Dealing with delusional lotharios at the bar can be annoying, sinister or just plain tiring, but a new internet-approved scheme provides some feminist firepower to harassed drinkers around the world.
The ‘feminist phone intervention’ project is simply a rented hotline available in the US, UK, Canada and Mexico that responds to calls or texts with an “an automatically-generated quotation from feminist writer bell hooks” (yes, the lack of capitalisation is intentional).
Anyone can give out the numbers if pressed for their digits, allowing people who just want to enjoy their night to “protect [their] privacy while dropping some feminist knowledge when [their] unwanted “suitor” calls or texts.”
The site’s anonymous creator got in contact with The Hairpin to say they’d been inspired to create the service after the media’s reaction to the 2014 Isla Vista killings:
“The idea came to me after the NYPost printed bikini photos of the woman who "spurned" Elliot Rodger. Despite the fact that she was only 10 years old at the time they met, she was portrayed as having romantically rejected Rodger,” said the creator by email.
The scheme’s Tumblr gives some more details as to why such a service might be needed: “Because we’re raised to know it’s safer to give a fake phone number than to directly reject an aggressive guy […] because we’re raised to know that evasion or rejection can be met with violence.”
The creators say that since setting up the phone line they’ve received “thousands of calls in the first day, with no signs of slowing down” and are asking for donations to keep the service running in the US, UK and abroad, with “any money raised beyond the cost of paying the phone bill […] donated to The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.”
When The Independent called the UK phone number to try the service for ourselves (it's +44 20 3095 4193 by the way) we were offered the following quotation: “Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power — not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist.”