There’s a reason that the conversation about street harassment has been going on for as long as it has — it’s still a very real and very big problem. According to one Stop Street Harassment survey conducted in 2014, 65% of all women reported experiencing street harassment, while 23% had been sexually touched, 20% had been followed, and 9% had been sexually assaulted by strangers on the street.
To combat this issue, the non-profit retailers, Feminist Apparel in tandem with activist group Pussy Division, recently launched an awareness-raising campaign unlike any other. They put up 50 anti-catcalling street signs across New York City and Philadelphia. The goal, according to Feminist Apparel production coordinator Alan Martofel, was to raise awareness “and create some further dialogue surrounding the issue.”
The public art was specifically created to call attention to last week’s International Anti-Street Harassment Week, but now Feminist Apparel is “looking into” expanding the project to other cities, according to ABCNews.
The campaign was also completely funded through the selling of T-shirts via the Feminist Apparel website, which includes designs touting slogans such as “Pizza Rolls Not Gender Roles,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Human Rights” and “Mermaids Against Misogyny.” Several designs are created via the Feminist Apparel team, but they also accept submissions from outside artists. Some of their apparel is specifically aimed at the issue of street harassment (in a cheeky, T-shirt friendly way, of course.)
While Feminist Apparel’s street sign campaign was not exactly approved by the cities (meaning that the signs will only remain up until they are taken down), there’s been a lot of positive feedback as a result of the initiative. “We’ve had so much positive feedback. A lot of people will share harassment that just happened to them and say they are happy to see the sign and feel less alone,” one member of Pussy Division said in an interview with the site Feministing. And this is just the start of more to come in the fight back against street harassment.
“Not everyone agrees that street harassment is a major issue, but the street signs continued a widespread dialogue on the issue and spread it to mainstream outlets,” Martofel told Hello Giggles. “So we were really proud to have been able to accomplish that alongside Pussy Division and see that feminist activism is still fully alive and well. We’re looking forward to doing a lot more projects like it in the future.”
We can’t wait to see what’s next from these collaborators — especially when it draws nationwide attention to such an important, daily issue.
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