After dealing with catcalling, illustrator Debi Hasky turned her frustration with street harassment into art.
Inspired by the whistles she heard and comments she received while living in Panama, Hasky created a series of illustrations titled "Call Out Cat Calls." The 24-year-old, who was born and raised in Miami, Florida, aims to spread awareness through her work of the unwanted attention many women receive while walking down the street.
"With this series, I hope to provoke a conversation, especially in Latin America where catcalling is still a very present issue," she told The Huffington Post in an email.
Hasky spoke to other women in Panama about their experiences with catcalling and felt so connected to the Spanish language while living there that she started the series in Spanish. Now, she is developing designs using English. She told HuffPost that her empowering drawings have sparked some negative commentary from "anti-feminists" and has seen the word "feminazi" pop up in responses. That doesn’t overshadow the positive feedback she’s received though, especially from her family.
"I have received an overwhelmingly positive response from my family and Latinas everywhere," she said. "My family is Panamanian and I grew up surrounded by strong, independent women who have always encouraged me in any venture I have pursued."
Aside from the support she's received, her experience with catcalling had another surprisingly positive side effect. On the day she was harassed and called a "mamacita" on the streets of Panama, Hasky had been trying to come up with an idea so she could enter a scholarship contest for the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED). The catcalling experience sparked the idea behind "Call Out Cat Calls," and she submitted three illustrations for the contest which embodied the theme "Design for a Better World." She is now living in Barcelona, Spain studying graphic design at IED, thanks to the scholarship she earned.
Hasky is proud of the conversation her illustrations have started so far and hopes the dialogue surrounding catcalling continues. She also hopes they encourage people to take a stand and express what they're feeling.
"As a whole, I hope my illustrations inspire people to embrace their unique qualities, giving them the courage to express their emotions," she said. "Know that your feelings are valid. You are not alone."
See more of Hasky's illustrations below and head over to her site for more of her work.
Also on HuffPost: