It's one thing to compliment a woman, and it's another to yell vulgar and sexually offensive phrases at a woman across the street who is waiting for the pedestrian light.
Compliments are polite and positive. Catcalling isn't meant to be flattering. It's negative and meant to show dominance and power. If you think catcalling is appropriate behavior toward women, then it's appropriate for you to get punched in the face. It's disgusting, it's inappropriate and it shows what little respect the caller has for women and how it affects them.
Like many women, I've experienced my fair share of catcalling.
This time last year, a man sitting in a lawn chair yelled "How much?" as I waked on the opposite side of the empty street on my way to campus.
I didn't understand why. I wasn't dressed provocatively. I was wearing jeans, a crew neck tee shirt and sneakers. The two words he yelled across the street made me feel disgusting and humiliated, as if I needed to shield my body from the public eye.
Several weeks ago, I was in downtown Opelika taking pictures for a class assignment. A guy in his early twenties, and a boy, maybe eight years old, turned down the street I was on, and walked past me on the sidewalk.
I stopped to take pictures of the landscape. Moments later, I heard the guy say loudly, "Hey girl, you want my number?" I ignored him as I focused my lens and adjusted the aperture. I glanced over at him for a brief second. He continued to repeat himself while watching me as he and the kid walked down the street, away from me.
I ignored him again while I worked to compose my picture in the viewfinder. He yelled, "Bitch!" I heard him mumble several other things, but they weren't as loud.
Let's be real for a moment. Calling me a "bitch" by yelling it down the street isn't what he did wrong.
What he did wrong was expecting that I was going to stop what I was doing and "want his number."
He felt sorry for himself because I ignored him, refusing his attempt to be dominant. If he had stopped and talked to me like a decent person instead of passively catcalling with the hopes of getting some attention from the opposite sex, then perhaps he would have gotten a response as opposed to being ignored.
This instance didn't humiliate me, it frightened me. It didn't take long for him to become verbally aggressive. What if the next time I, or any woman, ignore someone's catcalls someone becomes aggressive, not just verbally but physically?
Catcalling is a gateway behavior. I myself have been followed on two separate occasions. Both instances had evolved from catcalling.
No woman should be treated like meat or objectified as some sexual object. Catcalling is intimidating, irritating and unnecessary. Any man who tries catcalling as a means of "getting some," in my opinion, isn't worth the time of day.
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