The Problems With Catcalling

WOMEN ARE NOT ALL CRAZY! At least not about this. Here’s the bottom line in my opinion: people are able to decipher what others usually mean behind their words. Saying a woman is beautiful is fine IF that sentiment is sincere and not meant to be crude or lascivious. Unfortunately, a lot of it is not sincere. You can tell by the way a person says hello or looks at you when he says you’re beautiful what he means. When you look at a stranger’s face and he’s licking his lips and undressing you with his eyes, that is uncomfortable and threatening.Technically, the words are complimentary, but the intent is not. And when this is something that happens to girls from a very young age, it is even more threatening and uncomfortable. That also leads us to being unsure of when a man is sincerely paying us a compliment, one human being to another.

I was 11 when this first happened to me. Walking down the street and 3 young men in my neighborhood walking behind me started in. I had no idea what to do and how to respond, and they continued all the way down the block. Another time I was simply drinking from a water bottle and some stranger in a truck said to me “I like how you’re drinking that water, baby girl.” He and his friend continue to whistle and holler at me FROM THEIR TRUCK. Mind you, these men were clearly much older than me. Not only was that incredibly threatening, it was very embarrassing because a bunch of people on the street looked at me, as if to see what I had done to elicit such comments. Suddenly I regretted being thirsty and wearing shorts during the afternoon in the middle of summer. When you’re that young, comments or stares like that do not boost confidence or self esteem. The result is the complete opposite. That is a problem!
Even if this video has been crafted, even if it has some racial undertones, even if this is actually a crappy video, the experience is still exists for many girls and women.

And to the point of the guy asking “how many women get killed”, that extreme example may not be an everyday thing, but it certainly does happen, which means it happens way too much. On a less dramatic but still problematic scale, ignoring or politely declining to tell you my name or give you my number or stop to talk to you, leads to outright harassment. Suddenly I’m a stuck up bitch who is ugly anyway. Or, if I do smile and say thank you for the “compliment”, or talk to you, then I’ve now invited you to say all kinds of disgusting things, at least that’s how lots of these guys take it.

If I respond, then I must like it, if I don’t then I’m a bitch or I might actually be in danger. It really is a problem, and these guys seem to think that it’s all about what they’re SAYING, but that is not the only point. Most of them, in my experience, don’t actually SAY anything rude, but the way they act is very rude, objectifying, and threatening.

One thing I agree with Steve Santagotti (debating with NYC-based comedienne Amanda Seales on CNN) on is the fact that parenting is a big issue. He mentioned that a lot of guys who insist on doing this probably won’t see this video. He also boldly said that it “starts with parenting.” I agree that not enough people are raising their [sons] properly. I for boys and men who already do this, it may already be a lost cause. But I think it is important for parents to show their sons videos like this and tech them that those kinds of interactions are not OK. Parents also need to teach their daughters how to feel empowered in rejecting those sorts of advances. We should cherish our differences as men and women, but there is no need for things to be so us and them.

RESPECT RESPECT RESPECT! That is the frame to the big picture.

Respect Big,

Trixie B.

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