What Is Catcalling? 7 71065

Catcalling is a term referring to when a man whistles, yells, hollers, or makes a comment to a women in a sexual manor. It’s something that happens thousands of times a day all over the world, is it ‘playful banter’ or is it harassment?

Most women have experienced catcalling at some point in their life; and for quite a few women it’s something that starts when they’re very young. I can remember grown men honking at me, and yelling at me and my friends from their car, when I was just thirteen years old. I still experience it almost every time I leave my house.

I view catcalling as harassment; we don’t ask to be yelled at or told we “have a nice ass,” and we definitely don’t wake up and get dressed with the intentions of making some random man on the streets think I’m ‘sexy’. What is even creepier about catcalling is that a majority of the time, it’s usually an older male, I can recall being catcalled by hundreds of men old enough to be my father when I was just fourteen years old.

Not only is catcalling creepy and unnecessary, it’s also very scary. I can recall when I was sixteen years old and i was walking around downtown Seattle when a man approached me and told me he “liked my body.” I respectfully said thank you and tried to walk away, which resulted in him grabbing my arm and having him try to drag me with him. Thankfully, I broke free and was able to run away, but it was a terrifying experience regardless.

I shouldn’t feel scared to ride the bus, walk around my city, or just leave my home in general because I’m scared of being harassed, kidnapped or even raped!

Many people have tried to claim catcalling is actually the women’s fault. Saying that she ‘provokes’ the men by wearing revealing clothes or presenting herself in a way that makes men think its “okay to sexually harass her.”

I say thats absolutely ridiculous; studies have been done that actually prove women wearing all types of clothing are catcalled. Also, showing skin isn’t an invitation to be harassed or anything to be ashamed about.

What I don’t understand is, at what point in life do men start believing its okay to make racy and inappropriate comments at women? Was it in school when they learned that girls skin was a ‘distraction’ to them, or was it the constant sexualization of women that is all around us?

Regardless, it is it’s time to stop. Let’s focus on making the world a place where women don’t have to fear riding the bus or walking down the street. Let’s teach today’s youth that sexual harassment isn’t funny and isn’t playful. Let’s stop catcalling.

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  1. Sierra Steffes makes a good point here about catcalling, however, she could go much farther in her case about the older man who grabbed her when she was 14. That actually should be labelled as an assault by a predacious pedophile. Not only straight men can be so rude and criminal. I was harassed repeatedly in the Denver Union Pacific train station when I had to take the City of Seattle train into Denver from Sterling early mornings for biweekly appointments at the orthodontist. This went on from age 14 to 16 and arrival was too early for any alternative waiting place. Queer pedophiles hit on me, sometimes as many as three in succession before I was able to catch a taxi to the dentists office in wintertime. I was almost pathologically shy and was totally terrified, yet could not bear embarrassment to tell my gay bashing stepfather. He was a surgeon, so powerless to travel with me in any event. That was in the 1960’s. Perhaps there is need for distinction between catcalling and more serious harassment that my prove a bit difficult to define. Certainly mothers should teach their sons basic manners. Such manners when catcalling other teenage boys while cruising the streets of Sterling were considered fighting words and kids leaned to consider chances of a broken nose. Why should young women feel any differently? Certainly touch and grab is crossing the line and prosecution should apply. It is true that some women walking in pairs will be looking to be picked up and invite such behaviour and also prostitutes, but men can be held responsible to distinguish between mature women and school girls. Teach your children well!

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