An Amsterdam-based student decided to take a selfie with every single man who harassed her during a month and posted the pics on Instagram.
The results are one of the most thought-provoking feeds currently out there.
It’s difficult for men to comprehend the constant objectification women are forced to endure on a daily basis. The simple act of walking through the street to buy groceries or just to sit quietly on a bench to enjoy some alone time can turn into a disquieting and uncomfortable ordeal.
Amidst the myriad of scantily clad Insta stars and #bikini, #ass and #instamodel hash tags, @dearcatcaller provides a simple yet very serious reflection on gender and identity.
20 year-old Noa Jansma explains the motivation behind her peculiar project.
“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.”
She adds: “This Instagram has the aim to create awareness about the objectification of women in daily life.”
Her pics frame both the offender and the offended in the same composition, with Jansma in the foreground staring straight into the camera with a deadpan face and the aggressor in the background.
The framing is somewhat a reversal of the balance of power. In these pictures, it’s her who’s calling the shots, standing up to the disrespect and making the catcaller look tiny and pathetic.
Each photograph is captioned with the words of the pictured catcallers.
Jansma explains: “Both the objectification 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.”
She says the idea was floating around for a while, but she only decided to push forward with the project after two men recently harassed her on a train.
“It’s more like a mirror, they’re coming into my privacy on the street in front of everyone, so I’m coming into their privacy,” Jansma says.
“If these men ask me to take the picture off Instagram, I will do it, because I don’t want to ruin their lives.”
Many of the creeps were even “proud” of being asked for a picture, and only one man during the whole month actually asked what the pictures were for.
“I found this so weird that for half of humanity this is a daily life issue, while for the other half, they don’t even know this,” she muses.
Most outrageously, many of the comments on her Instagram posts defend the catcallers and shift the narrative towards Jansma, accusing her of being the aggressor for exposing these men to the world.
Jansma, who studied at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, says she wants @dearcatcaller to create awareness for women who’ve had to put up with this kind of abuse as part of their daily lives.
“It’s a global problem.
“That’s why I will give the account to another girl in another country and in another city just to show it can happen everywhere to anyone.”
In the Netherlands, catcalling will soon be an offence, with perpetrators subject to fines of up to 190 Euros (around AU$290).