Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blogs as Sites of Resistance: Holla Back

Interesting: Holla Back D.C. (and California, and Canada, and Chicago, and NYC, and a few others.)

For Holla Back D.C., you can find stories of people discussing how they were harassed in public and, in some cases, how other people arrived to defend to prevent harassment.

Holla Back seems intriguing for a number of reasons. First, it raises awareness by allowing people a public space to discuss what happened to them, tell other people where it happened so they may avoid some of the harassment, and, in some cases, help to find the perpetrators.

Second, it raises definitional questions over what is harassment, street harassment, and unwarranted speech. For example, on Holla Back NYC one commenter claimed harassment when a person on the street told her she was beautiful (and not smart or compassionate)- see June 12 as there is no link available. This leads to numerous interpretive questions that we have discussed here many times.

Third, while the cite concerns itself over sexual harassment it wants posters to avoid any mention of race in the description unless it is pertinent to the story. From Holla Back NYC:
What Is Street Harassment?

At Holla Back NYC, we believe that street harassment is defined by you. It can be anything that makes you feel uncomfortable including grunting, hooting, whistling, propositioning, grabbing, or just plain being a jerk. Harassers come in all different shapes and sizes, races and genders. What is street harassment to one person may not be to another.

We invite you to be creative and honest with how you define street harassment. While there is always the classic, "Hey baby, nice tits" there are so many other forms that go unnoted. If you feel like you have been harassed, HOLLA BACK! We're the safe space you've been searching for.


Replacing sexism with racism is not a proper holla back.
Holla Back NYC asks that you refrain from referencing the race of your harasser or include other racialized commentary. If you feel that race is important to your story, please make sure its relevance is explained clearly and constructively in your post.

For posting policy, see entry on October 9, 2005.

Fourth, it raises issues about privacy. On one post Holla Back Canada a woman raises concerns over harassment and the expectations of privacy in public settings as she claims she suffered harassment when she was videotaped topless at a topless beach. On Holla Back NYC and Canada, posters are encouraged to take photos of the people who harassed them; on Holla Back D.C. the posters usually do not take photos of the alleged assailants.

There is a lot to check out and I highly encourage it when you have a free moment.

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