Not Your Baby: Sexual Harassment Social Justice

By Kaitlyn Manasterski (new username)

The application I chose to write about today is the “Not Your Baby” mobile app for the iPhone that we briefly discussed in class on February 2nd, 2015. I have chosen this social justice app after an incident on public transportation last week where I was followed to my seat by a drunk, middle-aged man and then endured (and rejected) advances and a variety of verbal comments for about 15 minutes until I arrived at my stop and could leave the situation. Even as a young, female, college student who has dealt with instances of sexual harassment on multiple occasions, I sometimes neglect the existence of this issue. There have been minutes between occurrences where I have been harassed on the street but there have also been months between occurrences. It is even easier to forget that sexual harassment exists, or to pretend that it does not, when it does not ever happen to you or anyone you know.

Social justice is the formal expression of the feeling that the world does not treat all people fairly and that society should be made fairer. (Light & Luckin) The “Not Your Baby” app is designed to provide information and ideas on how someone, male or female, can respond to situations of sexual harassment at work, home, school, on the street, and on public transit.(Not Your Baby)  According to Gunraj, the “Not Your Baby” was founded by a Toronto-based group called Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women.

Here is an application demo: 

One of the biggest issues around sexual harassment is that people do not talk about it nearly as much as they should. Most people are aware that it happens in varying degrees of inappropriateness but few people actively try to do anything about it. A DailyMail articles by Sadie Whitelocks on “Not Your Baby” also states that only one in every ten instances of sexual harassment are reported. This statistic helps to explain why it is uncommon for many people to hear about sexual harassment and why so many people may be unaware that sexual harassment is a prevalent issue. It can be difficult to jump into someone else’s conversation regarding sexual harassment if you do not know them and you may not be 100% sure that someone has done something wrong. People on public transportation may look at a situation happening but choose not to step in because no one else is, they can’t figure out if what is happening is actually a problem, or they just do not know what to say.

The example statements listed on the app provide great ideas on how to respond to a variety of situations regarding sexual harassment. Reading these example statements before sexual harassment occurs can allow a victim to remain calm in an uncomfortable situation because they are not as caught off-guard and unprepared as they would be without having used the application. There are also personal stories, links to additional resources, and legal information available to users. App users may have a better understanding of what they need to say in order to take control of a situation. Using the app after an instance of sexual harassment occurs can help to raise awareness of other potential sexual harassment situations. It can also provide a learning opportunity on how one should have reacted, and how to react in future situations.

I believe the app is mildly successful at its end-goal of addressing social justice. The goal is to provide information to people so that they may discuss and address sexual harassment before, during, and after it has happened, and to raise awareness in general about sexual harassment. The application is very user-friendly.  It has little easy-to-click square icons with text and pictures to determine what sexual harassment scenario may have taken place. There is a lot of information available to educate yourself on sexual harassment.

It could be more successful in terms of accessibility. There is currently no “Not Your Baby” website that I could find. It would make a lot of sense to transition this application from a mobile platform to a text-based or interactive website. A “Not Your Baby” website link would allow people who do not have access to smartphone applications to reach this valuable resource on how to handle sexual harassment. Additionally, a link to a website that can be directly explored is shared more easily on social media, and in online news articles, than a link to a description in the app store.

References:

Gunraj, A. (2012, September 10). “Not Your Baby” iPhone app helps users deal with sexual harassment. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from http://www.ihollaback.org/blog/2012/09/10/not-your-baby-iphone-app-helps-users-deal-with-sexual-harassment/

 

Light, A., & Luckin, R. (n.d.). Designing for social justice: People, technology, learning. Retrieved March 7, 2015, from https://mobmedsp15.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/designing_for_social_justice.pdf

METRAC. (2012, October 24). Not Your Baby mobile app demo. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLalc6XBIpk

Not Your Baby. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2015, from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/not-your-baby/id545191859?mt=8

Whitelocks, S. (2012, September 17). I’m not your baby! The iPhone app that gives women the perfect withering one-liners to answer embarrassing catcalls . Retrieved March 6, 2015.

Advertisements

One thought on “Not Your Baby: Sexual Harassment Social Justice

  1. Though I also reviewed the Not Your Baby app, this essay raises very different arguments and interesting questions. It is great to start off with a personal story that relates to the issue at hand, which works well as a transition to the concerns about awareness of sexual harassment.

    The connection between people observing harassment in public and the app’s function of providing solutions could be make stronger. This connection is implied but not explicitly drawn and explained.

    The details about how the app works could be condensed into one paragraph earlier in the essay to establish what is being discussed, rather than broken across parts of two separate paragraphs toward the end.

    The point about making a related website for the app is a great suggestion, since it would boost visibility of the service and potentially bring in new users, ultimately serving the end goal of sexual harassment justice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s