Catcalling is not a compliment

111014 Public space

I am writing this while waiting at AT&T. Walking into the store, through the mall parking lot, I saw some men walking through a row of cars towards me. I looked forward. I have been conditioned to look forward, walk with purpose. Don’t make eye contact.

I hear them yell after me, “Hey, how you doin’? You are attractive. I think you dropped something.”

I walked forward. I didn’t look their way. The last time I acknowledged a man’s gaze in a parking lot he exposed himself to me. I was traumatized.
So I walked straight. I thought about yelling at them but I couldn’t muster up the strength. I was alone and, unfortunately, I fear for my safety constantly. If I talk back, what will they do? Two big guys against me. I fear for my safety.

Now I am waiting in the store and feel dirty. I feel unclean. Street harassment is not a compliment. “Hollering” at me does not make me feel pretty. I do not take it as a compliment and I’m sure most women don’t. The topic of street harassment has become a topic in the mainstream. More and more people are speaking up and saying enough is enough.

This video, along with many other videos and photo campaigns, have opened a dialogue about the topic.

The woman in the above video, Shoshana B. Roberts, is now receiving threats for her participation in the video. She doesn’t feel safe. Just reading through the comments section of the video will turn your stomach. I feel sick just reading them. People complaining about the women, women sticking up for her then they get attacked. Where does it end? When you comment on a video like this with insults towards women or you tell them to smile you are further demonstrating the point they are making!

111014 street harassment Cat calling isn’t a compliment. It is rude. It makes us feel self-conscious and dirty. It is an intrusion on our right to just be. I do not walk around to please others. I do not dress the way I do to entertain anyone. Women are not just sexual objects. It ISN’T alright. We are people with minds, feelings, opinions, and yes, bodies. We should be respected.

Have you ever been cat called? How did it make you feel?

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14 thoughts on “Catcalling is not a compliment

  1. The environment I work at has a ton of construction guys, who at the worst times sit outside on their lunch breaks making cat calls at people passing by, mothers with their children and someone just enjoying their day, seriously disgusts me especially since I’m a dad to a daughter.

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  2. I am delighted to be married to such a strong, independent, and beautiful woman. I am glad my parents taught me early on how to talk to women the correct way. I am proud of you for always telling it like it is.

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  3. This really GRINDS MY GEARS!!! I hate the fact we have to be cautious about walking around on our own, be it night or day.
    Just recently there’s been a predator in my local area who preys on women that are out running alone. Now I have to make an effort to DRIVE to an area where there are lots of people just so I can exercise. This isn’t cool!
    To the guys that holler, whistle, toot their horn – well they can frankly go and fuck themselves, cos I sure as shit won’t be after you treat a woman like that!
    *end rant*
    Rosie xo

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  4. Ugh. I completely, 100% agree with everything you’ve said. I absolutely hate being cat-called, whether I’m feeling good about myself or not. And that’s not even the point. It is INTRUSIVE. It’s irritating. It’s rude. It makes me feel self-concious. Sometimes, it even makes me feel unsafe. I’ve had guys tell me I have a ‘shitty nose ring’, I’ve had guys tell me outright (in a supermarket, for Christ’s sake) that I have a ‘great rack’, I’ve had guys follow me from my college campus all the way to the bus stop, interrogating me about my hair and telling me they’re going to follow me home. It’s terrifying.

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  5. Pingback: MJ Valentine | Live Love, Make Magic

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