No matter what city you live in you will always find men who catcall women on the street. Some will do more than just catcall and insinuate provocative actions that they want to take against these women. Some even go so far as to grab certain body parts or assault the woman. This is what photographer Caroline Tompkins experienced every day in Brooklyn. She moved there in 2011 and ever since has been harassed by men when she is walking on the street, in the grocery store, even going to school. She decided to do what she could to take a stand against these men and hopefully spread the word to other men as well that harassment is not okay.
As a photographer, Tompkins uses her camera to send a message. When she is catcalled by a man or told what she can do with his gen!tals, she takes out her camera and tells them that she is going to take a picture of them. Some don’t care. Others become very defensive and tell her that they don’t want their photo taken. She simply asks them why. Why is it okay for these men to harass her on the street and make her feel very uncomfortable but she is not allowed to do something as simple as take a photo of them? She exerts her power over the situation by pulling out that camera and essentially putting a face to harassment all over the city.
Tompkins states that she isn’t sure how the men are affected by this initiative, if at all, but she is hoping that they will see that there are consequences to their actions by having their photo spread around with the caption that they are someone that likes to make women feel uncomfortable. She also hopes to show women that they are not powerless in this situation and that they are able to take control and stand up for themselves. She says that she like so many other women in this country do not feel safe walking on the streets and for her this body of work is about for her. She is taking back her power so that she doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable about walking on the street.