FemMap: the next level

When I first started developing Whistleblower, my goal was to create an app and a database map showing all forms of violence against women around the world.

The idea was to create a worldwide collaborative map that would give the viewers a sense of how big of a problem street harassment is. By the time I had developed the idea, I found out that, as many other good ideas in the world, it had been done already. More than once, actually.

I started searching for other similar initiatives and found out about Chega de Fiu Fiu, Hollaback, HarassMap and Blow The Whistle. They all had the same purpose: address street harassment as a problem in their community, expose the amount of times women get catcalled in the street and create a map with it.

I began wondering how much these movements knew about each other: they were from different continents, made by different people, but with essentially the same purpose. Did they know about each other before? Was it a collaborative action? If they knew about their similarities, would they like to help each other out?

That’s when I decided there was another project waiting to be done: a database of feminist projects. This tool could not only quantify the amount of work that has been done on gender equality, but also be used to compare projects across the globe and, more importantly, put similar projects in contact.

This is the starting point for FemMap, the Feminist Map of Projects. The website aims to create a worldwide network that can connect activists from projects working with similar ideas, problems, in similar regions or purposes.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 5.59.00 PM

In order for it to work, FemMap uses collaborative help, counting on its users to insert projects that either they are part of or that they know of. Anyone can insert a project. FemMap fact-checks all information before publishing.

So check out our new project, spread the word and let’s create a powerful feminist network!

Pirelli Calendar replaces objectified women for influential ones

Yoko Ono posing for Pirelli's Calendar

Yoko Ono posing for Pirelli’s Calendar

Extraordinary news coming from what appears to be a former sexist icon: the Pirelli Calendar. Known for displaying sexy models on nude and almost-nude pictures, the Calendar is being produced by Annie Leibovitz and promises to be revolutionary: instead of naked models, it will bring influential women to look at every month of 2016.

The teaser video gives us a sample of what’s to come:

Among the influential names that will be featured in the calendar are Patty Smith, Amy Schumer, Serena Williams and Yoko Ono.

Film producer Kathleen Kennedy and Annie Leibovitz

Film producer Kathleen Kennedy and Annie Leibovitz

Very interesting to see Pirelli going on that direction. It shows that the feminist movement in the US is influencing discussions about women objectification. Hopefully, the Calendar will get the attention it deserves and the bet will pay off for Pirelli. Influential women all around the world are thankful for it!

Tennis player Serena Williams and Leibovitz

Tennis player Serena Williams and Leibovitz

More about it:

Behind the Scenes of Annie Leibovitz’s Groundbreaking Pirelli Calendar Shoot With Patti Smith, Serena Williams, Yoko Ono, and More

Serena Williams And Amy Schumer To Star In 2016 Pirelli Calendar

Serena Williams, Amy Schumer, Patti Smith, and Yoko Ono Star in Pinup Calendar

Latin America fights back sexism: no more street harassment

The recent movement against the increasing street harassment that we see in all Latin America has resulted in new laws in Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru, and movements towards that in Argentina. Check out this story made by AFP.

assedio fantastico

Women in Brazil have spoken up about harassment like never before. A recent story in the main Sunday news TV show had a man harassing a girl in a park, when the cameras got the reaction of the population around.

More and more, the problem of street harassment and catcalls are turning from a “normal, acceptable” behavior of men to an inadequate act of abuse and violence.

Thanks to all campaigns done in Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia and Brazil, the mentality of that society has been changing.

Call for proposals

The Whistleblower, a project organised by Hamburg University together with Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, comes to a new phase in which opens space for companies and individuals to offer their services to participate in our new project.

Feminist Initiatives Database

Goal

To create a database with all initiatives done by feminist organisations or individuals around the world, mapping where they act, how many people are reached and for how long the project has been going on.

Why mapping initiatives and not organisations?

The reason we chose to map the activities and projects instead of the organisations themselves is because there are more active organisations than others – who can get more entries – and there are also individual activities, not being shown.

How

The database can be designed in a form of a map, so the initiatives can be found geographically, showing if an activity reaches the whole country or just several states, cities or communities.

In a new layer, all entries can be connected through links, e.g. matching dates or matching organisations, allowing the user to see how many activities happened in a current year or from a certain organisation. This information will not be shown in a form of a map.

Once the user clicks on an activity, a box appears with all the details from the project and contacts of the organisation.

On the box:

–          Type of initiative (it can be more than one)

–          Name of the project

–          Organisation or individual responsible for the project

–          Geographical reach (international, national, state, city, community)

–          Country – or countries

–          Duration

–          People reached

–          Contact

–          Outcomes (results, facts and figures from the project)

The types of initiatives

An important layer of the map is connected to type of initiatives that are predefined as:

–          Street harassment

–          Hotlines/ Support against violence

–          Politics

–          Funding / Financial Aid

–          News website/ Women empowerment

–          Community mobilisation

–          Academic work

How the database will be fed

There will be a contact on the corner of the map indicating that any person can create an entry for the map, sending all the infos necessary. After submission, the box must indicate the following message: “Thank you for your collaboration. All entries in the Feminist Initiatives Database are analysed and checked by our team before appearing in the map. Please be patient, the process can take longer than expected”.

