New bus shelter ad aims to undo VisitPhilly damage

Have you seen the new bus shelter at 16th and JFK? With a welcoming message, it lets visitors to Philly know that our city takes pride in its streets and that street harassing behaviors are not tolerated here. joined2   HollabackPHILLY, a project of Feminist Public Works, designed this ad in response to a large billboard that GPTMC, Philadelphia’s tourist marketing company, ran as part of its VisitPhilly campaign in 2012. That summer, HollabackPHILLY protested the placement of GPTMC’s enormous street-harassing billboard on the side of a parking garage in a prominent location in Center City. The billboard (pictured above), said “Dear Walking This Way: I like the way you move it move it. With Love, Philadelphia XOXO.” GPTMC justified this ad by saying that is is a play on a lyric from the song “” from Madagascar 2. HollabackPHILLY, however, pointed out that there is a significant difference between “I like to move it move it” (a person having fun dancing) and “I like the way you move it move it” (unwanted commentary on passersby). It also quickly became obvious that this was not GPTMC’s first ad to “accidentally” promote street harassing behaviors. Check out this example from 2010: DearFellas GPTMC refused to remove the “Walking This Way” billboard, stating that it was set to come down soon, but they did agree to meet with HollabackPHILLY to discuss the issue. The meeting resulted in an offer by GPTMC to work with HollabackPHILLY on the design and placement of a welcoming ad. However, despite multiple attempts by the HollabackPHILLY team to contact GPTMC following this meeting, they were unresponsive. Disappointed but unfazed, the HollabackPHILLY team decided to incorporate a new spin on GPTMC’s offensive “Dear Walking This Way” ad into its April 2014 anti-street harassment ad campaign. The new ad (which had previously been proposed to GPTMC) reads: “Dear Walking This Way: Welcome to the city of brotherly love (and sisterly affection). Our streets are your streets. With love (and respect), Philadelphia XOXO. PS: #ENDSH.” This new ad was specifically designed to show - despite past mistakes by our city’s tourism marketing company - that Philadelphia is proud to be making steps in the right direction to make sure that all people walking its streets feel safe and comfortable. HollabackPHILLY welcomes your thoughts on this ad, and its entire 2014 campaign.  

Street Harassment: Getting the Message

Anna Kegler, Deputy Director of Feminist Public Works and HollabackPHILLY and founder of the Feminist Messaging Project, wrote an excellent piece for the Huffington Post about effective messaging for social change. This methodology and research were used to maximize the impact of our current public transit ad campaign. An excerpt of the piece is below, but click through to read the whole article!
The following ads give examples of harassing statements, and pointedly shift the responsibility to respond from the victim to the bystander:
Some of the ads focus on calling out a stranger on their behavior or giving support to a victim after the fact, while others focus on how we can react when those closest to us -- our friends -- are engaging in harassing behaviors. All of these ways of intervening are powerful and important. If we want to see social change around street harassment, we need to start building up social pressure both out in public among strangers, and privately within our inner circles. This means it's time to start stepping in when we see harassment happening, because simply being a person who doesn't harass is not good enough. According to the principle of social proof, our silence when we see harassment happening to others is easily read as acceptance, and reinforces in the harasser's mind (as well as others witnessing the behavior) that the harassment is socially acceptable. The shift from individual responsibility to a community sense of responsibility is commonly known as a bystander intervention approach, which has become a gold standard for gender-based violence prevention. Viewing the problem of street harassment as a shared responsibility is a revolutionary shift, not only because our culture emphasizes individuality at every turn, but because this shift puts the focus squarely on the harasser. If we're active bystanders, ready to intervene, it's because we see someone (the harasser) doing something wrong. What the victim is doing or wearing is not even part of the equation.
The full post is available here.