She Said: Cool Guys Don’t Catcall

Sarah Irby, Assistant Editor~

I’m not really sure why some guys think it’s a viable idea to catcall, but they keep doing it, so some part of them obviously doesn’t think it’s a BAD idea. What I’m wondering is if they realize how upsetting (that’s an understatement) it can be to women, or if they know and just don’t care.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that there are women out there who actually enjoy being catcalled once in a while, and that’s totally fine, as long as they don’t misconstrue it and start thinking that men are doing it out of respect or to make their day a little better. It’s not a heartfelt compliment.

So why do some men do it? I’m really asking. Is it because you think if you yell at us from across the street, telling us how great any number of our body parts are, that we’ll immediately be blown away and want to have sex with you?

I’m sorry to inform you that that is not, in any way, how it works.

In reality, catcalling is sexual harassment, whether you want to believe it or not. Step into our shoes for a minute. Can you imagine walking somewhere alone and being stared at constantly, like a piece of meat?

We can see that desire in your eyes, and it scares us. We don’t know what you’re capable of.

Cat calling
Illustration by Genevieve Griffin

Can you imagine some stranger coming up behind you and saying crude things or even touching or grabbing you? You have absolutely no right to take advantage of our bodies. They belong to us only.

And you definitely don’t have the right to make us feel uncomfortable or wrong in our own skin.

“She was asking for it” is one of the most disgusting phrases I’ve heard come out of people’s mouths.

How dare we take care of ourselves and wear what we want, do what we want to our bodies, to make us feel good and happy with ourselves. You don’t get to take that away from us just because you don’t know how to control yourself.

The only thing I was asking for was the ability to walk down the street feeling beautiful, without someone making me feel afraid or lesser.

Let’s be honest: You don’t have to walk around with this deep-rooted fear inside of you.

I do. I’m a tiny woman, and I am well aware that I could quickly be overpowered by someone who wished to do me harm. Every time I go out by myself, I fear what could happen.

Even when I walk into Target in sweatpants and no makeup, I get stared at in a way that makes me want to cry, and I have even been followed multiple times.

I can’t tell you how many instances I have called or just acted like I was on the phone with someone so that I felt safe and so the suspicious person in question might back off.

This is not something that I, or anyone else, should ever have to get used to or deal with in everyday life. It’s awful and terrifying, and I don’t think I can stress that enough.

Even if you read this and feel enlightened, you still won’t know and understand what it’s like because you’re not a woman who has been dealing with this for the majority of her life.

I just want to explore this world while being myself, without fear of being harmed or objectified. I don’t feel like that’s too much to ask.

When it comes to this topic, there’s no doubt men have it easy. Has someone ever tried to hurt you while you were outside in the heat with no shirt on? Were you asking for it? I don’t think so.

Imagine having that luxury taken away from you. Imagine being too scared of the people around you to be able to do something simple to increase your comfortability. But that’s just one tiny example.

I think I speak for most women when I say: Please stop.

You have no idea what it’s like living with this type of sexual harassment from day-to-day, and when you do it, you just become another a**hole to us. We will never give you the time of day, so if that’s what you’re looking for, try a more respectful approach.

In the meantime don’t be that guy.

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