Short skirt, long jacket

Lots of holla action in the news this week. No introductions, we're jumping right in with highlights.

First off, we're big fans of Female and Breathing, who documents her every unfortunate run-in with unwanted male attention. We hope blogging brings her solace and doesn't make her ultimately head the way of Don't Be Silent DC, who found this kind of work too overwhelming to regularly blog about. That sentiment resonates with us, which is why we limit ourselves to posting once a week here (though we post on HollaBackBoston as we receive submissions).

Always excited about radical feminist art, we're thrilled by 52 Acts, created by one of HollaBack Australia's two moderators. One cyberfeminist project per week, the site this week (Act 12) features a project of reverse gaze using famous art. She says, "I love that these women, whose sole purpose in existence has been to be viewed, have now become the viewers," and we love it too.

In the news a few weeks back, we were ridiculously disturbed to read about an off-duty Northwest Airlines employee who assaulted a woman on a commercial flight. But despite ejaculating on a sleeping female passenger mid-flight, the suspended equipment service employee may only serve six months in jail or pay a fine. The appalled airline officials who were interviewed for the article said they'd never heard of such a thing. Funny - we hear about it all the time. Guess when the threat isn't directed at you, it's easier to ignore.

In more positive news, South African women recently marched for their right to wear short skirts without being preyed upon or assaulted. Take to the streets to keep them safe, we say.

Last but not least, we enjoyed several personal musings on harassment this week, ranging from safety while walking to race and harassment politics to cultural norms and catcalls while living abroad.

Busy weeks as springtime approaches. Stay hot and safe as springtime weather brings skirts, whistles, and more of the same. Let's hope for a future where less of the same exists.

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Jack in public

While the always unfortunate but sadly predictable usual crap has been going down on local college campuses here in Boston, we want to also draw attention to a story from about a month back.

Over at Tufts University in our neighboring town of Somerville,
complains have been made about a man who has been habitually masturbating in the school's library. The Tufts Daily quotes a reference librarian, who said: "The Tufts police talked to the man and determined that he did not know that his behavior was offensive. They thought that he might have a medical condition. They asked him to leave the building and find another place because there had been a complaint."

While some local media think this kind of thing is funny, we wonder what's going on in Boston libraries. Aren't rooms full of free books safe for anyone? And is a "medical condition" - what we'll assume is the traditional, ridiculously biased assumption that unkempt masturbating men are all schizophrenic and homeless - an excuse for jerking it in public? Since when does anyone not know that's improper? And we let him leave with a "there's been a complaint?" Maybe if the police handling the situation were better educated about how scary that situation can be for women, we'd have a different world where things were handled with respect for all. But we digress for this week.

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Advertising harassment

To follow up our distaste of Arby's new set of ads from last week, NOLA radfem commented that she too was fed up with gross sexual innuendo commercials (though she posted her analysis way before ours - we're just following up on our own oversight, in other words). Holiday Inn Express has a whole new set of strange, awkward commercials depicting men harassing women at "the new hot bar in town" - known as the continental breakfast bar. Not only do we find this deeply offensive - it's fucking stupid. We've shown this distasteful crap before - and we'll keep right on doing it - but we aren't going to pretend we know how to solve the pervasiveness of our culture's acceptance of sexual harassment and assault. Read NOLA radfem's post - she throughly and effectively echoes all of our thoughts.

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The social stratification of harassment

Even celebrities gotta deal with hollas, as seen in this video via sorta nasty celeb site TMZ.

And now, courtesy of Playboy (surprise), any woman can be harassed without a male ever having to "actively" bother her. Just walk over this mirrored ground ad in a skirt and voila!

We find the CockShadows blog to be particularly disturbing, a form of strangely subversive online harassment, in our opinion. While we're all for subversive tactics, this just seems lewd and in incredibly poor taste. Public space is phallic enough as it is. We need to further highlight this aspect of patriarchy? Most of know this already.

And last but not least, we HATE the latest Arby's commercial. Whoever made this missed the memo: there is nothing amusing or clever about harassment.

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