I don't know many women who haven't given a fake number to some random dude (or dudette) that they aren't interested in but can't quite seem to shake. I also don't know a lot of women who haven't regretted giving their real number to someone that the weren't really feeling (or someone they later realized didn't deserve it).

In the face of that struggle, some super clever folks with a great sense of humor have created a bell hooks phone line that will respond to any attempted call or text message with a text message of its own...only instead of being a response from you, it'll be a bell hooks quote. As the purveyors of this inspired service say: "[P]rotect your privacy while dropping some feminist knowledge when your unwanted "suitor" calls or texts."

I don't toss the word "genius" around lightly, but this is exactly that. In the face of what we've all be reading and sharing after the UCSB shootings, even a casual perusal of the #YesAllWomen tag reveals the every day struggle of just trying to move through the world as a woman. We all know the "common sense" list that most women and very few men use to keep themselves safe; giving out a fake number is right up there with claiming to have a boyfriend that doesn't exist in "lies to make sure I don't get hurt."

Because of the volume of need demonstrated in just the first day, the organizers are asking for donations to keep it alive, but have pledge that any surplus will be donated to The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

From their website:

because we're raised to know it's safer to give a fake phone number than to directly reject an aggressive guy.

because we're raised to know that evasion or rejection can be met with violence.

because women are still threatened and punished for rejecting advances.

because (669) UGH-ASIF, WTF-DUDE, and MAJR-SHADE were taken.

because why give any old fake number, when you can have bell hooks screen your calls?

so next time, just give out this number: (669) 221-6251

tech to protect.

These are my kind of people. Now the only question is, should I list (669) 221-6251 under "bell hooks" or "for creepers" in my phone?

Image courtesy South End Press.