It’s not very often that I write an article directed towards men. On a website called Her Campus it’s pretty obvious who my demographic is. But, for the two or three guys who are reading this I wanted to shed light on something that every woman dreads.
Believe it or not it’s something that every guy should have an opinion on. And if you happen to have a “Y” chromosome and don’t have an opinion on catcalling you really should. You know that saying that you should care about women’s issues because women are your mother, sister, daughter, friend or whatever else? I think that’s bullshit. Every woman is a person and should be with the basic principles of respect. And I can speak for almost every woman when I say that catcalling makes me fear for my life. That it’s a bigger issue than a compliment gone wrong.
Every woman’s reaction to catcalling is different. For me personally, I freeze. There’s a moment where I wonder what the hell is going on and stop dead in my tracks. This happened the first time I was catcalled when a man on a porch told me that he wanted to “pull my hair” at the age of sixteen. And it happened the last time I was catcalled when a man yelled that I “had a fat ass” from his car when I was walking home with a friend. Freezing is a shameful type of reaction because I always leave the situation wondering why I couldn’t do more. Wondering why I couldn’t of told him off or just say something to him.
But the thing is that it’s scary to say certain things to men. Girls are assulted after turning down men, are kidnapped after turning down men, and are killed or have loved ones killed after turning down men. Women who courageously do speak up against catcalling often hear the words “Learn to take a compliment” or “your not that pretty anyway”. As if you wouldn’t yell that I was pretty if you didn’t really think so? Catcallers get off by making women uncomfortable. So they get annoyed or violent when a woman decides to take back control.
So if your one of the good guys who decide not to catcall you might be wondering. What the hell can I do about this? Isn’t it enough to just not catcall? And the answer is a resounding no.
Talk to your friends when they decide to catcall. I can’t name the amount of times that a man was making me feel uncomfortable and I had another male friend present and did nothing about it. Or they would talk to me after it happens, saying that they knew I was uncomfortable but didn’t want to “start something”.
At the end of the day when a man doesn’t want to listen to a woman, they more than likely will get the point from another man. A big thing that you could do to help is to stop “locker room talk” that blatantly disrespects women or is just plain pervy. You can tell your guy friends to stop yelling out car windows. To stop making women uncomfortable just because they get a kick out of it.
Because, the truth is that if you don’t do anything while your friend openly disrespects women you are part of the problem. In fact, you are the problem.