Sophie is addressing an issue that people experience day-to-day all over the world. Her rewarding work gives people the space to share their stories and bring awareness to varying experiences of harassment. Sophie, you truly are a Heroic Human...
You are my Heroes,
"I was inspired to share my story with you because Catcalls of NYC is about building community and engaging new people. The Instagram account is made possible by followers who submit their stories of harassment in the New York City area. I then share their stories by writing them on the sidewalk in chalk in the spot where they originally happened and posting them on Instagram. My goal is to raise awareness about catcalling-- an issue that is often belittled, ignored or considered “just words.” By sharing these stories I provide people with a community of support and make them feel less alone. By writing the comments in chalk on the sidewalk I force the public to pay attention to these words that are being said to women on a daily basis.
For me, this account has always been personal. I grew up in New York City and catcalling was (unfortunately) a part of my transition to adulthood. When it started happening, I didn’t understand what was going on. At age 15, I felt uncomfortable when men would talk to me. Comments like “hello beautiful” and “sexy” made me extremely self conscious walking down the street. Sometimes I would avert my eyes, look down at my phone or even cross the street if I saw a man walking towards me.
What originally made me feel uncomfortable soon made me very angry. Why was this behavior allowed in public? Why was my experience as a young girl in NYC so drastically different from those of my male friends? Why did I have to think about what I could wear so as not to provoke unwanted attention? Even as I recognized how problematic this behavior was, I never felt comfortable responding
to men who catcalled me. Their words silenced me. I started Catcalls of NYC as my way of speaking back. Rather than saying something in the moment, which I was too afraid to do, I could do something after the fact. I could use my story for good and offer others a platform to share their stories too. Furthermore, by raising awareness I could challenge the culture that normalizes street harassment and eventually change it.
I highlight intersectionality on my account because feminism is nothing without intersectionality. For me, this means recognizing the different aspects of peoples' identities and how they contribute to their experiences of harassment. In this way, the account is an educational platform for people to learn about the different types of street harassment diverse people in NYC face.
Overall, this work is extremely rewarding. People often thank me for giving them a space to share their stories. Sometimes I’m the first person they’ve told and it’s a relief for them to not carry the burden alone. People who haven’t experienced harassment have also thanked me for shedding light on this topic. One man told me that because of my account he’s become more aware of how his own behavior may make someone uncomfortable. He feels that he’s becoming a better ally. It’s gratifying to help other victims of street harassment by giving them a voice. I'm thrilled that by reaching new people with this message I can change minds and embolden people to tackle this pervasive behaviour."
Follow Sophie's initiative on Instagram: @catcallsofnyc
Heroic Humans is a social impact movement that provides a gathering space for inspiration, celebration and empowerment. We aim to foster connections among heroic people and groups, helping to establish a broader reach and more profound influence on their individual communities. We care about authentic connections and the power behind all people and passions. Let’s join forces and recognize those who make a difference.
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FOUNDER & CEO
For the past couple months, I've been working on an idea that has completely set my heart and soul on fire. I've been laying the foundation of a social impact movement that has an unwavering mission: to inspire, celebrate and empower Heroic members of our communities.
In doing this, we can all play a part in celebrating the good versus the bad and share authentic stories, people, passions and inspirations. Heroic Humans is a space that seeks to foster acceptance and inclusion in a world wedded to judgmental social norms and constructs. It is a place that refuses to marginalize and exclude people. It is a place where we can thrive as our truest and most powerful selves.
Join me in kicking off my journey as the founder of Heroic Humans and participate as this movement shakes the world. Follow us on social media to watch it all unfold.
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Heroism comes in all forms. Whether it’s someone who lights you up, inspires you or others, or pours your favorite cup of coffee; everyone has their own story to tell and a life to change.
With your help, we can uncover raw emotion and vulnerability, overcome adverse conditions, and applaud human empowerment in all its forms.
Submit your Heroic Human and share their impact with us. We’d love to get to know them!
HEROISM LIVES HERE