Psst, Schatje!: Mapping and Resisting Street Harassment in Amsterdam, Online and Beyond
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With the recent surge in viral videos worldwide featuring women with candid cameras walking down the streets from New York to Casablanca, street harassment has grabbed the attention of international media outlets, audiences and governments alike. At the same time, digital technologies and online activist platforms have been harnessed by social movements worldwide to mobilize communities and inspire action, such as Twitter campaigns during the Arab Spring or Facebook-based activism during the Egyptian revolution. In this thesis, I ask: What factors influence street harassment interactions and how can online platforms map these interactions and impact gendered and heterosexist public spaces in Amsterdam? I hypothesize that street harassment is a normalized gendered and heterosexist practice, where men harass individuals they perceive as women, and that digital and online technologies have the potential to expose these interactions as heterosexist and to mobilize quick, collective and widespread forms of resistance. Through analysis of a survey conducted in Amsterdam in January and February 2015, as well as data from online posts to the international anti- street harassment platform Hollaback!, this thesis aims to intervene at the intersection of street harassment and technology, to contribute to dominant street harassment discourse, and to address wider feminist concerns with heterosexism to show how such heterosexist systems of power are manifested in public spaces.