Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, my name is Eve, and I’m the creator of @catcallsofsaltlakecity. I’ve a feminist since I knew what feminism was, I’m Jewish and bisexual. I love traveling the world—going to Paris, especially.
When did you start your account?
I began my account right at the beginning of the school year, in late August.
Why were you inspired to start an account?
I had been following Sophie’s account, catcallsofnyc, for a long time and recently had been asking my friends if they’d ever been catcalled—if so, what. I wanted to start off on an activism project that was more than just an activism board on Pinterest or my feed on Instagram having a lot of feminist content. When I was catcalled for the very first time in the fourth week of school, that did it, and it started off my chalks. The very first chalk post on my account is my catcall, in fact.
Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?
“Chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness because anyone can see it! Victims of street harassment, street harassers, bystanders, upstanders, people who have no idea that catcalling existed at all. Your audience has huge diversity, so it raises awareness faster and it is more widespread. I especially love how the catcalls are the same place that it happened—it memorializes it. People who have been catcalled deserve a voice, and “chalking back” gives them one.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
One of my catcalls was about my red hair, which I absolutely love about myself. The moment that the catcall happened, I looked at my hair and how much I love it seemed to falter very sharply for a moment. Catcalling takes you, your body, and makes it someone else’s in a disgusting and violating way, and nobody should feel that way. You belong to yourself and nobody else—no one should make you feel otherwise, and no one should try.
What’s your favorite thing about your city?
What I love about Salt Lake City is that it has both a nature and an urban aspect of it. I can hike in the foothills and be downtown shopping within the same couple of hours!
How can your city better address street harassment?
The first step would be to acknowledge it. Salt Lake, being very conservative as a whole, has a community where harassment and assault is on the down-low and there are lots of threats if people do speak up about it. I want posters and signs and street art about it. My mother, who grew up in Boston, asked me, when I told her about starting the account—“do people even get catcalled in Salt Lake City?” The answer is an overwhelming “yes” but the fact that she even asked that question, and that so many other people do, is exactly why we need to “chalk back”.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
Ultimately, my goal is to end street harassment, but unfortunately that seems like too optimistic of an expectation. More realistically, I want people to know about it. I want my chalks to be spread to everything from conservative to liberal households, teenagers to seniors, girls to boys, students to teachers. And I want people to acknowledge it and make a significant effort to do something when they see it happen.
What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced?
I am very fortunate as to be able to count the number of street harassment that I’ve experienced on one hand. They have also always happened when I’m going fast, whether I am in a car or walking. But I would say the most difficult one was the one about my red hair, “Yo, can I have your number? I like redheads!”, even though it wasn’t bad at all, it really did stagger my confidence in a trait in myself that I hold so close to my heart.
What does being part of this campaign mean to you?
Being part of the catcallsof campaign means to me that I’m promoting change. I am raising awareness and supporting victims of street harassment—I am giving people a voice. I see in so many DMs that they were too scared to say anything but the anonymity and yet still the message of the “chalk back” helps them speak up. I feel like the members of the catcallsof community are Loraxes, of a sort!