Her Classmates Were Skeptical. So She Started Taking Selfies With Men Who Catcalled Her.

"The Instagram has the aim to create awareness about the objectification of women in daily life."

When the subject of catcalling came up in one of Noa Jansma's university classes, she wasn't surprised the other women in the class knew what she was talking about and "lived it on a daily basis," but, per a Buzzfeed interview, she was shocked to find many of the male students either had no idea catcalling still occurs or flat-out didn't believe her.

That's when the design student in Eindhoven, a city in The Netherlands got the idea to start an Instagram account called @dearcatcallers documenting each time she got catcalled on the street over the course of one month. From the end of August to the end of September, the account had nearly two dozen posts, each featuring a photo of the man (or men) who catcalled Jansma and often a caption explaining the circumstances around the verbal harassment.

In announcing the experiment back in August, the 20-year-old wrote, "The Instagram has the aim to create awareness about the objectification of women in daily life."



#dearcatcallers #catcalling #catcallers #feminism

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

Jansma also took an artistic approach to the project, explaining how she planned to structure each picture by placing herself in the foreground and her catcaller in the background so as to "represent the reversed power ratio."

In one of her first posts, Jansma explains how one man followed her for 10 minutes before suggestively asking her where she was going and inquiring as to whether or not he could come along.

#dearcatcallers ... after following me for straight 10 minutes "sexy girl Where you goin'?? Can I come with you ?" ...

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

Though Jansma tells BuzzFeed News she was "fearful" of starting the project because she was unsure how the men being photographed would react, she soon realized most men were proud to have their picture taken and didn't view their actions as a form of harassment. "Most of the time they have their thumbs up, they're happy because they honestly think that they're complimenting me," she explained. "They really didn't care about me. They never realized that I was unhappy."

Indeed, in all of the photos Jansma posted she has an uncomfortable look on her face while the men are typically happy and smiling. Some men, like the one seen below who she writes propositioned her for a kiss, even invaded her personal space. 

#dearcatcallers "hmmmm you wanna kiss?"

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

Even though 23 instances of catcalling in one month may seem like a lot, Jansma says this isn't a true reflection of the number of times she got catcalled because there were a handful of occasions where the harassment occurred at night and she felt unsafe snapping a picture of the incident.

With her month over, Jansma hopes to pass the reins to other women around the world. "I'm not the subject. The subject is catcalling," she concluded to BuzzFeed. "I also want to show that this happens around the world. But I want to make sure that responsible women do it, because what I do is a bit risky."

#dearcatcallers

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

Elle reports that, according to researchers with anti-harrassment group iHollaback and Cornell University, 84 percent of females have been catcalled by the time they turn 17, and 13 percent of women are exposed to it by age ten. What's more? Of the approximately 16,000 women across 22 countries the researchers surveyed, more than half said they had been groped or fondled in public.

And as Jansma surmised, catcalling does differ around the world. For example, in places like New York City that type of street harassment is rampant and not unlike what Jansma experienced, but in New Zealand, where catcalling is a punishable offense, the practice is virtually non-existent. 



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