Ah, catcalls. To the foreigner not well-versed in English idioms, a catcall is, indeed, a hiss at a woman, like one would do to a cat. Many times, however, it can include howling, barking and screaming sexually-explicit demands.
There are few differences in the way men talk to women and stray cats. However, while they try to approach us the same way, they expect different things from women than they do felines. They are looking for a response, right? Why else would they be trying to get our attention?
Why else would they be calling us over from the other side of the street? Or are they just doing it because they have a mouth and think they have the right to make women hear whatever they decide to throw out of it?
What many men don’t understand is catcalling is not acceptable. It’s just not. You can’t just scream things at women because you feel like it.
You can’t demean us because you're bored and horny. You wouldn’t scream sexually explicit and inappropriate things at a cat crossing the street, so why does it seem acceptable to do it to a woman?
There’s a difference between talking to a woman and talking at a woman. While you might mean it as a compliment, you’re actually just producing the opposite effect and making us feel uncomfortable and insecure in our own skin.
If you want to try and talk to a woman on a street, which isn’t necessary to begin with, then maybe try treating her less like a cat and more like a fellow human. Maybe try giving her an actual compliment instead of a laundry list of derogatory slurs.
And let me be clear: I don’t condone catcalling. I don’t think there is any reason or need for a man to express his sentiments to random women trying to get somewhere.
I think catcalls are demoralizing and destructive. However, if the reason you’re catcalling is to get our attention, maybe you should try talking to us, rather than at us.
Instead of demeaning us as we walk by, why don’t you say something respectable, something we might actually want to hear.? Instead of making us feel like objects, make us feel like humans.
Because if you're going to shout at a woman, you may as well make it something worth saying, right?
“You’re a beautiful intelligent woman who I’d like to take out to dinner and split the bill with because I believe in equal rights between the sexes.”
While you may not get her number, at least you won't ruin the perfectly good day she's having.
“I respect your body, but really just want to touch your mind.”
What a breath of fresh air. Maybe I won't want to punch someone by the time I get into work this morning.
“If you said, 'No!' I would not continue!”
And if you said no, I would also not continue.
“You seem like you have a really good head on your shoulders.”
Wait, you are actually looking at my head? Then I guess you'll see me smile at you now.
“You’re dressed like a sophisticated woman who respects herself and I respect that.”
Well, thank you sir. I respect you for respecting me. I may just respect your body later.
“You’re dressed like a provocative woman who has every right to dress the way she pleases. And I respect that.”
Thank you for understanding that it's my right to dress however I please and just because my outfit turns you on doesn't mean I'm asking for it.
“I hope you’re paid equally to your male counterparts!”
Unfortunately, no I am not. But I appreciate you understanding that it's an issue in this country.
“I respect your backside, but your eyes are really beautiful.”
That's so nice that you think I have a good ass, but thank you for not making it the only thing you find worthy on me.
"I’d say something about your rack, but I’d rather wrack your brain."
Thank you for noticing I have both.
"You look like you'd be a great driver!"
Thank you for not demoting me to stereotype.
"I support your right to choose; please choose to go on a date with me."
I may just do that... or I may not.
"You look like a woman who could run a company."
And you look like a man who could raise my children.
"I want to reappropriate words that make you feel ostracized!"
Instead of calling me a c*nt, you want to take away its meaning? So sweet.
"I want to reverse gender roles with you."
And I want to bring you home bacon that I made.
"You can have it all because you deserve it all."
And you deserve a high-five, sir.
"You don't have to be a size zero to be my hero."
And you don't have to have a six pack to be my hero.
"What do I smell? A four-year degree?"
Yes, it is sir. Maybe getting a waft of that master's degree, too.
"I bet CEO is your favorite position!"
You can bet your sweet ass it is.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It