Broadsheet, The Blog

Two Lady Artists with Bees in Their Bonnets

22 June 2006

Take Back the Day

It's been around a while; we don't know how it escaped our notice. It should be clear to anyone reading this by now that hollabacknyc would be our cup of tea and we would make it our business to learn about it almost before it existed. So although we were caught snoozing, we'll make up for it now.

Because it's summer in New York, and 'tis the season we ladies must choose between modesty and comfort. As we re-adjust to having quite a bit of our bodies exposed as we go about our daily business, we must steel ourselves for the Beavis and Buttheads who have come out from their dark caves to remind us that we exist for their visual pleasure.

Even broads who've been around the block a few times find that often you can't walk around the block in peace. But thanks to Hollabacknyc, there's an antidote to the fury of being cat-called.

The Hollabacknyc ladies are fighting back with their camera phones and you can too. Keep your camera at the ready as you stroll by that construction site or klatch of drunken idiots and tell them to say cheese. Send the delightful results to and perhaps the jerk will end up in

Yes, we know it's vigilantism, and that's not always the best policy. Yes, we know that it's possible that the good name (or image) of innocent gentlemen could be besmirched and could be subject to mob justice. As the Village Voice noted, a guy caught on camera with his little pal in his hand could be waving it aggressively at a poor lass on the street or he could just be taking a public piss. (To this we say, 'A guy yes, but a gentleman no'.)

So we'll give you this, hollabacknyc: Thanks for giving us a reason to look forward to the next moron who has the poor judgment to tell us he just loooooves tall women!


Blogger That Broad said...

I wouldn't even dare suggest that this is Ms. This' excuse for buying a new camera phone. Never would I suggest such a thing.

This has to be one of the more creative forms of vigilantism I've seen in some time. And if the guys are just indulging in public urination, I really don't care. Isn't that some kind of quality-of-life offense anyway? How many times have cell phones been used up the skirts of innocent ladies, trying to use public toilet? And by the way, they aren't called "public" in the sense of "for all to see..." 'kay? Unlike the guys, women generally like to take care of these things in private.

In all seriousness, the only way I have ever found effective in combatting unwanted remarks is to reply. Ignoring them and remaining mute confirms your status as object. There is always the the risk that your cat-caller will become irate, but if your best replying means whipping out your camera-phone, so be it. We can let the law sort it out later.

7:32 AM  
Blogger This Broad said...

There is a relevant article in the N.Y. Times today: We'll learn how to link properly very soon but for now:

The article reports that 13 men were arrested this week for subway indecencies, partly with the help of grope-ees (sounds so much better than 'victim') with camera phones.

The article also reminds us of one of the dangers in doing this - apparently in the 80s a bunch of black & hispanic men were falsely arrested for "bumping" as it was called then, just so some transit cops could beef up their productivity. There is definitely potential here for people to be wrongly accused or photographed. On a full subway car it can be pretty hard to be sure which guy grabbed you even when you're right there experiencing it.... Which is not to discourage you ladies, we're sure you'll be very... vigilant.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Great idea! I passed it on to my daughter.

7:38 PM  
Blogger This Broad said...

It's in the air... did anyone else catch the segment on this on the Brian Lehrer show this morning? As guests he had a founder of Hollabacknyc, Sam Carter, and Laura Beth Nielsen, author of "License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speach". There was also a call-in for women to recount past public gropings.

Not much info here, but for what it is:

You might be able to hear it on the podcast (there's a link from that page).

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen the Laurie Anderson photos from the 70's that are precisely this idea of photographing males that heckled her? Their ages ranged from 8 to 80.

1:30 PM  

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