Feminism's New Phone Number
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because giving someone this fake number will literally teach him a lesson.
By Laura Secorun Palet
Most women know the feeling: A sketchy guy asks for your digits and won’t take “no” for an answer. Many come up with a fake number and are done with it. But there might be a more enlightening alternative: an educational rejection hotline.
“The idea is to pass it off as one’s own number if you’re in a dicey situation, afraid to give out your personal cell phone number or outright reject somebody,” says the hotline’s anonymous creator.
The caller might not get what he wants, but at least he’ll learn something.
The number is 669-221-6251 because apparently 669-UGH-ASIF, 669-WTF-DUDE and 669-MAJR-SHADE were already taken.
When the unwanted suitor dials the 10 digits, he’ll be greeted by a distinctly enthusiastic computer-automated voice reciting nuggets of bell hookian wisdom, such as “Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power,” or “If any female feels she needs anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.”
The service is free, but the website accepts donations to keep it going, and its creators are quickly expanding the number of locations and languages. There are currently area-specific numbers for New York; Chicago; London; Toronto; Montreal (in French); Monterrey, Mexico; and Tel Aviv.
As empowering or just plain funny as the concept might seem, there’s something unsettling about it. Has it come to this? Isn’t this just another form of deception? Surely if a woman doesn’t want to give someone her number, shouldn’t a simple “no” suffice?
If only. The website’s founder argues that the hotline is sadly necessary “because we’re raised to know it’s safer to give a fake phone number than to directly reject an aggressive guy. We’re raised to know that evasion or rejection can be met with violence.”
Of course, this is no real solution to harassment. While it’s useful for fending off number-demanding creeps on the spot, chances are that hearing a robot say, “Whenever domination is present, love is lacking,” will not make much of an impression. But it might offer some relief to women feeling cornered.
The source code for the service has been posted online, for those looking to create their own versions. One has already launched in Germany.
Now the creators of the world’s most disappointing hotline hope others will help them expand the work. The open source code for the service has been posted online , together with instructions for those looking to create their own versions of the Feminist Phone Intervention. One has already been launched in Germany .
Maybe next will be similar services for Facebook or WhatsApp. For now, the line’s creator is “thinking of putting up a Gmail account too, which would automatically respond with a candid ‘Thank you for your note. However, I am away on vacation — from the patriarchy.’”