• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

German teen launches global feminist trend

Emma Anderson · 20 Mar 2015, 17:18

Published: 20 Mar 2015 17:18 GMT+01:00

Elonë Kastrati was sitting in a youth center in the hip Berlin district of Kreuzberg when something unusual caught her eye.

There was a sanitary pad stuck to a window of the center, the 19-year-old student from Karlsruhe in Baden-Württemberg told The Local this week.

"I started thinking about how society gets so offended by such normal things, pads," Kastrati says.

The idea then dawned on her to start an art project of sorts, to post the feminine hygiene products around town, labelled with different messages pertaining to street harrassment, sexual violence and sexism.

On March 8th, for International Women's Day, Kastrati posted the pads on light poles, transit schedules and adverts, posting photos of her work to Instagram as she went along.

One read 'imagine if men were as disgusted with rape as they are with periods'. Another said 'rapists rape people not outfits'.

 

 

She didn't realize the kind of attention her posts had attracted until a couple days later.

"I put up a picture on Tumblr, and two days later when I came home from work, my sister said 'Do you know what has happened?'" Kastrati explains.

Her Tumblr and Instagram followings had exploded to thousands of people, and Buzzfeed had posted an article about her project.

Soon, Kastrati was receiving messages from people all over the world who wanted to mimic her project in their own countries.  

She said she was happily surprised when a young man from New Delhi sent her message about starting the project.

"I said 'Yes, of course, I can't travel all over the world to stick the pads everywhere,'" Kastrati says excitedly. "He said he didn't want people to think it was only women who cared about women."

Her inbox has been filled with messages from Chile, the USA, South Africa, and Sweden. And next month, she has been invited to speak at an anti-street harassment week in Heidelberg.

While Kastrati says her message is to spread awareness about topics like sexual harassment, she has encountered some of her own online.

Though most of the messages she received after starting her project have been positive, others have been physically threatening.

"I got messages saying 'you're a whore' or 'you should get raped to death,'" she says.

"I don't take it personally because they insult themselves with this. I feel sorry for them, not for me… They are also an example showing the whole world not to be like this."

Others have criticized her place of privilege coming from Germany, saying she does not understand sexism in the rest of the world.

But Kastrati says she never intended to speak for everyone and encourages people to take on the project as they want in their own countries.

Still, Kastrati says there is still work to be done in Germany when it comes to gender equality.

A recent study found that women still earn 21.6 percent less per hour than men, making Germany the fourth-worst country for female employees in the EU, behind Estonia, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Story continues below…

"We are living in 2015 and women's jobs are still less paid than men's jobs," she says.

"Some people still think that women aren't qualified for certain jobs, and that women can only do certain jobs," Kastrati says, adding that this also should not limit men from doing jobs that people think only women should do, like nursing.

"It's about equality," she explains. "No one should be preferred or considered more worth it."

 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Far-right AfD reach record high in national poll
AfD leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was backed by 16 percent of respondents in a new poll, which was a new high for the upstart populist party.

Bautzen youth beat up pensioner in racist attack
Photo: DPA

In the Saxon town of Bautzen, which has become a byword for racism and anti-migrant sentiment, two youths have attacked a 72-year-old man, shouting 'foreigners out'.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,753
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd