Photographer Takes Pictures Of Men Who Catcall Her To Emphasize It's A Daily Issue
New York City photographer Caroline Tompkins doesn't let catcalling scare her. Instead, she simply snaps her catcallers' photos and walks away.
The 22-year-old Tompkins told Al-Jazeera that, for her, it's about an exchange of power. If men objectify and sexualize her without her consent, she will take their images without their consent.
When I first moved to New York from Ohio, I found myself feeling incredibly unsafe just walking to school, walking to work… I felt myself needing to fight back from that, at least for my own sake, to feel like I was doing something about it.
Tompkins reports harassment that ranges from physical grabbing to violent, sexual dialogue.
The series, called “Hey Baby,” aims to change the perception of catcalling by showing the everyday situations in which it takes place.
Tompkins says that catcalling is not only offensive, but it makes women concerned for their safety.
“Hey Baby” is an extension of the way she feels when men encroach upon her space.
The images are sometimes fuzzy and feel claustrophobic.
It's the same feeling as whirling to catch a glimpse of the man who whistled at you.
Tompkins believes that the line between harassment and sexual violence is often thin.
“I have been grabbed, I have been surrounded by men at night walking home.”
“It's anything from ‘hey baby' to where they are going to put their genitals on me, what kind of babies we would have together.”
“There is never a break, it's relentless.”
Female voices are speaking against street harassment from across the globe.
One anonymous New Yorker runs a blog called “Harassment of New York,” documenting the comments she hears on a daily basis.
A trending Twitter tag called #NotJustHello invites women to explain how catcalls make them feel.
A comment made on the street never stands alone.
It's the implications of the “hello” that make women afraid for their safety.
Mikki Kendall, one of #NotJustHello's creators, tweeted that catcalling won't end until both genders understand it as sexual harassment.
“Can we stop pretending street harassment is about dating?”
“It's never that. Never. If it was you wouldn't be screaming profanity.”
Hollaback! is another recent initiative started by women in the name of ending street harassment.
The free app tracks GPS location, enabling users to submit where and when they've been harassed with a few simple taps.
Users can submit a story of harassment or see those of the women near them.
The Hollaback! app records important data about the frequency of harassment that may help end it one day.
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