#NotJustHello identifies a troubling trend in street harassment

A Twitter conversation sparks debate about street harassment and escalation. 

Mar 2, 2020, 2:31 am*

Internet Culture


Aja Romano

We’re sure Twitter user UJohnsmeyer probably meant well. But his defense of men who talk to women on the street may have sparked the weekend’s most engaging social commentary hashtag.

Karnythia and ReinaDeLaIsla were engaged in a conversation with multiple Twitter users about a subject that is increasingly familiar to Internet denizens: street harassment and how to combat it. Apparently prompted by a recurrence of conversation around writer Tariq Nasheed, who advocates a “player” lifestyle, Karnythia tweeted the following Friday night:

Over the weekend, Karnythia and Twitter user feminist_inti went on to elaborate their thoughts on street harassment of women:

By the time UJohnsmeyer joined in the conversation Karnythia and others on her feed were having about problems with street harassment, there were already a number of interested participants. His comments fueled an already hot topic:

Twitter user gfrancie’s tweets took the conversation in a slightly new direction:

From there, a new hashtag was born:

The tag quickly took off, as multiple Twitter users chimed in to talk about how street harassment is rarely about simply being friendly, but almost always about establishing power over a potential victim:

The tweets quickly trended on Twitter, a more targeted and focused version of the #YesAllWomen hashtag that transformed social media discussions about sexism and misogyny in the wake of the misogynistic motivations behind the UCSB shooting.

Even more alarming than the horror stories being shared on #NotJustHello is the undeniable fact that such stories are typical for women across the globe. While #YesAllWomen strove to drive home the universality of these experiences, #NotJustHello attempts to discuss the escalating quality of these interactions:

It’s also highlighting the fear they induce in women because of that escalating nature:

And it seems to be getting the attention of men on Twitter:

While it seems unlikely that the recent wave of Twitter hashtags will do much to cut down on actual street harassment, it also seems clear that the conversation is much-needed and long overdue.

Photo via victoriapeckham/Flickr; CC-BY-SA 2.0

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*First Published: Jun 22, 2014, 2:41 pm