Hashtags. #NotJustHello. What Street Harassment is Actually Trying to Say.

Mikki Kendall

As someone who has been a target of street harassment many times living in New York City, I’ve heard much more than “hello”. I’ve heard “bitch”, I’ve also heard “ho”, and, like many women, I’ve been the target of actions over words.

“I was just trying to say hello” is a chillingly common excuse for street harassment, particularly from violent harassers. As women share their stories on social media and in safe spaces, it’s interesting and depressing to see how even when incidents occurs thousands of miles away from one another, the narratives and excuses around them often sound similar.

Through #NotJustHello, a hashtag started by Mikki Kendall, several women shared their perspectives on street harassment and the eerily common excuse used by harassers of all stripes.

They aren’t trying to say “just say hello”, they are saying “I need to dominate, intimidate and degrade you to feel powerful”.