cat-calling-shk-op-ed

In an anti-catcalling rant, two sassy New Yorkers vent their frustrations with the lewd street-side behavior.

Catcalling is the difference between:

—   A harmless jaunt to your corner bodega donning sweats, searching for a late-night hoagie

  and

—   A leer fest from a huddle of men whistling birdcalls and shouting obscenities about your lady parts from the safety of a car

Obviously, a catcaller’s intention isn’t landing a soul mate by hollering “hey ma” from a street nook (or whatever scaffolding they’re dangling from), so what’s the point? Perhaps the egocentric thrill of asserting dominance — or embarrassing the target — establishes some selfish power trip? Clearly, it’s all about them. However strange you feel after a catcall is inconsequential. Maybe these dudes can’t help themselves from spewing out word vomit full of base-level adjectives, which they think to be compliments, in a rapid-fire succession at the sight of an attractive ass. There’s a fine line between verbal abuse and sexual harassment, folks.

You can almost anticipate which shapes of testosterone will howl, purr, honk or slurp (true story) after you from afar.

Some catcallers bless your beauty, while others are totally weird, stupid and “whatever.” Still, in far too many instances, a catcaller becomes aggressive when you refuse to smile at their request.  Are we meant to be flattered by such offensive encounters? The origins of the term “catcall” trace back to the mid 17th century, where it denoted a kind of whistle or squeaking instrument used to express disapproval at a theatre. From there, it evolved to simply describing a derisive remark. With such strong ties to public denunciation, how are we not meant to feel degraded and criticized when a stranger decides to share his opinion of the way we look if the online casino very word that has been chosen to describe the act is, at its root, a mark of disapproval?

Shockingly, these pathetic displays still happen on the regular and are not limited to women; both sexes are subject to objectification, scrutiny and juvenile commentary (according to our very statistically accurate street polls). What’s more, the rise of social media and dating websites have made the one-lined text and IM sufficient enough to express attraction — whether meaningful or crude. As if quality interpersonal interaction isn’t enough on the decline, catcalling echoes this trend as scumbags blurt out cues of verbal interest without having to actually face the person on their radar. Much like the modern world hides behind a screen, it’s easier to holler something after a girl that likely won’t warrant a response than to face one’s insecurities.

Technology has its redeeming qualities though, propelling us into instant global connectivity; it’s too bad the catcall is as lame and antiquated as it always was. — BRITTANY MCBRIDE & MARIA EILERSEN

How to respond?

We”ve had it. Tired of walking down the street without a boy by our side, tired of tilting our head down like cowards. Instead…

—  Stand your ground, look the asshole in the eye and say exactly what is on your mind. (Skeevy jackass! etc.)

—  Become a Warrior Mother Flipping Birds Princess. Give your middle finger some exercise. (You get it.)

—  Scream “THANKS!” in the loudest, most obnoxious voice possible so it”s obvious to others there”s a creepy dude nearby.

—  If the catcaller says something like, “Come on, give me a smile.” You have all the opportunity in the world to make up some crazy ass lie as to why you aren”t smiling (you just killed your dog, you recently escaped the ward, you have your period, etc.)

— Say something really ironic: “I really want to have sex with you right now, thank you.”

— If you”re against the “comeback,” we understand. Sometimes the best thing you can do is shoot the craziest stink eye, like a “you”re the most disgusting creature I ever saw” sort of look. Bonus: when glare directly at the creep, he is forced to acknowledge that you are a person and not an object, which will make him feel like shit. Hopefully.

— Always stay alert. Don”t be on your phone, gals!

Leave a comment and let us know how you respond…

[photos: Bad Girls — paperback cover art by  James Alfred Meese, 1958 / Women Who Prowl for Men — Robert Emil Schulz]

 

Comments

comments