Meet Us On The Steeet Week Events 3/30-4/5 -
Join us for different street harassment events throughout the week!
Outlawing Upskirting is Just the Begining -
Co-director, Kate, shares her thoughts on last weeks controversy and the need to take action.
"Last week saw an enormous amount of outrage over the ruling, and understandably so; individuals, and lawmakers, assumed we had a right to privacy beneath our clothes, and we’ve seen again what happens when you assume. The court has highlighted the need for this specific update and the challenge our legislative system faces in keeping up with technological advances that may or may not be covered under current laws.Until we dig deeper, and sometimes test them in court, it’s difficult to set priorities among so many proposed laws. What this instance should highlight for everyone is that, despite our communities’ best work to eradicate the sexual and gender-based violence that colors our movements through public space, there are new and unregulated means of violation that must also be addressed. Let’s not allow the outrage cycle to turn the important discussions surrounding last week’s ruling into a flash in the pan."
doing a skit about mens rights activist does not make it okay to have someone “impersonate” a Venezuelan woman who doesn’t know anything about women’s rights and has the white women educate her about feminism
WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST WATCH.
Governor’s Proclamation Event for @janedoe’s 7th Annual MA White Ribbon Day! #wrd #vaw (at Massachusetts State House)
Women’s History Month
We just did an awesome workshop for Harvard’s Women’s Week! So great to see some male allies in the audience. (at Harvard University)
Time to Upgrade: Up-Skirts and Expectations of Privacy in Public | Hollaback! Boston -
Technology is a funny thing, and quick; advances are often made more rapidly than changes in legislation, leaving loopholes that our justice system is frequently unable to close. In Massachusetts today, the court has ruled that current state law does not in fact prohibit up-skirt, creepshot or other surreptitious photography on public transit.
“At the core of the Commonwealth’s argument to the contrary is the proposition that a woman, and in particular a woman riding on a public trolley, has a reasonable expectation of privacy in not having a stranger secretly take photographs up her skirt. The proposition is eminently reasonable, but § 105 (b) in its current form does not address it. [FN17]“
Hollaback! Boston is glad to see that we agree – in that we find it eminently reasonable to expect privacy beneath our clothes in public. Like other forms of sexual harassment and violence, there is a power dynamic at play in this type of photography, a taking of what the perpetrator deems rightfully theirs (be it a phone number, a conversation or a private photo) while the victim is left without a chance to consent.
Unlike snapping a photo of a stranger, intentionally or in the background, where that person is fully clothed and presenting themselves as they see fit in public, up-skirt photography disregards the intent of the subject – getting dressed to keep parts of their body private – to place higher value on the desire of the perpetrator. Like harassment, it’s not a compliment; up-skirt photography is not intended to benefit the subject, only the photographer, while a true compliment would do the opposite.
Like many states, Massachusetts’ laws have not been amended to address the new ways harassers can and do use technology to violate women, but we are hopeful that this ruling will shed light on the issue and motivate work toward legislative updates, and we’re thrilled that Massachusetts lawmakers are already voicing interest in bringing our state laws up to speed.
For more on the larger trend of upgrading up-skirt laws, take a look back at Time’s coverage of the topic last fall, and read up on what other local sources have to say today:
Boston Herald: Mass. court: Subway ‘upskirt’ photos not illegal
We think that up-skirt photography is a violation of a reasonable expectation of privacy, and we look forward to supporting legislative changes to provide protection for victims choosing to report the behavior. What do you think? Do you expect that what you intend to keep private beneath your clothes can be up for consumption when you leave your home?
–The Hollaback! Boston Team
Educator, Writer, Activist Mary Church Terrell. Born in Memphis, TN to wealthy parents who were former slaves (her father, Robert Reed Church, was the South’s first black millionaire), Ms. Church Terrell earned bachelor’s (1884) and master’s (1888) degrees from Oberlin College. She also studied in Europe for several years and was fluent in German, Spanish and French. Her language fluency came in handy in 1904 when she was invited to speak at the International Congress of Women in Berlin, Germany. The only black woman in attendance, she delivered her speech in German, French and English.
Ms. Church Terrell was a founder and the first president of the National Association of Colored Women (Charlotte Hawkins Brown was a vice president). Adapting the motto “Lifting As We Climb,” the organization was formed, in part, in response to an attack on the character and respectability of African American women by an influential journalist who referred to them as “thieves and prostitutes”.
Ms. Church Terrell died in 1954, at the age of 90, not long after leading the fight to desegregate restaurants in Washington, D.C.
Zitkala-Ša, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was the most amazing woman you’ve never heard of.
A writer, editor, musician, teacher and political activist, she was born on February 22, 1876 on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Her mother was Sioux and her father, who abandoned the family when she was very young, was European-American.
When she was eight, missionaries came to the res and took Zitkala-Ša along with several other children to the White’s Manual Labor Institute in Wabash, Indiana, one of many such institutions where Native children were forced to assimilate into white American culture. She studied piano and violin and eventually took the place of her teacher when she resigned. When she received her diploma in 1895, she delivered a speech on women’s rights.
She earned a scholarship to Earlham College, where she continued to study music. From 1897-99, she played with the New England Conservatory in Boston and played at the Paris Exposition in 1900. She collaborated with composer William F. Hanson on the world’s first Native American opera, based entirely on Sioux melodies that had previously existed only as oral tradition. She would play the melodies and Hanson transcribed them. The Sun Dance Opera debuted in 1913 to warm reviews, but I can find no recordings of it, and it seems it’s never performed.
Zitkala-Ša also wrote a number of collections of Native American stories and legends. She wrote them in Latin when she was at school and then translated them into English. She was the first Native person to do so in her own words, without a white editor or translator. In addition, she wrote extensively about her schooling and how it left her torn between her Sioux heritage and her assimilation into white culture. Her writings were published in The Atlantic Monthly and in Harper’s and she served as editor for the American Indian Magazine.
Unsurprisingly, most of her writings were political. She was a fierce yet charismatic advocate for Native American rights. Her efforts helped pass the Indian Citizenship Act and the Indian Reorganization Act. Having founded the National Coalition of American Indians, she spent the rest of her life fighting to protect our many indigenous communities from exploitation.
Her accomplishments were incredible- but have you ever heard of her? I had never heard of her either. Just another example of a history-changing woman omitted from the history books.
Display I made for Women’s History Month
The storify of yesterday's race & street harassment tweet-up! -
Hollaback! Boston was a panelist in yesterday’s tweet-up on race and street harassment, check it out!
But Some of Us Are Brave: A History of Black Feminism in the United States -
This has been one of the most important, critical pieces I have read this entire year.
Pioneering educator Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961) sometime in the 1910s. Born in Orange, Virginia, Ms. Burroughs graduated with honors from the Colored High School, which would later become M Street School and then Dunbar High School. Best know as the founder of the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls, Ms. Burroughs was an early advocate for teaching African American History and students had to pass a course in black history in order to graduate. A member of the National Association of Colored Women among other civic and religious advocacy groups, Ms. Burroughs was appointed to a special committee on African Americans and housing by President Herbert Hoover. Also a leader in religion, she helped found the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention.
Ms. Burroughs also had a special connection to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. A longtime friend of his parents, Ms. Burroughs wrote a letter to Dr. King’s mother, Mrs. Alberta King on February 4, 1956 during the course of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and told her how impressed she was with the “calm, sure way that Junior is standing up for right and righteousness.” Photo: The Library of Congress