March 12, 2006 — -- It's one of those things you always hear women complaining about: Men catcalling to them on the street.
Now there's a way women can fight back against street harassment: A new Web site, hollabacknyc.com, asks people to use camera phones to snap a photo of anyone who hoots or hollers at them. Then, they post the leering faces online for all the world to see.
But some men seem to have little shame about their leering ways. In fact, ABC News interviewed men on the street who admitted they whistle, hoot and holler all the time.
"It's just part of being a man I guess," one admitted catcaller said.
Women interviewed didn't seem to be thrilled with the ritual.
"It's so demeaning, I can't imagine any woman who had any self-respect actually responding," one said.
"They will start going 'Psssst psst.' What does that mean?" another woman said. "Am I supposed to look? 'Pssst psssst.' That's not my name."
Maybe that's why the Web site has gotten responses from women as far away as India and North Korea.
"We're trying to create a community where women feel safe speaking out against street harassment," said Emily May, one of the site's founders. "I think that's been exceptionally empowering for a lot of women."
But will this attempt to out the louse really work? Will it actually stop men on the streets from hollering?
"On the one hand, maybe many married men who are doing this will be a little more scared to think that their wife could see their picture on the Web," said Dalton Conley a professor of sociology at New York University. "On the other hand, my guess is most of the men that are doing this are quite proud they're doing it in a big public setting."