HollabackPHILLY Officially Transitions to Feminist Public Works. Join them!

Cross Posted from HollabackPHILLY. The members of the HollabackPHILLY team are separating from the main Hollaback! organization. We will continue to post street harassment stories at philly.ihollaback.org as it is a valuable story-sharing resource that contributes to the rich international network of activism, but all of our ongoing local and national activism will now take place through Feminist Public Works, an organization we launched in Spring 2014. Our decision to leave the Hollaback! organization was catalyzed by the recent release of the “10 Hours Walking in NYC as a Woman” video. We were just as surprised by the content of the video (which had serious representation issues) as everyone else. Some important details:
  • The main Hollaback! organization, based in New York City, released the video independently.
  • None of the 79+ international branches were involved in or aware of the project.
  • While we all share a brand, each local Hollaback! branch operates independently and receives no funding or significant operational support from the paid Hollaback! staff at the main branch in New York City.
Feminist efforts are not successful unless they simultaneously address other forms of structural and institutionalized prejudices, like racism, ableism, and classism, alongside gender. A movement must have this kind of thinking at its heart to successfully promote the kinds of nuanced conversations necessary to create change that is as expansive, varied, and complex as the people the movement represents. Despite the inspiration and growth we have enjoyed from our involvement with this international network of passionate activists, when our brand affiliations begin to call our intentions and integrity into question, and start to contradict our actions, we know we have a responsibility to act. When our concerns were raised with the Hollaback! leadership in New York, they were not addressed sufficiently enough for us to continue the affiliation. We choose to release a statement publicly distancing ourselves instead of transitioning more quietly because part of being intersectional feminists means we cannot leave all the hard work for others. As we regularly discuss in our workshops, calling out those closest to you is oftentimes the most difficult, but also the most important, stand you can take.  

3 thoughts on “HollabackPHILLY Officially Transitions to Feminist Public Works. Join them!

  • November 22, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    When I read the definition of “Intersectional Feminism” coined in 1989 to describe the appropriate complexity of true feminism and awareness that feminism is not a “one size fits all” ideal, it occurred to me that instead of describing true feminism with all the relevant added descriptions of racism, ableism, classism, etc. what we are truly looking at is even greater. If you are not a white, anglo-saxon protestant (common acronym “WASP”) who is also an educated male, (so perhaps a new acronym “EMWASP”) you have likely experience some form of a prejudiced “..ism”. The EMWASP is the 1% that we have all been becoming more aware of being the governing force in education issues, out of balance pay scales, harassment (or lack of ) policies, etc. Of all of the forms of “….isms” , feminism can be the greatest catalyst for change because most women do indeed have at least one of the other “…isms” piggybacked on their situation. Bringing feminine wisdom into our society as a guiding force in corporations, government and social media is perhaps the swiftest and most effective way to collectively address all of the areas. Good stand, well done. How can I help?

  • November 24, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Thank you! That list was by no means exhaustive of the varying intersecting and overlapping oppressions that need to be addressed, but was just meant to provide examples for people who might have needed them. Intersectionality goes even beyond individual forms of oppression to include the way an organization is structured and how it engages its community in conversation. It is a pretty expansive concept we hope to fully embody here at Feminist Public Works and are glad you were inspired to research the concept. This piece (below) is pretty dense (will feel like homework), but is a great overview of structural issues that should also be addressed within a truly intersectional organization.

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