Young woman takes selfies with the men who catcall her to teach them about ‘privacy’

Noa Jansma didn't know how to respond to catcallers, so she started photographing them.

Noa Jansma didn't know how to respond to catcallers, so she started photographing them. Photo: Instagram/@dearcatcallers

Fed up about being harassed my strange men on the street, 20-year-old Dutch student Noa Jansma decided to start holding them responsible.

“I never knew how to respond to so-called catcallers,” she told Dutch newspaper Het Parool.

“If I ignored it, they felt like they could call at me without consequences.”

So Jansma, who is based in Amsterdam, began taking selfies with the men who yelled out to her, hit on her, made comments about her body or propositioned her.

In August this year, she started posting the images to an Instagram account called Dear Catcallers, detailing the men’s lewd comments in the captions.

In creating the account, Jansma said she hoped to “create awareness about the objectification of women in daily life” by “reversing the power ratio”.

Her main message to the men who accost her is that catcalling is “not a compliment”.

She has amassed 112,000 followers – that number is steadily growing – and receives hundreds of comments of support daily.

As for her subjects, Jansma has said she’s shocked not a single man has refused to be photographed so far.

“It shows that these men do not sincerely realise that they are wrong, they find it to be the most common thing in the world,” Jansma told Het Parool.

In fact, many smile, throw a peace sign or put their arm around her for the photo.

Very few questioned Jansma about what the photo was for and she said for the most part they were proud to be photographed.

Jansma told the BBC she wasn’t out to ruin lives with her pictures, but merely to make a point about everyday sexism.

“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.

“It’s more like a mirror, they’re coming into my privacy on the street in front of everyone, so I’m coming into their privacy.”

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