Welcome to CATCALLED, a collection of women’s stories about street harassment in New York City. For two weeks this August, eleven women in the city kept a log of their harassment experiences, and how the presence (or absence) of catcallers affected their actions. Their experiences may surprise you—they certainly surprised each other, and at times, even the participants themselves.
Street harassment is a tricky issue. Its interpretation is almost entirely subjective, and the experience of it can range from violated and frustrated to annoyed. Harassment itself is hard to define, as well. What’s the difference between harassment, a catcall, flirtation, and a compliment? At the same time, it’s difficult to argue that sexual harassment is anything but an unfair burden placed on women in urban spaces, and one that can be incessant and invasive.
Part of the story of this project has been discovering that most women have found a way to deal with harassment on a regular basis. Even if an individual woman may feel that the status quo is acceptable, she is usually able to point to precautions she takes to feel safe as a woman. Even if an individual woman feels flattered by catcalling, she can probably point to a situation in which she felt extremely vulnerable due to catcalling—probably as a young teenager. We believe that all women, in some way or another, have to grapple with objectification and safety in public spaces, whether that space is Central Park or Times Square.
CATCALLED is an attempt to give that struggle a voice. Over on the right you can see 11 different badges, one for each of our 11 participants. The women who wrote for this project live in four different boroughs and have a range of sexualities, ethnic backgrounds, and life experiences. There is no one place to start reading, no one person to focus on. Each participant has an introduction from me, giving you a sense of what you might get out of reading those entries; each woman has additionally highlighted her own entries, to reflect what she has found most valuable. After the project was over, all 11 participants responded to someone else’s logs for their exit interview, beginning a conversation about different experiences that we hope you continue. You can add to the dialogue by clicking respond. In addition to publishing questions, comments, and ideas on our blog, we will also be featuring readers’ daily logs—a single-day entry about street harassment. And of course, if you would like to contact us more directly, you can find out how to do that here.
We hope you get something out of this—men and women, in the city and out of it. We have learned a lot from beginning this dialogue, and we can’t wait to see how you respond.
Rad. Check this out.
From the Museum of the City of New York, a collection of photos taken by Stanley Kubrick in 1946 of New York City subway passengers.
Oh look! People were rude assholes on the subway in 1946, too. GET YOUR FEET OFF THE DAMN SEATS WERE YOU BORN IN A BARN
Speaking of amateur superheroes, The New York Times describes the man in this video, referred to as “Snackman,” as such: “He was cool incarnate. No weapons. No visible bloodshed. Not even a loud word. A newcomer to the city, munching on chips, and a poker face for the ages.” Real name? Charles Sonder. Real snacks? Pringles and Gummi-Bears.
I’m the Snackman
Ski bi di bi di do bap do
Do bam do
Bada bwi ba ba bada bo
Baba ba da bo
Bwi ba ba ba do
Underground New York Public Library is an awesome new Tumblr featuring photos of people reading while they wait for the subway. The arresting photos speak for themselves.
Long train commutes make New York one of the most literary cities in the U.S. And because New York as one of the fashion capitals of the world, you have all the ingredients you need for one very stylish documentary project.
H/T: In Other News
Yes! I love book snooping. See also: CoverSpy.
Today’s flashback friday has some things old, some things new, some things borrowed AND some things blue (and other colors too). We’re not talking about weddings here - though we’re sure you’ll find a few items that will suit… NYPL and FIT have launched a new website, Andre Studios Digitization Project, allowing one and all to browse our archives of Andre Studios from 1931 - 1940. There are 18 images of snoods alone and don’t even get us started on yokes!
But don’t take our word for it, check out what the fashionable folks at the New York Times had to say!
(From the year I was born.)
This five minute film moves at a maddening, contracted speed but it’s a valuable document of the landscape I lived in as a kid.
At around 1:05, the camera goes through a neon-lined hallway of an office building on Water Street, near South Street Seaport. The building is still there but the Logan’s Run design touch is gone. My father would bring me downtown some weekends, when the area was entirely abandoned. Commercial buildings, before 9/11, were often left open, so my brother and I could run around the lobby, defending our spaceship.
During Prohibition, many New Yorkers considered the 18th Amendment to the Constitution more a suggestion than the law of the land. City residents created ingenious places to conceal their liquor, and Eric Schiller was thrilled to discover such a place in the Victorian house he bought last year on Westminster Road in Prospect Park South.
Of course, it helps that this isn’t just any old average Brooklyn dude but Actual Proven Funny Person (TM) Max Silvestri.
Ideas I Wish I’d Had, Today Edition
We sent an unsuspecting average dude from Brooklyn who had never been to a runway show before to 2 of them at New York Fashion Week. The results are … well, you’d better read for yourself.
8:16 p.m. They don’t have a seat assignment for me, so a nice lady named Haley with an iPad and a headset puts me in G-2-29. I’m in the second row! Is that good or bad? I feel like it could be worse. There is a serious-looking fashion person next to me when I sit down. She says “Bonjour,” and I laugh, which is rude.
8:18 p.m. Waiting, trying to look normal. I take notes in a notepad so people assume that I am an important and unsuspecting street-style blogger. I have not warmed up from the Moncler show yet. My legs are that type of cold where maybe I peed myself but there’s no way to be sure.
8:24 p.m. There is a beautiful and stylish mom across the runway. Her 6-year-old is a vision. He’s got messy blond hair and is wearing an ascot, blazer and striped socks. He’s eating a mozzarella stick, and he offers some to his mom. Where did he get those? Is he taunting me? He’s barely out of diapers, better dressed than me and in possession of mozzarella sticks. I’m a grown man and I should have those whenever I want. I hate him.
8:27 p.m. The show starts. It is a genuinely thrilling live event! I try to nod and really pay attention to the clothes. “Hmm, yes, shoes.”