Amsterdam student takes selfies with men harassing her to send a powerful message against catcalling

A 20-year-old student from Amsterdam decided to fight back against men harassing her and create awareness about objectification of women. In a month-long project, Noa Jansma took selfies with her street harassers and posted them on Instagram.

She created a new account, called dearcatcallers, and wrote that the aim of her account is 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 a period of one month," she announced.

"Ey sexy Chiquita! A donde vas sola?/Ey sexygirl, Where are you going alone?" #dearcatcallers

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

Jansma explained the concept of taking selfies as part of her project by saying that both the object and the objectifier are assembled in one composition in a selfie. "Myself, as the object, standing in front of the catcallers represents the reversed power ratio which is caused by this project," she added.

In all her pictures, she appears impassive and her catcallers are seen grinning at the back. She told Het Parool that the first man she asked to appear in her selfie replied "with enthusiasm." In the one month during which she did her project, Jansma said that only one man asked her why she wanted to take a selfie with him. She explained, saying she thinks "they’re not at all suspicious because they find what they do completely normal".

#dearcatcallers "baby! Baby! *whisting*" A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

According to The New York Post, Jansma said that a number of men actually followed her for a lengthy period, with one much older man even asking her to get into his car. She also told Newsbeat that she didn't want to just ignore it because it "felt weird" that the men could get away with saying whatever they wanted without consequence.

However, she claims that she does not intend to shame them but rather make a statement. "If these men ask me to take the picture off Instagram, I will do it, because I don't want to ruin their lives," she said. Trying to show how it is a global problem, Jansma said that she will give the account to another girl in another country and in another city just to show it can happen to anyone anywhere.

At the end of her project, she posted that "it doesn't mean catcallers are in the past as well."


A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

Updated Date: Oct 07, 2017 11:22 AM

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