2013 WINNER – Kayla Hogan, a senior at Tufts University, will receive a BA in American Studies in May 2014
This project seeks to address the ever-growing problem of street harassment in Boston. Right now, our society views street
harassment as culturally acceptable; I hope to destroy that mindset and reframe the conversation from one of “Can we stop harassment?” to “How do we stop street harassment?” This project will work with Hollaback! Boston – a chapter of Hollaback! International, a nonprofit committed to ending street harassment – to spread information and tactics that would disrupt street harassment or, in the very least, spark conversation.
My project will implement an ad campaign on MBTA trains that would capture the attention of all Bostonians: men and women, LGBTQ individuals, young and old. The ads will display eye-popping messages that will define street harassment, offer up safe and reasonable responses to it, and provide resources where one could learn more.
For the most part, the MBTA train is an equalizing space. People from all walks of life ride the trains, so people from all walks of life would see the ads. Furthermore, trains and stations are where a lot of the street harassment in Boston runs rampant. The ads would ideally serve as deterrents to harassment in the moment, and in the grander scheme they would get people thinking and talking about street harassment. It’s no question that women are the overwhelming targets of street harassment, and yet women often feel alone in their struggles against harassers. The ads could instill in women, and others affected, a “strength-in-numbers” attitude.
Mass NOW is committed to improving the lives of women, and so am I. By highlighting the pervasiveness of street harassment, my project can give women the strength needed to fight it and, more importantly, it will let them know that they’re not alone in that fight. Advertising has no beginning and end: people, both perpetrators and targets of street harassment, will remember the messages long after the ads are taken down. At the most basic level, the ads have the power to open someone’s eyes about harassment that they have perpetuated, and hopefully inspire change in behavior.