Archives Tag : pre-sufferage

“Smashing the Masher:” The early women’s movement against street harassment in America

According to Estelle Freedman, the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in U.S. History at Stanford University, aggressive male street flirts, or “mashers,” were a widespread and vexatious problem for American urban women in the pre-suffrage era. One of the most interesting things about the masher problem, she said, was the evolving public response to it. At first newspapers urged respectable men to play a stronger role in protecting women from ogling and catcalls. Gradually though, women began taking matters into their own hands.

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