After a lot of hard work and fundraising, Hollaback! Philly is proud to launch a series of anti-harassment ads on the public transportation system this week, timed to coincide with International Anti-Street Harassment Week! Congratulations to them.
Hollaback! Philly’s Rochelle Keyhan and Anna Kegleranswered a few questions for me about their great ad campaign. Learn more on their website and share your views about the issue and the ads.
1. Stop Street Harassment (SSH): Where did the inspiration for the subway ad campaign and the messaging on the ads come from?
Rochelle: Our tourist bureau here, VisitPhilly.com, has an “Love, Philadelphia, XOXO” series. One of the ads was this huge billboard that explicitly street harassed everyone who walked past it, commenting “I like the way you move it move it”. We asked them to take it down, and they refused while adamantly defending the advertisement as not offensive. That was the first push we needed to realize that if we want the conversation to reflect our reality, we need to get out there and force our voices to be heard.
Anna: One ad outlines various catch phrases men said to a group of high school students we did a workshop with for buildOn’s Alternative Spring Break in 2012 (in partnership with Nuala Cabral). They created a video PSA from their experiences, and the stories they recounted largely inspired that advertisement. The other ads we developed through many conversations within Hollaback Philly and through input with other activists. I did a lot of research on framing and messaging to create them as conversation starters that would encourage even the non-believers to think twice about street harassment. We tried to enter the conversation from various perspectives to engage the largest number of people, so there are three larger advertisements, and three smaller, simpler advertisements, all aiming to get people thinking about the issue.
Anna: All we’re really trying to do is start a conversation, and get people to start associating the term “street harassment” with “problem” and “solvable”, instead of “inevitable” and “acceptable”.
Rochelle: We hope people will use the ads to start conversations about their experiences with street harassment. I am most hopeful that men will use the ads to start conversations with women in their lives who may not share with them the harassment they experience every week.
Anna: Overall, if we can increase understanding and get a conversation going about ways we can work together to create a safer street culture, I will consider these successful!
3. SSH: What advice or strategies would you suggest to someone else who wants to get an ad campaign on their local public transportation system?
Rochelle: Don’t take no for an answer. There’s no money in the budget for PSAs? Raise your own money. Your cause isn’t important enough? Don’t talk to that person again until you’ve gotten the ads up, then invite them to reconsider that opinion. I’m not going to lie though, this was a LOT of work. From raising enough money, to designing the ads, to figuring out messaging and what they should say, to negotiating the contract – we only succeeded because it was something we really believed needed to be done, and no one else was doing it so it was our time to stand up and act.
4. SSH: Anything else?
Anna: In creating and designing the ads, we obviously could have done a Philly-specific set of ads. But, we are just one branch of a robust international organization, so we specifically designed these ads to be scalable so that we can share them with other Hollaback branches.
Rochelle: We don’t want the conversation to end here. This is only the beginning.Share on Facebook