Noa Jansma was tired of men yelling random, obscene, repulsive “pick-up lines” as she passed on the street, which studies show happens to a majority of women.
So the 21-year-old from Amsterdam started an Instagram project she calls #DearCatcallers. Jansma took 24 selfies with men she accused of catcalling her in the past month “to create awareness about the objectification of women in my daily life.”
“By making the selfie, both the objectifier and the object are assembled in one composition,” Jansma wrote on Instagram. “Myself, as the object, standing in front of the catcallers represents the reversed power ratio which is caused by this project."
Jansma said she was catcalled more than the 24 times she took a photo, but only did so when she felt safe, according to the Independent.
She said only one man asked why she was taking the selfie, according to Dutch newspaper Het Parool, as reported and translated by The Independent.
In the photos, Jansma appears stone cold, angry and annoyed while her catcallers are laughing, touching her and gleeful, as if it’s all a joke.
"They're not at all suspicious because they find what they do completely normal," she told Het Parool.
She also includes disturbing captions that include the exact phrases she alleges her catcallers said.
"I know what I would do with you, baby."
"God bless, When I see you, all I get is wild thoughts, wild, Wild Thoughts!!"
Her account has more than 69,000 followers and has been praised by women around the world who can relate, calling her “brave” and “inspiring.” But some of the comments represent the exact attitude she is fighting.
“What do u expect, u pretty. and thumbs up to the brave men not scared to tell u that,” one commenter wrote.
A British journalist started a similar project, Cheer Up Luv, where she photographs women where they were harassed to raise awareness of sexual objectification and harassment.
In 2014, a New York woman’s YouTube video recording of“10 hours of walking in NYC as a woman” went viral.
Though Jansma’s 30-day project has ended, she wants to continue the fight against catcalling by encouraging women around the world to send her #DearCatcallers selfies.
“My month of posts has ended, but it doesn't mean that catcallers are in the past as well,” Jansma wrote. “To show that it's a global phenomenon and that this art-project is not only about me, I'll pass on the account to different girls around the world. This will be a process and it will take time, so please stay tuned."