Website

The website of the database can be a simple blog for news and comments about the projects inserted in the database. It works as the homepage of the project, informing what it is about. In a second phase, there will be the need to expand the website for info graphics and numbers section based on numbers of the map.

Languages

The first language will be English. There is the need to count that other languages will be added later on. The project needs to have that possibility.

Reference

IMDB.com – The Internet Movie Database is a good reference of how the information can be reached: by country, date, type of initiative, organisation, etc.

Offers to participate can be sent to juguarany@gmail.com. The offer needs to have a time plan and deadline for delivery, as well as the total budget needed. Best offer, involving solutions and lower prices, will be selected. Please, keep in mind that this is a non-profit project and budgets are very limited.

When did we become enemies?

This text was originally published on Stop Street Harassment. Click here to see it

The discussion over street harassment – and violence against women in general – has grown to a level of insanity on the Internet. I have been watching several debates online ending in a series of mutual insults from men to women and vice-versa. On one side is the argument that men are only trying to give a compliment to a stranger. On the other side, women say that this behavior is invasive and annoying, to say the least.

Of course we can find women and men on both sides, but essentially, this has turned into a battle of the sexes in a very aggressive way. Whenever there is an argument against street harassment, a man shows up to show how offended he is by being accused of harassment just by saying a girl is pretty. Or even trying to prove he knows better and women should listen to him. On the other hand, women – mostly feminist activists – simply can’t deal with men anymore and the minute a man decides to talk he receives aggressive answers (not that they aren’t justifiable, this simply happens).

What I don’t understand is: if women are saying this behavior is bad, why is it so hard for men to acknowledge that and simply stop? Why do men counter-argue it by saying it wasn’t their intention to be mean?

Intention vs effect

I’m sure a strange man would not have the intention to hurt a strange woman on the street, but this is the problem right here: no matter what the intention is, the effect of it is unwanted by women. For that reason, and for that reason only, they should stop.

It’s like getting a meat dish for a vegetarian everyday because you think that dish is good, even though the vegetarian doesn’t like it. Just stop!

Instead of stopping, men become aggressive and Internet debates are filled with hate and we can see men and women growing apart. This movement is hurting both sides and not having much of an effect on those who actually practice violence.

So, what should be done?

First of all, if you are a man, think about your actions towards women in general and notice if, maybe, you tend to invade their personal space uninvited. It is important that you pay attention to it and respect a woman just as you would respect another man. Change that and you will be ok.

Now, if you are a man and you don’t catcall and you do respect everyone’s personal spaces, I guess there is no reason for you to be offended by it, is it? So don’t get offended if you’re not the target.

Now, if you’re a woman, know this: it’s hard not to get offended by hurtful responses online, but keep the debate to an upper level, otherwise aggressiveness will just take over.

It is important to understand that a message of respect is being passed here and if we act aggressively, the only message that goes through is more violence.

When we elevate the debate, there is a chance to get the message across and create collaboration. Let’s try not to look at every man as an enemy, so then we can get along and respect each other.

The “forced kiss” incident

This article was originally written for Stop Street Harassment. Click here to see the page.

Para ler este texto em português, clique aqui

So this happened: I was enjoying Carnaval in São Paulo, following a nice bloco down the street when I see this guy forcing a girl to kiss him. She was uncomfortably laughing, in an attempt to get rid of him without spoiling the fun of the party. I had the same reaction as her: just watched him grabbing her and kissing her for less than 30 seconds and he was gone, and she was back with her friends, probably telling herself that this is normal during this time of the year and she should just let it go. It was too fast and I knew that, if I intervened, things could get uglier, so I couldn’t do much at that time.

French kisses during Carnaval are a tradition, of course. Even singer Claudia Leitte made a song about it and broke a record of couples kissing on one of her concerts. Unfortunately, forced kisses are also very common. I get stories from friends being kissed against their will on micaretas (out-of-season Carnaval parties) since I’m 15. I get also stories of male friends on their tactics: this guy used to take a tube of lança-perfume (an illegal mixture of ethyl chloride that gives a quick sense of euphoria, but can cause arrhythmia) and just hold the girls, forcing them to inhale it until they pass out, so he would kiss them. I guess every stupid action has its extreme.

Right before Carnaval started this year, a man was charged with seven years in prison for forcing a kiss into a girl in Salvador, Bahia, in 2008, which was considered rape. He was arrested at the scene and spent one year in jail before getting the right to appeal while free.

The main TV channel in the region used the story only to give us a great “why we need feminism” moment when they released a poll for their internet users, asking if “the forced kiss during Carnaval should be prohibited”.

forcedkiss

Unlike me in the bloco, social media did not let this go. They even remembered the famous kiss after the war and the glamour behind a scene of violence:

forced kiss twitter

“‘Forced kiss in Carnaval should be prohibited?’ How much I hate this picture”

As I can see from 30 years of Carnaval, this year is no different from any other yet, but at least we can see that the debate on forced kisses and harassment in general is rising. Let’s hope next year brings us an even better party, in which we will not hesitate to intervene when a forced kiss happens in front of us.