Getting eve-teased on streets is not unheard of, no matter which part of the world it is. And while it is one of the most frequently occurring incidents, it is exceptionally hard to bring out an adequate reaction. Should you retort to the eve-teaser or simply keep mum and go away?
Well, this woman from Amsterdam has found an ingenious way of dealing with her cat-callers, in doing so she sends a powerful message to the world.
All of 20 years of age, Noa Jansma takes selfies with every man who catcalls her! But wait, these are not sly, malicious selfies taken without grasping the man’s attention. Rather, she approaches the men who catcalls her and requests for selfies, which they happily oblige as if nothing had happened.
Jansma set on a month-long project on eve-teasing and had even set up a separate Instagram account to document the shameful occurrences. In just a month after 30 posts, the account has amassed over 45,000 followers. In all the photographs, Jansma is seen straightfaced while the men are seen grinning, oblivious to the fact that they have made her feel uncomfortable. In fact, she told the international media that the first man she asked for a selfie had replied, “with enthusiasm”.
Explaining her project, Jansma writes that being eve-teased or catcalled is not funny and definitely “not a compliment.” In her own words:
This Instagram has the aim to create awareness about the objectification of women in daily life.
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Since many people still don’t know how often and in whatever context ‘catcalling’ happens, I’ll be showing my catcallers within the period of one month.
Furthermore, she says that in a selfie “both the objectification and the object are assembled in one composition. Myself, as the object, standing in front of the catcallers represents the reversed power ratio which is caused by this project.”
Jansma had thought of the idea some days back but she plunged into action one day when she was eve-teased on a train. And that the men simply take such “trifle” issues as a part and parcel of their social lives is well etched out from the fact that in the last one month, there was only one person to ask her the reason she wanted to take a selfie with him.
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According to Jansma:
They’re not at all suspicious because they find what they do completely normal.
She also says that there were far more incidents than the 30 documented on her Instagram account as she could not approach few people – she was concerned of her safety in front of them!
Now that Jansma has finished her project, she wants to pass the Instagram account to some other girl from different part of the world.
It is to be noted that from January 1, 2018, street harassment will be punishable by a fine of 190€ (£170) in Amsterdam. Whilst she believes the law will be hard to impose, Jansma says she thinks it’s “symbolic, and I think that’s good.”