“Nice ass”, “Wow you’re looking good”, “Come back to mine?”, “Sorry, I have to say it, you have an amazing body”, “Damn girl”.
Since the summer I turned fourteen every time I’m out by myself I get at least one person catcalling me. In my opinion there are different types of catcalls and although they are all utterly disgusting, some are worse than others.
So the main types of catcalling: on the street, from a car, in your face. When you are catcalled by a man on the street, he is usually in a group as the sole purpose of catcalling in front of your friends is to impress them. Yes, them. Ultimately when a man catcalls you when he’s with his friends it isn’t because he’s interested in you or trying to impress you. He thinks that by objectifying you and making disgusting comments, his friends will think he is cool or something like that. To be honest who knows what’s going through their heads.
When someone is in a car they roll down the window and shout something demeaning at you. When this occurs the man is usually on his own, I know what you’re thinking. “If a man has no one to impress why would he catcall someone?” Well, catcalling someone and putting them down, makes the man feel powerful. And they have the defence of sitting in a car so you can’t get to them. This means they can be intimidating and you can’t do anything about it.
THIS IS BY FAR THE WORST! When a man or a group of men get up in your face and shout something at you. For example I was walking down the street once on the way back from the gym, and I have to say I wasn’t looking my best. A little red and sweaty. But luckily for me a young man decided to boost my confidence by coming right up to me, so he was closer than you’re allowed to be in netball, and said the most flattering thing I’ve ever heard. “I’d fuck you!”. Well, if you can’t detect the sarcasm in that little extract from my life then you have some serious problems as the only thing that made me feel, was disgusting.
Is it me? Is it what I’m wearing? Whenever I used to go out anywhere I would think, “Is this top too low? Is this skirt too short? Am I asking for it?” Why should we have to think about these things so we don’t get sexually abused in the street. But after a while I realised it doesn’t matter what I wear. I’ve been catcalled whilst wearing a loose fitted coat that was buttoned up from head to toe. It makes no difference.
Do men (not all men, just the disgusting ones that harass women on the street) have no shame? There have been multiple incidents when I’ve been out WITH MY PARENTS and people have catcalled me. Once I was out with my dad just walking along and someone was mouthing things at me that were less than pleasant and making inappropriate gestures at me, IN FRONT OF MY FATHER! Luckily he didn’t really see as I’m sure he would have severely injured him. Another time, I was out with my mum and a group of 19 year olds (just a wild guess at there age, I didn’t ask them) came up to me then started a conversation with each other about how they would “have a go on that”. How lovely!
If you genuinely like a woman, then there is a difference between shouting something demeaning at at woman or approaching her in a non-forceful way and giving her a compliment. Another little extract from my life: about a year ago I was on the train and I kept making eye contact with this guy, we happened to get off at the same stop. He came up to me and said something along the lines of “Hi, I thought you were really beautiful and I wanted to know your name” or something like that, I don’t know, that made it sound creepier than it was. But the point is that is non-intimidating or forceful, just flattering. It turned out he was eight years older than me, so nothing happened but it still made my day brighter.
Ultimately not all men are disgusting pigs that sexually harass women. But some of them are, and it is not okay. A women has the right to go out without fearing that something will happen to her. It is everyone’s job to make the world a safer place and make everyone comfortable to go out and about.
Have a great day! Xx