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66% of women changed their style just to avoid being catcalled.
That’s a statistic from a Cornell study for Hollaback!, an organization (and movement) dedicated to ending street harassment. It’s also an anecdote that really struck a chord with us here at the blog. To think that someone would censor their style — their expression of who they are — to avoid being accosted is at once heartbreaking and frustrating for feminist fashion lovers like us.
What’s more, when we shared that stat with others around the office, it seemed like everyone had a story to tell. From crude encounters on the way to work to all-out physical assaults along neighborhood sidewalks, so many of our lives have been touched by “catcalling” in all its many forms.
Street harassment happens to people of all shapes, sizes, and styles. It’s not “caused” by what you wear, what you don’t wear, or how “pretty” you are. It’s aggressive behavior performed by inconsiderate people who zap your confidence to boost their own. That kind of thinking doesn’t fly with us. And that’s why we’re taking a stand in support of Hollaback!
In honor of National Women’s Equality Day, we’re encouraging our community to share their stories, offer support, and most importantly, know that street harassment is NOT okay and NOT your fault. By raising our voices, we’ll remind each other that street harassment isn’t an acceptable part of culture, or something we have to put up with. Instead, let’s help shine a spotlight on this issue, and help make the streets safe for everyone.
Check out our video (starring real employees from across our Pittsburgh office!), share it with your pals, and be sure to check out Hollaback! for insights, information, and ideas on how you can get involved.
+ Have you experienced street harassment?
feminism, ModEmployees, video
I am a customer support technician in a corporate setting. When I first took the position I wore pencil skirts, heels, floral blouses, and took the time to do my hair and makeup. I was called “miss America” by retirees that convene in our cafeteria and told how “beautiful” I was, one of my co-workers would poke fun at my heels and ask how I walked in them, others would ask how my hair changed everyday or made little sexual jokes/comments that flew just enough under the radar as not to raise too many eye brows. I grew extremely tired of my appearance being such a hot topic of each conversation and interaction with these “professionals”, so I started making small changes; switching to capri slacks and flats, putting my hair up in a bun or just pulling it into a pony tail, wearing little to no makeup, and being less social so as not to draw too much attention to myself…the retirees one day said “You know, a little make up would go a long way”, I get asked what I’m upset about or why I’m frowning and get told to “smile”, and most people tend to pass me by. I got more doors held for me when I was made up and wearing skirts than I do bare faced and in slacks…and I’m not really sure how I feel about it; it’s a small price to pay to not have to deal with feeling like all I am is a barbie doll to be mocked and ogled. It’s confusing; either you dress TOO well, or you can’t dress well enough…regardless, the experiences clearly vary.
This is a good initiative. I think it’s worth pointing out, though, that some of us are concerned what other people think of how we look, and that even though we dress to look appealing or stylish or cute or whatever, even that doesn’t mean we want people to be rude. I was catcalled once in college, by a repairman who happened to be driving by on campus, when I was wearing jeans and a tank top. Nothing special or particularly intentionally sexy. It doesn’t matter what we as women are wearing or why, it’s the observer’s decision whether or not to be rude.
THIS. You go ModCloth. Hollaback is a great organization and do awesome work – mad props to you all for doing this video!
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