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Hollaback Organization Around The World

In my research, I came across the Hollaback organization which aims to end street harassment. There was a plethora of research in developed and developing nations on what constitutes street harassment, who tends to experience it and how often. Internationally, women have experienced this harassment as young as 12 years old. This, combined with the negative emotions that come with it, are especially disheartening. Here are my thoughts & things to consider: 1. Education = empowerment; not just for females but for young males too 2. Will education serve as a preventative measure for future generations? 3. Will education from a young age translate to adulthood? Check out the Hollaback research here:

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My research specifically on street harassment was inspired after reading today's featured contribution "Talk To Me." 

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Kimberley, thank you so much for sharing this research! It is some very interesting read and I particularly looked out for research in Istanbul. From personal experience, I can say that harassment on the street is something of an expected fact for me when I go to touristy parts of Turkey and Egypt. Partly, because I am Russian and blonde, and the tourism industry workers in those countries have a trained eye to spot Russian women. There is a certain stereotype of a Russian woman in those places which results in some men feeling at liberty to communicate in a disrespectful manner.

However, a more interesting and informative insight came from a conversation I had about this with an Egyptian colleague. He is also very aware of this "blonde women" phenomena and what he shared was reflective of more than just a stereotype. He explained that in countries like Egypt, where the way of life is predominantly very traditional and the values that were observed years ago still hold - such as traditional gender roles, expectations with regards to sexual activity before marriage, required financial stability for an eligible bachelor and costs that are associated with marriage. However, in the modern world with fewer opportunities for the less fortunate and wider gaps in wealth within the society, it becomes difficult to get to a position when a man can afford to marry. Plus women become more independent, the narrative of the marriage is shifting from a functional one to an emotional one and all these factors combined mean that people get married later on in life.

On the other hand, physiology, biology and the instincts remain the same and the media constantly bombards people with images of success, sexual promiscuity and unreachable beauty with all the possessions that people start craving.

As a result, there is a conflict - men need to realise their urges, satisfy needs and feel successful and powerful, that the media may seem to suggest they should be and are entitled to, but they cannot do that in the context of marriage for a more extended period of time than they did in the past. Hence, they might feel that harassment is their way of trying attract the attention they desire. In some instances they might direct it towards those who are similar to the images they see in the media - western women, blonde being a symbol of different culture and perceived more relaxed cultural values. In other instances, the harassment is indiscriminatory.

I personally have certainly felt the different attitudes of men I have met from Turkey, Egypt and Morocco towards me in contrast to the women from their own communities - it of course does not apply to all men, but as a trend from my personal interactions.

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Marina, thank you for sharing your story and insight. I think you bring up some fantastic points that I hadn't fully considered. I particularly agree with and applaud your thoughts on men using these actions to attract the attention they desire. Similarly, I went to Egypt in 2010, and while I am not a blonde woman, I too, experienced harassment. I was very conscious of the clothing that I packed, and I was walking around with my boyfriend. I received many stares and my boyfriend even received an offer for me! Obviously, this behavior made me feel uncomfortable at the time. So, I can relate to the story of your travels. Thanks again... this was a great post!