Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Catcalling: verbal abuse?

Catcalling is a well-known topic all over the country, and Plattsburgh State students are no exception.

Whether it’s someone whistling at a person from a car as they drive by or someone in the dining hall who just can’t keep their thoughts to themselves, catcalling is something that some people are expected to deal with.

Not anymore.

Now more than ever, women are starting to speak up. A new campaign by non-profit feminist organization Feminist Apparel has been promoted throughout New York City, according to an article from the Huffington Post.

The organization created street signs saying “NO catcalling at anytime” branded in large red letters. Almost 50 signs have been posted across New York City thus far.

According to the article, between 70 and 99 percent of women admit to experiencing some form of catcalling. The prevalence of this issue could easily stir up a lot of conversation with women everywhere.

“It makes me feel like a dog,” biology major Diana Moore said.

“They’re just calling out to me,” she said. “Do they think that I’m going to run up to them and say ‘What’s your name?’ No, I’m not going to do that.”
Moore doesn’t consider the attention flattering.

“It’s not like they are trying to get to know your personality,” she said. “It’s still a compliment, but it can be degrading.”
Moore believes catcalling has a negative effect on a woman’s self-esteem.

PSUC sophomore Pete Bocassi said he believes catcalling is a good thing and that females like it.

He understands not all women view it as welcomed attention, “Not everyone’s the same, results vary” he said.
Bocassi said when experiencing cat calling, a women’s self-esteem can rise.

“They want compliments, they love it.”

But the questions on every woman’s mind when experiencing catcalling: When are the words too much? What can and can’t be said? It’s about knowing what someone is comfortable with, but a little communication can go a long way.

Bocassi said he understands some guys can take it too far.

“If a girl has declared that she wants absolutely nothing to do with the guy and he continues to try, that’s just too much,” he said.
Senior nursing major Kelly Martin isn’t understanding when it comes to catcalling.

“I do think it’s degrading,” she said.

College students, especially females, are subjected to catcalling on a regular basis. According to an article on stopstreetharassment.org, nearly 80 percent of women ages 18-28 said they have experienced some form of catcalling or street harassment.

According to the Biocheminist, a blog by Kat Bowles, 98 percent of women who participated in a survey in 2008 reported they have experienced catcalling at some point in the lives.

Martin describes the callers as “not someone that you would normally want attention from.”

“They’re strangers, and you’re out in the open,” she said. “You’re coming home from yoga, obviously wearing your yoga pants. You’re having a good day you don’t want to be cat called.”

“You aren’t in the mood to be ‘appreciated’ I guess,” Martin said. “Especially by someone that you don’t know.”

According to Bowles, harassment by strangers makes women feel less safe and more scared than harassment by a known individual at work or at home.
The stress women may experience after incidents of catcalling or other forms of harassment can have negative effects on their mental health and physical well-being.

Bowles said the results of study conducted by a Canadian Biochemist in 2008 showed stress from experiencing catcalling can cause nausea, sleeplessness, anxiety and depression. The severity of these symptoms varies among individuals because everyone processes stress differently.

From being considered a compliment to causing harm, catcalling affects everyone differently.

“It certainly wouldn’t make me want to date them,” Moore said.

Email Madison Winters at madison.winters@cardinalpointsonline.com

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