This all sparked from a discussion at work.
What are people’s reaction to cat calling? The simple answer was that it’s a mixed bag.
I personally feel extremely insecure, slightly self conscious and vulnerable in a situation, where you’re on your own, you’re going about your business, you may be feeling fabulous, then some buffoon ruins it, by sexualising and objectifying you. Where you walk past a group of usually men, and someone makes a sexualised comment, wolf whistles you or just leers as you walk pass. Especially when you’re running down a relatively quite road, is it any wonder I speed up and try and get out of this awkward situation as quickly as possible?
I mean in a completely different circumstance, if I know you, it’s in jest and it’s all like ‘YOU GO GIRL!’ sort of fashion, I have no problem with it. And don’t go saying then why is it not okay for a stranger – let’s look at this example shall we? Friends can hug you, it’s consensual. Stranger hugging you without your consent is not okay. Maybe some people find that okay, but no thanks. I like my personal space, likewise I like my integrity whilst walking down the road.
What is also a disgrace is that there are several articles out on harassment where there is a horrid case of victim shaming – firstly, people wear what they want, act how they want, but that does not make the act better, or more forgivable?! Secondly, this kind of thing happens whether your in a baggiest outfit, a short skirt or your gym kit.
I took great relief in the fact that I’m not the only one who feels this way and Sophie probably writes it 100% better than me, but in reading that I also felt the need to keep writing. To raise awareness of this issue, which I feel simply shouldn’t be going on in the 21st Century – well any century to be fair?! Why should I be made to feel embarrassed through no fault of my own and those who give these so called ‘compliments’ out are simply doing it for their own ego, a bit of a boost, at my expense. No thanks.
Why can’t I wear a dress and feel fabulous? Or wear my gym kit and go for a run without someone honking at me, cat calling or making a loud remark about my appearance?! Now, I don’t want to give a false impression, I’m not a man hater. Neither am I trying to say I am the desire of all men and get these sort of reactions everyday. But when it does happen I am made it feel like a small child, vulnerable a little scared and rather embarrased by the whole thing.
The other side of the coin that was discussed that this was perceived as a compliment. Well, as I’m sure you’ve picked up on, this isn’t my own view, but I can understand the sentiment. However, a way of making a woman feel a lot less creeped out than shouting or wolf whistling them is simply telling people in a civil way. A honk of the horn is never classy or bad assy, it’s just plain nasty.