H-O-L-L-A

Sarah is a rising junior interning with Hollaback this summer.

My name is Sarah and I am super excited for these next two months of my life.  What lies ahead sounds almost too good to be true.  This summer I will be living it up in New York City.  I’m 20. I have cool roommates, friends in the city, and an awesome opportunity to actualize my commitment to women’s social justice. The highlight of my upcoming life- an internship at Hollaback!  I have been talking about this all summer, mostly to my elders, and so I have gotten used to this clarification, “Yes Holla like– H-O-L-L-A”

holla

Hollaback is an international movement to end street harassment.  Determined that catcalling, stalking, unasked for groping, and other forms of gender-violence in public places had lasted long enough- Hollaback unveils the unacceptable in what is accepted.   The heart of the movement is giving an audience to the people who are being harassed with the opportunity to share their experiences through social media– letting the world know that we won’t be silenced by street harassment and those who have been harassed know that they are not alone!

Anyway, I am really looking forward to everything.  Can’t wait to share how it goes!

5 thoughts on “H-O-L-L-A

  1. Hi Sara, I’m one of your Duke Readers.

    I’m curious, what is the biggest question you have going into this experience?

    I look forward to reading your posts!

    Nancy White T80 and Womens Studies Supporter

    • Hey Nancy, my biggest question when i began my experience was “What does it look like to run an entire social movement for something that a very few number of people regard as a legitimate social issues?” It was difficult for me to explain to close family and friends what I was doing this summer, so I was curious what it meant to commit your entire life to this cause.

      • Sarah, I love your question. I have “tried it on” in the context of a couple of my client gigs over the past weeks. One is work around seemingly mundane government procurement reform which most people think of as “back office” work, yet which is at a really critical juncture of government corruption. So most of the world thinks it is irrelevant, the people getting rich out of the corruption don’t want it to be a social issue, leaving just a small small group really committed to reform. While this is such a completely different domain as to make the comparison difficult, the question of “what does it take to change a system” is still very relevant. Thanks for the food for thought.

        One other aside: as I’ve been reading all of your blogs, it has been interesting to pick up threads of similarity around the challenges of supporting social movements. I look forward to more!

        Nancy

  2. Hi Sara,

    I would like to hear more about how you became interested in ending this form of harassment? I also wonder how awareness raising through posts to social media sites helps to deter street harassment?

    I was a reader a couple of years ago and your post reminded me of one from July 2011. A former iHollaback intern came to realize that his subtle visual acknowledgement of an attractive woman may not be received well, may indeed be a form of harassment. He commented: ”Before this summer I certainly would not have considered it problematic to let my eyes linger on a passing woman that I thought was attractive, whether that be in the city or at Duke. Of course, staring is rude, and gawking is creepy, but lingering eyes, especially in the case of a well-dressed or beautiful woman, was not a problem….The warped sense of reality that says it is in a case like this, is undeniably a product of my male privilege.” What do you think?

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • I became interested because I am a a proponent of women’s social justice. Ending street harassment is not something that I would ever think of myself. When I first heard about the movement I did kind of think that street harassment was just something that I had to deal with as a woman. Social media is what changed my mind. I read stories that were so similar to my own about being harassed on the streets and the feelings of shame, disgust, and fear that it can bring and I decided that it was simply not acceptable to live in a world where street harassment and allowing strangers this power over individuals was OK. I also have another thing that I do with a lot of social movements where I just ask myself, ” If this was a perfect world, would X exist?” Answering this question was easy when it came to street harassment- NO WAY!

      I can understand completely where that former Hollaback intern is coming from. Working in Hollaback raises an awareness about how it feels to be objectified in the streets, and there is such a diversity of perspectives that I am learning about my privilege as well. NYC was lots of beautiful sights that warrant my gaze- people living their daily lives is not one of them. Hollaback makes me remind myself of this. Street harassment is all about power and privilege, so I am glad the intern could take away a recognition of his own privilege.

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