Noa Jansma, a student from the Netherlands took it upon herself to make a point about sexual objectification. She turned the tables and made a powerful statement when she decided to take selfies with her catcallers.
The 20-year old took these selfies for a month and posted them on the Instagram handle @dearcatcallers, which she created specifically for this cause. “It’s not a compliment,” she wrote in the bio. She has gained hundreds of thousands of followers since she started the 'project' – majority of whom are women.
In her first post, she explained why she created the account and what she aims to achieve. “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.”
Within that month, Noa posted 24 pictures, captioning them with the words that were shouted at her. “I didn’t know the depths of the problem until I fully immersed in the project,” she told Buzzfeed.
“I thought men would be suspicious of me, that they would understand my motives when I was taking selfies with them. So I was kind of fearful,” she told the outlet.
“But most of the time they have their thumbs up, they’re happy because they honestly think that they’re complimenting me,” she continued. “They really didn’t care about me. They never realised that I was unhappy,” she continued.
In some of the photos, you can actually see the men putting their arms around Noa and cosying up to her.
“They’re not at all suspicious because they find what they do completely normal,” she told Dutch newspaper Het Parool in a quote translated by the Independent.
In her final post, Noa confirmed that her part for the project has come to an end but she would like to pass on the reins to other women to prove that this is a “global phenomenon.” This will allow many other women to document their experiences with catcalling and create even more awareness.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people supported Noa's project and lauded her for her courage.
Including men, who actually went on to apologise.
This #dearcatcallers woman is awesome & courageous. I'm ashamed that when I was a younger man, I'd catcall. Sorry to the strangers I hurt.— Don Creoleone (@SeventhWard) October 6, 2017
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