Guest Post: ‘Catcalling; I’m Really Not Interested’

Women have made much progress over the years.

We have embraced our strengths as world leaders, spouses, activists, educators, mothers, friends and countless other roles to demonstrate that our gender is not one to underestimate. But even as our society is experiencing positive changes to bring equality among genders, (i.e., equal pay legislation, paid maternity/paternity leave, etc.) emerging technology and the upsurge of social media usage has encouraged aggressive comments toward young women on their looks and image; these are also made in public.

That is why many young women are beginning to fight back against female objectification, especially that of “catcalling,” by highlighting that this form of harassment is damaging, inappropriate and sometimes frightening; one peer chose to disintegrate the justification for shouting or messaging unwanted remarks toward both women and men — in most cases, about their body — by penning the compelling piece below, using their own personal experiences and interactions with vocal and social media aggressors.

Please enjoy this month’s featured guest post* on the Old Soul Millennial blog:

Catcalling; I’m Really Not Interested

I have a great concern.

So great, in fact, that the concern has turned into an apparent problem.  

The time has come; the topic needs to be discussed.

The concern, the problem, and the topic is catcalling. Merriam-Webster constitutes the word as a verb: to make a whistle, shout, or comment of a sexual nature to a woman passing by.

And that’s just a nice way of putting it.

“Damn, girl, damn.” The tallest of them say, the rest eyeing my body up and down.

However, in this day and age, the act of catcalling has become so much more than an action to a woman (or man) passing by. The virtual world of texting, snapchatting, and all of social media is to thank for the expansion of the definition of a catcall. A woman or man does not need to be walking past you in the twenty-first century in order for you to harass them.

 l should not be frightened to walk into the shopping mall by myself because what was once supposed to be an enjoyable day of scoring incredible store deals, turned into a group of “men” surrounding me.

“Damn, girl, damn.” The tallest of them say, the rest eyeing my body up and down.

A catcall remark followed by a swift slap to MY ass. 

Think for a moment. Reflect. Have you ever whistled at a woman from the inside of your car with the window down while she sauntered down the street? Have you ever made a statement to your friend about the huge biceps the sexy man with the beard had who just walked past you in the store? You may think they didn’t hear you, but chances are, they did.

And chances are, you meant for them to hear you.

A woman walking down the street with a confident swagger does not need you to applaud her walk with a whistle.

A man who is proud of his muscles, wearing a short-sleeved shirt does not need you to applaud his defined arms with a comment.

The offender does not get to decide whether or not the offended has the right to be offended. It is their body, their state of mind, and their self-confidence you are affecting.

Think for a moment. Reflect. Is the breath you are inhaling, only to exhale in the form of a whistle, an act you would want to be directed to your sister? Mother? Daughter? Is the remark or comment you’re about to say something you would say to your brother? Father? Son?

So let me repeat myself.

The offender does not get to decide whether or not the offended has the right to be offended.

Only weeks ago, a boy whom I had previously gone to school with snapchatted me at eleven o’clock at night.

“Send me a pic of dat ass.” The ten-second, blacked out picture read.

I politely declined.

“So what are you, a lesbian now?”

No, I am not a lesbian. Though I have nothing against the idea of two women being in love, I was offended. Offended at the fact that because I had declined this boy, he automatically assumed I had changed my sexual interests.

A terrible problem in today’s society has a very simple answer to end the act of catcalling: if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.

I politely declined. Again.

“Damn, what’s your problem?”

The use of “‘dat ass’” made his attempt at obtaining sexual pictures of my naked bum a catcall. His response to my second decline made my offender believe he was not in the wrong for asking for pictures in the first place. 

My offender decided I did not have the right to be offended.

A terrible problem in today’s society has a very simple answer to end the act of catcalling: if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.

Think for a moment. Reflect. Is the breath you are inhaling, only to exhale in the form of a whistle, an act you would want to be directed to your sister? Mother? Daughter? Is the remark or comment you’re about to say something you would say to your brother? Father? Son?

We are all human. I urge you, please, to end the concept of a catcall. There is so much more to a woman and a man than their body. Our bodies, state of mind, and self-confidence are at stake here, people. Compliment a person on their characteristics and personality over the curve of their thigh or the size of their breasts.

We are so much more than that.

Besides, respecting a woman (or man) will get you so much farther than any catcall ever would.

 

*This piece was used with the permission of its author. Names/details may have been removed or changed to guard anonymity. Events described in this piece are based on true occurrences.

 

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