Articles and books

Considering that street harassment has existed since the advent of streets, not a lot has been written about it. Of that which has been written, here are some of our HOLLAfavourites:


“Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Spaces Safe and Welcoming for Women.” Holly Kearl (with forward written by Hollaback co-founders Emily May and Oraia Reid!)

This book, published in 2010, provides an overview of the field of street harassment. It covers academic research, activist interviews, news media, and more. The book also provides strategies for dealing with street harassment when it happens, and describes ways that individuals can join the fight to end it.

“Back Off: How to Confront and Stop Sexual Harassment and Harassers” Martha Langelan

This book focuses on ‘direct-action tactics’ for dealing with street harassers, by sharing stories of individuals who were able to fend our their harassers successfully. The book explores some of the methods you can use to stop street harassment, from nonviolent confrontation to legal recourse.

“License to Harass” Laura Beth Nielsen

In this book Nielson addresses the controversial topic of offensive street harassment being an area covered by the First Amendment right to free speech. She describes how the law has worked to justify street harassment and has given offenders a “license to harass.” Nielson analyzes the results of interviews and surveys to understand the impact that street harassment has on the lives of victims.

Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets Joanne Smith (Author), Meghan Huppuch (Author), Mandy Van Deven (Author), Girls for Gender Equity (Author)

This book provides a models for young women to use in their schools, streets and public spaces to teach each other about sexual harassment. The book talks about the impact of sexual harassment on young women, and what schools, teachers, parents, young women and policy makers can do about it.

Passing By: Gender and Public Harassment Carol Brooks Gardner 

This book discusses public harassment experienced by women. Hundreds of women were interviewed about the types of harassment they experience while in public.  This book also analyzes the different ways harassment is interpreted by women and men.

Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler

This book is about Lois Jenson, one of the first women hired to work at a Minnesota iron mine. The female miners were threatened with explicit graffiti, stalked, and assaulted while on the job. Lois and other female workers came together and filed a complaint against the company, becoming the first to win a sexual harassment class action suit in the U.S.

The Women’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment (New Approaches to the Americas) Carrie N. Baker

This book explores a diverse group of women that were apart of a movement that created public policy on sexual harassment and consequently increased women’s opportunities then and now. The differences in the social groups of the women involved in this movement played a role in the success of this movement by representing different view points and experiences with sexual harassment.

Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism (American Intellectual Culture) Daphne Patai

In this book Daphne Patai acknowledges the accomplishments that feminists have made in terms of sexual harassment legislation. She then addresses the issue that this success might create, an unhealthy, unnatural relationship between men and women.



“A Black Feminist Critique of Same-Race Street Harassment” Hawley Fogg-Davis

This article offers an intersectional analysis (meaning, the intersection of identities like race, gender and class that can contribute to social inequality) of street harassment directed at black women by black men, and highlights the importance of bringin heterosexual black women and lesbian black women together to shine a light on this issue.

DIALOGUE THROUGH STANDPOINT Understanding Women’s and Men’s Standpoints of Sexual Harassment (Debbie S. Dougherty, University of Nebraska) View

Street harassment and the informal ghettoization of women Cynthia Grant Bowman

This article discusses how women are affected by street harassment, the current laws that can be used to combat street harassment, and the shortcomings of those laws. The author wants the law to address the seriousness of street harassment in the lives of women. This article also includes her solutions for stopping street harassment and making public spaces safer for women.

Situating Legal Conciousness: Experiences and Attitudes of Ordinary Citizens about Law and Street Harassment LB Nielsen

This article explores the differences in opinions of individuals who have experienced street harassment while considering their race, gender, and social class. The individuals were also asked about their view on the legality of street harassment in order to understand how legal consciousness varies among social groups.

Street harassment: The language of sexual terrorism EA Kissling

This article emphasizes the similarities of street harassment experienced around the world. Kissling analyzes the social meaning of street harassment and uses the term “sexual terrorism” to describe the fear and vulnerability that women feel when they are victims of street harassment.

Street Smut: Gender, Media, and the Legal Power Dynamics of Street Harassment, or Hey Sexy and Other Verbal Ejaculations OO Laniya 

This article analyzes the ways in which law and media can help draw more attention to street harassment. The media has the ability to educate the public on what street harassment is and how it is just as serious as other types of sexual harassment. It is believed that if the media advocates against harassment of women in public spaces, laws will be made to combat street harassment.

The Woman in the Street: Reclaiming the Public Space from Sexual Harassment DM Thompson 

This article defines street harassment in non-legal and legal terms and explains the causes of street harassment. It also analyzes different solutions for making street harassment a criminal offense while offering legal alternatives to making public spaces safer for women.

Sexual Harassment and Masculinity: The Power and Meaning of “Girl Watching” BETH A. QUINN

This article analyzes “girl watching” by interviewing the men who do it and the women who are watched to discover the gender differences in interpreting sexual harassment. Research indicates that “girl watching” may be a way for men to exert power over women and display their masculinity. Although women often consider “girl watching” to be a form of harassment, men often see it as play.

Gendered Contestations: An Analysis of Street Harassment in Cairo and its Implications for Women’s Access to Public Space‘ N Ilahi

This article discusses the role that street harassment plays in the Egyptian state. In Egypt, street harassment is a male’s attempt to maintain his privilege over women in public spaces and reinforce gender norms. Feminists in Egypt are beginning to speak up about the lack of harassment laws and regard for the safety of women in public spaces.

Opinion: Writing On The City Wall: Street Harassment Must End KC Wagner

This article discusses the ways in which the movement against street harassment has collected data. It references Hollaback!’s Droid and iPhone app and concludes that street harassment is experienced by women of different races and sexualities. Results from a street harassment survey are analyzed to describe the prevalence of street harassment.

Investigating the Utility of the Film “War Zone” in the Prevention of Street Harassment Dovanne A. Darnell

This study was created to determine how effective War Zone, a documentary that addresses street harassment was at changing men’s attitudes about harassment. It was found that hostile thoughts against women and peer acceptance of harassment generally lead to approval of street harassment.

Experiencing the Streets: Harassment and Perceptions of Safety among Women Ross MacMillan, Annette Nierobisz, Sandy Welsch

This article analyzes the ways that street and sexual harassment affect women and their perceptions of safety in public spaces. The authors discuss the prevalence of harassment by strangers and how this type of harassment is a major contributor to women’s feelings of victimization.