Tired of being commented on, whistled at and made to feel uncomfortable while performing the basic human right of walking down the street, an American woman is now filming her 'cat-callers', confronting them and then also passing them cards that tell them to stop the nonsense.
28-year-old Lindsey from Minneapolis, who has chosen to keep her full name secret, is the founder of 'Cards Against Street Harassment'. The website contains sample cards that men and women can print out to then hand out to people who wolf-whistle or comment on them on the street. Oh, and if you think this is a foreign issue, rest assured, this does happen in New Zealand. Often. The last time it happened to one of us was in a lift, with pack mentality fuelled comments from yuppies directed our way as we walked out. Classy.
One of her cards reads:
'So, you like how I look?
Do you know what I like?
Walking down the street without getting my appearance commented on by total strangers.
It's not a compliment, it's harassment.
Next time, just say "hello".
On her site, Lindsey answers the question that many anonymous online commenters love to ask, 'are you a man hating, feminist prude?':
"Great question, friend. No. No, I am not. I am a sex-positive, friendly person who believes that non-harassing flirtation, courtship, and sex play a huge and healthy part in a person's quality of life. I am a feminist, but odds are, so is every person you've ever enjoyed spending time around, because that just means I believe women and men should have equal rights and opportunities and that men and women alike are worse off if we keep systems in place that perpetuate double standards or limitations for women, and people who don't support those basic principles are probably boring turds."
She also answers the query, 'So, what, I'm just not allowed to talk to women I find attractive, or tell someone I think they're pretty ever again?':
"Oh you poor dears. This question comes up all the time, as if by my saying people generally don't appreciate being commented on by strangers on the street, all courtship practices have gone out the window and you are never allowed to hit on someone ever again.
Of course there are ways to approach women you're attracted to that aren't harassment, and ways to tell a woman you know that you think she's gorgeous. Initiating a conversation with someone you don't know and blurting out comments about their face or body isn't one of them. As one of my friends recently put it, when a conversation with an unknown guy centres on a woman's appearance, the conversation has become one that is 'about my body parts and that is such a minuscule part of the whole person that it makes me feel like there is a different intention in this conversation and one that I don't want to be a part of.'"
Aka, why not try a classic conversation starter like 'hello'.
Lindsey, you are Team Life & Style's new hero.