Serials on and off the television

Weird but happy news from Seattle this week: police may have finally apprehended the man connected with some twenty-plus gropings in the area over the past two years. Even if there is a second perp involved, all targeted women have been Asian (leading the fuzz to suspect a copycat perp is still at large). Despite how horrific we acknowledge these attacks to be, we are relieved that no one was sexually assaulted and that justice may be served for all of these women.

In HollaBackBoston news, we found this HBB-like art for sale this week. It isn't any of us - is it you?

Also, is it just us or is this T Mobile commercial oddly reminiscent of the lines we get for existing in public? "Maybe if you weren't so cute, you wouldn't get harassed." "Only the ugly girls think it's an insult." "You should be thankful for the attention."

We're glad our daddies had a better grasp on respect than this one.

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The annals of catcalling

Where to begin this week?

We were so pleased by the CNN article covering Holly Kearl's thesis research last week...and where did it go? Perhaps not surprisingly, Kearl had to go on the defensive as a sick amount of blogging men and women somehow found it difficult to believe that women don't like or want to be harassed. I guess we don't walk the same streets or live in the same imbalanced world as these hostile folks.

Whole lotta links, almost not worth visiting except to admire and add to Kearl's continuous defense of her work, and to view the occassional apologies that follow people's wack judgments of her:

Ugh. All in all, we continue to applaud Holly for standing up for herself and her work. We shy away from large forums because the trolls make us tired and unhappy, so we have much respect for anyone who faces it head on.

Today's Miss Conduct's blog in the Boston Globe is one of the more insightful, balanced pieces that has shown up in the wake of CNN's report. At least someone in our city knows what's up. NPR also covered Boston's MBTA anti-harassment campaign, though with some curious omissions and a focus on the "grope patrol," plainclothes cops who ride dem trains and try to mitigate dangerous situations. But, they awkwardly note, "We're not looking to discourage guys from talking to women." Um, okay.

And last but not least, Salon.com Broadsheet writer Tracy Clark-Flory talks high tech street harassment in Saudi Arabia.

Make a Point at Current.com

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Keeping Boston safe

It's pretty important to connect with our young folk when this kind of wack shit is happening in our world. That's why this past weekend, HollaBackBoston showed up to listen to the ladies at the Boston Public Schools' Anti-Violence Girls Conference. We have pics up on Flickr from the event and always love talking to young people about their strategies for staying safe.

We were also pleased to find, via the Boston Photo Mob on Flickr, a newly updated official policy from the MBTA regarding snapping photos in public (download the MBTA pdf here). We've previously mentioned the problems Boston transit has had getting their policies straight, even amongst themselves. This time, the MBTA has specified that non-commercial photography is perfectly acceptable, which pleases us greatly. But just in case the grossly underpaid MBTA employees didn't get the memo, the Photo Mob folks suggest keeping a copy of the policy with you at all times, just in case T officials get cranky in defense of what they've long been told. We do have to wonder: are we really supposed to tote more crap around in our overstuffed bags and satchels, just in case we get harassed? And didn't the MBTA just start encouraging us to take pictures of harassers? Regardless, we think this is a step in the right direction.

And, always excited about street harassment coverage on a national or international scale, we were thrilled to receive news that our ally Holly Kearl was interviewed for a CNN story, Catcalling: creepy or a compliment? For the article, Kearl stated, "For me, anyone who interrupts my personal space to objectify me or make me feel uncomfortable or threatened is harassing me." Echo, echo, echo, right over here.

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This week in harassment

Stuff we like this week:

The Speakout, which launched on International Women's Day (March 8), collects stories of street harassment from around the globe, as well as reports news about rape culture. We don't like street harassment; we do like allies and blogs that collect and spread important information.

We also dig this write-up from Restructure, which points to a recent UC Davis study about how men and women interpret direct and indirect messages about sexual intimacy. According to the study, men's faulty introspection is to blame, many of them assuming that women's indirect refusals ("I have to get up early" or "I'm seeing someone else") are just ways of conveying messages like "Let's speed this up" or "Don't tell my boyfriend."* These responses, what are often thought to be "polite" and "ladylike" in our culture, should instead be replaced with more direct messages, according to the research findings. But as the Restructure critique points out, "These studies that show men accept direct resistance messages 'easily and without negative reactions' should be investigated for more details." No joke. Even though we know and love some excellent men, we'd love to know a few more guys who hear us, whether we speak indirectly or otherwise.

Last but not least, we'll be hanging with some smart young ladies this weekend at the Boston Public Schools' Girls Conference. Looking forward to it!

*The study does not include research or data about men who hear/understand "no" and ignore it.

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