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Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women Paperback – April 21, 2012
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The second chapter explains the context in which street harassment occurs. If a young girl, perhaps wearing a short skirt, walks alone on a street at night and is sexually assaulted, she would most likely be blamed for the assault, right? Wrong, Kearl tells us; her clothing and time she chose to walk outside is not her fault that she was sexually assaulted. As someone who lived in a small town in Morocco for half a year, I can attest that I wore conservative clothes yet still experienced men whistling and throwing rocks at me in the light of the day. Therefore, Kearl explains, street harassment is a power dynamic that shows which gender wields more power and control in a given society.
Yet street harassment is not just a gendered issue; it is multi-layered with race, socioeconomic status, gender expression, and disability, as Kearl writes in the third chapter. It is "a global problem," as the title of the fourth chapter states.Read more ›
This book helped me put my miserable personal experiences into perspective. Now I understand that when that guy on the bus is muttering obscenities about my ass, it's not my fault and it has nothing to do with me or what I'm wearing. He's part of a greater cultural movement to keep women out of the public sphere by humiliating and abusing us - a movement that will work unless we take action to stop it.
This book explains carefully and in detail how street harassment is important and relevant using extensive studies. Some of the studies confirmed and explained some common fears; for example, interviews with rapists show that they use street harassment as "rape-testing" to see if a woman is likely to fight back. It lays the theoretical groundwork for campaigns to fight street harassment, like Hollaback.
The tone of the book is in many places academic and intellectual, but it becomes practical and everyday in the sections that deserve it. It includes a lot of first person interviews and experience, which kept it interesting for me. This isn't a fun pop-science read, but it's about as readable as an intellectually rigorous, study-based book gets.
This book is a must for any street harassment activist, and a great help to anyone who has to go through street harassment on a daily basis.
Kearl gives a voice to those of us who have come to accept cat calls, groping and unwanted male advances as just a part of life we have to put up with. This book will empower victims of street harassment by giving them practical, safe suggestions and solutions. It will also help those of us who have been frightened on the streets, the subway, in parks, or at the mall, feel less alone. Kearl has given a voice for all of us, with the countless stories she has gathered from women around the world. As a young adult fiction author who works with teenagers across the country, I can highly recommend this book for any teenager in your life, as well as women and men of every age. a great empowering read!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Holly Kearl delves into the complexities of street harassment - the intersections of gender, race, sexuality and other aspects of identity that shape our experiences. Read morePublished on April 27, 2012 by Nuala Cabral
I bought this book looking for tools to keep safe. I work as a public high school substitute teacher and the harassment, violence, sexual harassment, and cursing is rampant. Read morePublished on December 31, 2011 by Rejoice!