Sophie Sandberg says she founded Cat Calls of NYC a handful of years ago, but word spread. “It’s not until recently that it’s become a collective,” she says of the network of largely college age people who are using public art to raise awareness about street harassment and the importance of words and their effect on women and our society at large.
The practice of publicly commenting on a strangers’ appearance or other characteristics has marred the daily experience for many women and some men for decades and it doesn’t take a social scientist to interpret the motivations. Thanks to public art campaigns from people like Street Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh and others like this collective, public space can feel safe and free to enjoy without the annoyance and in some cases, fear of simply traversing their city.
Cat Calls of NYC uses chalk on the streets to quote actual “commentary” that people report on their hotline, often at the same spot it took place. Shining a light on the veiled or explicit threats of aggression that many women face daily on the streets of our cities and towns around the world, the practice shames the harasser and opens the public conversation. If you ask people about the harassment they are subjected to, they will tell you that most likely they don’t know one woman who hasn’t been harassed one way or another on the streets.
Today we bring you some recent images from Cat Calls Of NYC, which has inspired numerous other women (and some men) to start their own chapters in different cities in the USA and around the world.