When you think of a catcaller, the brawny, gross, old guy usually comes to mind. But a 20- year old’s ballsy project shows that male catcallers come in all shapes and sizes, and might not be who you expect.
Noa Jansma, a student from Amsterdam made the decision to take a selfie with her catcallers to start a project called #dearcatcallers.
She says the project came to when she was filmed and harassed on a train ride by two men, and instead of sneakily snapping a photo of her catcallers, she actually comes up to them.
For the most part, the dudes are happy, not really wondering why Jansma would want to take a photo with them, and oblivious to how their actions made her feel.
She is straight faced and unsmiling in each photo, to hopefully let guys know how uncomfortable it is for women to get catcalls while they’re just trying to go about their day undisturbed.
The uncomfortable nature of the pictures reflects how women feel when they are catcalled by strange men on the street.
The project has unsurprisingly gained quite the attention on Instagram, and in just four week and 30 posts, the account had gained more than 50, 000 followers and Jansma said she has received hundreds of messages of support on her project and the powerful message it’s sending, and even some women’s catcall and harassment horror stories.
“This Instagram has the aim to create awareness about the objectification of women in daily life. 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,” a post on the page said.
She continued, “By making the selfie, both the objectifier 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 wanted to do something to raise awareness about catcalling for a while, and after being harassed by two men on her train, she decided it was time to take action.
Over the course of the project, only one man wanted to know why she wanted to take a selfie.
While the her project has finished, Jansma assured it was not the end of the account, and she is eyeing that her powerful message about harassment will continue.
“My month of posts has ended, but that doesn’t mean that catcallers are in the past as well,” she wrote in a post on Instagram.
She will be passing on the account @dearcatcallers to other women, “to show that it’s a global phenomenon.”
Speaking about the support she received during the course of the project, she says: “It has made clear that catcalling is a common occurrence that many of us are dealing with.”