Imagine waking up for the day, giving yourself enough time to do your hair and make-up and picking a cute outfit. It seems like you’re going to have a good day, looking good and feeling good, ya know? But then imagine you start walking, and you’re getting yelled at.
“Show us a smile.” “How are you doing today?” “Where you going looking like that?”
These are just some of the remarks I’ve heard while walking, and I’m sure many other girls have received the same and worse. In addition to the verbal harassment, let’s not forget the looks and stares that last entirely too long. I swear sometimes I can feel some mens’ eyes burning holes into my clothes.
This phenomenon is called catcalling. Catcalling is one of the most annoying and degrading things a woman can experience, in my opinion. Yes, it’s nice to get a compliment, but there is a respectful way to go about it. Yelling at me that “that thang is moving!” at 11:25 on a Wednesday morning while I’m walking to work isn’t the way to grab my attention. Most of the time, when a man catcalls a woman, his intention isn’t even to pursue anything with her. It’s just harassment. Point, blank, period.
I’ve been catcalled hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. I’m quite used to it now, which is very sad to say. But it recently happened again while I was walking by myself, and I felt really uneasy about it. I slightly turned to see that there was a police officer right there listening and watching this whole encounter happen, and I was in shock. I wanted to report her so badly, but I couldn’t because she had done nothing wrong. Maybe morally, but not legally, and that felt so wrong to me. This female police officer just watched me get harassed by this grown man who was at least twice my age and didn’t do anything about it. That doesn’t sound right at all.
According to our legal system, catcalling isn’t harassment. It’s just a cute little conversation to them, apparently. People get assaulted and sometimes even killed for ignoring a catcall, so why isn’t it taken seriously? A sad case of this was Ruth George. She was walking to her car, got catcalled by a man, ignored him and lost her life because of it.
People will argue that it’s their freedom of speech, or because it’s happening on the street, that it’s public property, and that’s a bunch of garbage. Harassment is illegal, and people can press charges and file restraining orders based on that, but catcalling, which is just another form of harassment, gets discarded to the side with no repercussions? It’s really sad and scary. The world we live in doesn’t care about women or their safety, and it’s so evident in the laws that are passed and those that aren’t.