Meet the uni student taking on the catcallers

20-year-old Noa Jansma, a student from Amsterdam, takes selfies with every man who catcalls her.
20-year-old Noa Jansma, a student from Amsterdam, takes selfies with every man who catcalls her.

Being harassed on the street is an all too frequent occurrence for most women.

And often when it happens, it's hard to know how best to react. Should you engage with your catcaller or ignore them?

Well one young woman has found an ingenious way to deal with her harassers and send a powerful message at the same time.

#dearcatcallers "I know what I would do with you, baby"

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

20-year-old Noa Jansma, a student from Amsterdam, takes selfies with every man who catcalls her.

And these aren't sly selfies without the men realising either - she asks them and they're happy to oblige, seemingly not understanding the situation at all.

In just a month and 30 posts, the account has amassed over 45,000 followers.

There's a theme to the pictures too - we see Jansma, straight-faced, and grinning men, oblivious to the fact that they've made her feel uncomfortable. The first man she asked replied "with enthusiasm," Jansma told Het Parool.

#dearcatcallers "Babyyyyyyyy! THANKYOU" *blowkiss* (slide ➡️)

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

Explaining her project, Jansma writes that being catcalled is "not a compliment.

"This Instagram has the aim to create awareness about the objectification of women in daily life," she wrote at the end of August.

"Since many people still don't know how often and in whatever context 'catcalling' happens, I'll be showing my catcallers within the period of one month."

In a selfie, "both the objectification and the object are assembled in one composition. Myself, as the object, standing in front of the catcallers represents the reversed power ratio which is caused by this project."

#dearcatcallers "baby! Baby! *whisting*"

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

Jansma had had the idea in her head for a while, but after two men harassed her on a train, she decided to take action.

Over the course of the month, only one man asked her why she wanted to take a selfie, which says it all really.

Nog een keer #dearcatcallers *psssssst, kissing sounds and whistling"

A post shared by dearcatcallers (@dearcatcallers) on

"They're not at all suspicious because they find what they do completely normal," Jansma said.

And there were actually more incidences of street harassment than the Instagram account suggests - on some occasions, Jansma didn't feel safe enough to ask for a selfie or the man had already got away.

Having finished her month-long project, Jansma wants to pass on the Instagram account to other girls around the world.

From 1 January 2018, street harassment will be punishable by a fine of 190€ (£170) in Amsterdam. Whilst she believes the law will be hard to impose, Jansma says she thinks it's "symbolic, and I think that's good."

Topics:  editors picks harassment instagram

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sharing cultures through food

DIG IN: Lockyer Valley Community Centre volunteers at the Harmony Day food tasting

Community centre hosts Harmony Day event

Gordon reflects on farming life in the Lockyer

LOOKING BACK: Laidley's Gordon Niebling says he has loved his farming life and living in the Lockyer Valley.

The self-proclaimed 'Jack of all trades”, Gordon Niebling.

Clare Atkinson Journalism Scholarship needs your support

IN HONOUR: Brightview's Lesley Atkinson is urging the public to help continue the Clare Atkinson Memorial Scholarship.

Help continue Clare Atkinson's legacy and the future of journalism.

Local Partners