These Street Signs Are the Perfect Cat Calling Take Down
New Yorkers are getting a blunt reminder about something they really shouldn't need reminding about.
Signs proclaiming "No Catcall Zone" and "No Catcalling Any Time" are cropping up in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Clothing company Feminist Apparel placed more than 50 such reminders around the city with messages modeled on traditional New York City street signs, with some adding bizarre graphic stick figure imagery.
"We timed the putting up of the street signs in accordance with Anti-Street Harassment Week, with the goal simply being to raise awareness of Anti-Street Harassment Week and create some further dialogue surrounding the issue," Alan J. Martofel, a production coordinator at Feminist Apparel, told Mic by email.
The project was launched in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based Pussy Division, which Martofel describes as a "feminist guerrilla collective." Together they hope to have at least one sign up in every borough of the city by the end of the week.
The issue of catcalling and other forms of everyday sexual harassment women face received new attention after video of Shoshana Roberts being catcalled while walking in New York City went viral in 2014. Roberts, an actress who is also trained in martial arts, told the Guardian she still found the experience terrifying.
"We need to tell these people, 'Stop doing this,'" she said. "It can escalate so quickly."
That escalation can often take the form of physical violence. In 2013 a 14-year-old Florida girl was choked until she lost consciousness after she refused the advances of her harasser. Last March in Chicago, a Chinatown resident was followed by a convicted sex offender who then broke into her boyfriend's home and raped her.
In a survey involving over 800 women, all but three said she had experienced some form of street harassment, with more than a quarter reporting they had been assaulted by a stranger in public.
Some, like those at Fox News, don't think catcalling is a very big deal. "Let men be men," Kimberly Guilfoyle guffawed with fellow co-hosts. But she's wrong; it is a very big deal, and society cannot hope to tackle larger issues of sexual assault if it allows casual harassment to go unpunished and unnoticed every day.