cute catcalls feminist street harassment zoe stromberg personal stories illustrations fight back
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Zoe Stromberg
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September 15, 2021
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Cutecatcalls: Zoe Stromberg’s Fight Against Street Harassment

Zoe Stromberg tackles feminist topics one at a time, and works through all the emotions we have had no way of expressing.

Whether we are taking about periods, sexual harassment or even raw data on women’s issues, Zoe is there to bring us closer together and hit us right in the feels. She was inspired to create the ‘cutcatcalls’ Instagram account after she was repeatedly followed by some strange man during her second year of university.

This made her realize that catcalls are never ‘just’ catcalls, but that they are part of a much bigger problem. She thus decided she would illustrate hers and other people's experiences of street harassment through drawings. Her illustrations are always accompanied by the person’s story, told in their own words. Here is an example of what women face in the street:

‘I was in London on the night England played the semi finals recently. Despite saying no as it was during covid , 2 men both 15 years my senior sat on my table and wouldn’t leave. I was tired of saying no being stared at sexually , so I left the bar with my mate. After trying to avoid them following us , I already felt so upset, uncomfortable and really unsafe walking back when I don’t know how many cars pulled up next to us and a man blocked both of us in a street asking to "see something happy". The thing that broke me was that I was sat on the floor exhausted from feeling sexualised , yelled at and stalked and a man came over . He asked if we was ok and seemed really sincere , I explained that I wasn’t and had a really bad night . He then added “I understand, but don’t tell me this is about men or being harassed, because I don’t buy anything like that!" and laughed. I just burst into tears and had to sit in a CO -OP staff room after begging the security guard until my train arrived , as I really thought I’d never get home safe. That mans comment was honestly awful , I haven’t been to London since. I’m getting better but this is the reality.’

Since its beginnings, the page has gone way beyond that, and aside from creating drawings that capture everyday struggles so beautifully, Zoe also shares some ressources to take action in the UK. She also gives tips on how to fight back. For instance, her ‘5 lies you keep being told about catcalling’ post contains possible answers you can give to people! You can check them down below!

Image credits: Zoe Stromberg

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