Through the Mirrored Shades

Turns out there are more responses to the "Hey Baby" article in the Boston Globe a couple months ago which featured the work of HollaBackBoston.

Thanks to HollaBackNYC for passing along this email from their inbox of hate mail. We wonder if the writer even bothered submitting to the Globe for print. Well, we’re the suckers for publishing it here.

In the same vein as our previous post, "Where Have I Heard That Before", we’re gonna continue to characterize responses to the article (and our work) into categories. Let’s throw this one into the “Wear a Robe” Response camp:
This world is becoming more and more pathetic. Woman spend billions of dollars annually to look sexy. Who are they trying to look sexy for? When a good natured happy go lucky guy happens to pay them (female) a compliment on the street they are often accused of being a creep. This just sucks! Yes, there are a few creeps out there, SO deal with it, suck it up. If its too much to handle try wearing a robe or possibly crawl into a shell. Its always the ugly looking bitches that do most of the complaining anyhow, and that's a fact. Glamour, playboy, hustler, even the sports mags there are woman that are selling themselves daily for a few pieces of silver. If leering or looking ever becomes ILLEGAL I will be the first to bring back mirror shades. Fuck off!!
PS And that goes for all you looking for a cause homosexual male sympathizers as well.
- cybersniper
We realize this is the most simplistic retort we could have, but again, why should we have to curb our behavior, dress, LIVES – "wear a robe and crawl into a shell" – because we are confronted with violence EVERY DAY? Why shouldn’t the perpetrators have to adjust their behavior for once? Thank God the HollaBack movement exists to demand that they do just that.

Where we agree with this critic is in his attention to capitalism's exploitation of women's oppression. Yes, women do spend billions of dollars annually to look "sexy". Yes, there exist a multitude of magazines which provide women with the opportunity to display their bodies in exchange for monetary reward.

We recognize this reality makes it difficult for men, and women alike, to remember how to properly interact with others in public space. We must do more to demand media that more fully represents our experiences and identities but until then, "cybersniper" and others, try talking with women about what kinds of comments they welcome and ask them if they appreciate “compliments” from strangers. And when in doubt, imagine saying what’s coming out of your mouth to your sister or looking that way at your mother. You might be surprised by what you learn. You may also be surprised to learn that our male allies are a diverse group of organized activists who are doing their own work, or to use your term, have their own "cause" (see post about this as well).

Lastly, be sure to check out NBC’s Today show coverage of the HollaBack movement on yesterday’s morning show. Watch the segment here.

Written by Hilary Allen and protected by a Creative Commons 2.5 License.

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