When I was a freshman, I remember a slew of catcalls that would come to my and my friends’ way whenever my friends and I would go out to parties. For a while, my friends would say that “You just gotta deal with it. It’s just part of being a girl.” or “Just take the compliment.” Now as a senior, I know that this kind of behavior is just not OK.
This past August, reporter Alex Berg for Cosmopolitan recorded all the catcalls she received in a month. And like myself, her friends and acquaintances have told her just to accept it.
In her findings, she immediately recognizes her privilege.
“As a white, able bodied and cisgender woman, meaning that the sex I was assigned at birth matches my gender identity, I can usually assume that I won’t be physically harmed when I’m harassed,” Berg said.
Black women face higher levels of violence than white women, according to the Women of Color Network, while women of color are more likely to be sexually objectified to begin with. She also discovered that men didn’t realize how uncomfortable it made her feel, so when she often talked back, they usually got angry or verbally combative.
Catcalling is uncomfortable on so many levels as a female. First of all, I want people to notice me not because of my looks, but for my personality, my heart and my brain. For decades though, women have been and still are objectified. So we’re taught to “deal” with it. We’re taught to just ignore the idiots. We’re taught to be silenced by these words and simply walk by them. I can say that I’ve never EVER been impressed by someone that catcalled at me.
If you’re someone that is attracted to me, that’s totally fine. I’d feel way more respected if he had the balls to come talk to me like a real man would.
There’s a huge difference between a man and a boy. A boy feels the need to prove his masculinity by objectifying women in public. Rather than come up to her and treat her like an actual human-being, he gives her attention rather than respect. A real man wouldn’t feel the need to publicly call out to a woman like that. He’s secure in his masculinity.
Another observation I see is that boys that catcall usually have somewhat of a shield. They’re always in a group of guys or driving by so they can whisk away quickly. If he’s by himself though, he’s probably wouldn’t dare say something to you. Something that I really hate is when boys catcall while I’m walking alone. It makes me feel vulnerable rather than appreciated.
Boys, know that catcalling is not a way to a woman’s heart ever. If you think you look cool or like a man because you have the audacity to talk to women like that, you’re sadly mistaken. Often times when you catcall, it’s unwanted attention. Regardless of what someone is wearing or what she looks like, there’s no excuse for that kind of childish behavior. It’s not an ego boost. It’s disrespectful.
Email at Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org