening all over the country, enabling participation in communities of support and healing. Being a radical activist can be alienating, from both mainstream society and those who broker power in organizations that participate in more traditional types of organizing. Coming into this series I was unsure of how readers might respond to some of my less popular criticisms of street harassment's framing, but given the overwhelmingly positive response, I end this series feeling hopeful about street harassment's future in the grand scheme of social justice.