CREDIT: Everett Collection
Here is an excellent, wonderful thing: feminist phone intervention.
In a perfect world, a woman who isn’t interested in a guy in a bar could just say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” In the real world, women are wary of escalating a situation with a complete stranger who could be drunk or violent or who knows what. Women who say “no” risk a whole bunch of trouble, from general douchery (your typical “what a bitch” under his breath as he walks away) to a physical confrontation. A “sure, you can have my number” is the fastest way to make someone leave you alone. But you don’t want to just give out your real phone number to someone you really hope to never cross paths with again.
This is where the feminist phone intervention comes in. Give a guy the number 669-221-6251. Whether he texts or calls, he’ll get some feminist wisdom courtesy of bell hooks, activist, author, and all-around feminist MVP.
According to an email the anonymous creator sent the Hairpin, the number was inspired by the way the New York Post printed bikini photos “of the woman who ‘spurned’ Elliot Rodgers [the UCSB shooter]. Despite the fact that she was only 10 years old at the time they met, she was portrayed as having romantically rejected Rodgers.”
hooks (the pen name of Gloria Jean Watkins) has been a powerful voice for feminism since 1981, when she published her first major work, Ain’t I A Woman? Black Women and Feminism. She’s the perfect choice for the voice of this phone line; she wrote Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics with the goal, as Ms. Magazine described it, “to introduce feminist politics in an accessible format in order to reach the widest possible audience.” hooks wrote that “There should be billboards; ads in magazines; ads on buses, subways, trains; television commercials spreading the word, letting the world know more about feminism.” If she had written that book in 2014, she’d probably have included cell phones in her list, too.
This phone number is the best. Well, I guess the “best” would be if we didn’t live in a culture where men (but no, not all men) feel entitled to a date with every woman they fancy. The best would be if women were not required to engage in all this exhausting and ridiculous subterfuge just to ensure our own safety and happiness. Until that day arrives, though, we have this brilliant invention. A tip of the lady-hat to you, anonymous creator!