Some bold women respond to street harassment by confronting strangers, videotaping the interactions, and posting them online. But when faced with persistent, unwanted come-ons, many women aren’t as comfortable with this direct approach.
Recently, the Internet has provided another awesome alternative. Ladies, memorize and give out this number: 669-221-6251. Whenever someone calls or texts it, it reads back feminist quotes from the writer bell hooks. (There are also local numbers for New York, Chicago, London, and several other cities.)
The anonymous developer told the Hairpin the idea was a response to the offensive way in which the New York Post showed scantily clad images of the women who supposedly “spurned” Elliot Rodgers, the shooter in the University of California, Santa Barbara killings in May.
I called the New York number and got this lovely gem: “Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power–not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist.”
The site is also taking donations to help with the cost of paying its phone bill, since the number has become pretty popular in the last few weeks. Any money raised beyond the phone bill costs will be donated to The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. If you want to get creative, the open-source code is on Github, so anyone can set up their own version of the intervention. I nominate a feminist Beyonce line.