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New Signs Decree New York and Philadelphia “No Catcall Zones”

That cat has lasers for eyes and it knows what to do with 'em.

 If you’ve been noticing new signs on your commute recently, you’re not alone—in honor of Anti-Street Harassment Week (April 12th-18th), nonprofit clothing company Feminist Apparel and the Pennsylvania collective Pussy Division have placed signs throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Philly decreeing city streets a catcall-free zone.

Feminist Apparel’s production coordinator, Alan J. Martofel, explained to Yahoo Style that the goal of the signs is simply to “raise awareness of Anti-Street Harassment Week and create some further dialogue surrounding the issue”:

This is the first community-based activist campaign we’ve been able to fund through the sale of t-shirts on our website. There are currently over 50 signs up, we do have a few more we’re meaning to sneak up throughout the week, as well as sticker versions of the sign designs. We hope to get at least one sign up in each borough by the end of the week as street harassment and catcalling is obviously a universal issue not contained to any one neighborhood.

Awareness-building and dialogue-creation surrounding feminist issues is at the core of our nonprofit’s mission, which is why getting these street signs made and up and working alongside Pussy Division in doing so has been such a fulfilling experience.

In addition to ongoing projects like Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s “Stop Telling Women to Smile”, the past year has seen several high-profile campaigns create a dialogue about catcalling and street harassment; a Hollaback video documenting the unwanted comments received by one woman walking through Manhattan for ten hours went viral last October and inspired more inclusive response videos examining the street harassment experienced by trans women and women of color and the catcalling perpetrated by white men.

Although it’s likely that Feminist Apparel and Pussy Division’s signs will begin disappearing soon (thank Hera for stickers!), it’s worth noting that some cities are well on there way to actually enforcing catcall-free zoning: last September Kansas City, Missouri took the first steps towards outlawing harassment (and yes, directing “loud or unusual sounds” at a pedestrian constitutes harassment) within city limits.

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