[Cat-calling] reassures men of their sexual power and at the same moment denies any sexuality of women other than the male construction.
Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves.
Berger, John. (1972): Ways of Seeing
So relevant right now. The amount of cat-calls Ari, Katie and I got today was alarming.
Men yelling out windows of their cars and honking as we crossed the street. One car drove by holding down their horn down and it truly scared us. It’s not okay, it really isn’t. It’s no fucking wonder we are so god damn scared to leave our houses. It doesn’t make us feel good or attractive or more worthy because we got the attention of a man, it makes us feel unsafe and exposed.
My male friends always ask “why are there always more men out on the streets than women?”
I’ve never faced catcalling this grotesque. Every once in awhile in some places, I’ll get a whistle or a beeping horn. And my immediate reaction, for the most part, is a “Hey. That feels kind of nice.”
That lasts for about a split second.
Because then my next thought is “Wait — are they going to follow up on that? Do I need to protect myself? Is there anyone around me paying attention? Is the street well-lit enough, is there a public place I can slip into, am I within reaching distance of the person who made the noise, can I run if I have to?”
It isn’t a matter of overthinking things. It’s the fact that, if someone DID get aggressive, it might well be overlooked by passers-by — IF there’s anyone around. My mother raised me on many useful, meaningful, worthwhile ideas, and with some that were cautious or cynical but true in many cases:
The only person looking out for you is you.
If you’re a woman in these situations, that often seems to be the case until (or even) after the fact.
For the last two years in DC I have not been cat called. It’s refreshing. The DAR convention is 2,000 women, at least 300 of whom are under that are always dressed to page. In the evenings, we wear formals, and on the short walk over the ellipse the girls I walk with and I have only ever received genuine compliments. Even when I’ve been out doing a touristy thing, I’ve been left alone in DC.
But in my hometown, I’ve been catcalled in the Walmart parking lot.
Catcalling always makes me super uncomfortable. And angry.
In a way this kind of reminds me of something I read recently - someone on my facebook said something about “Camelflage,” these panties this lady designed to hide/prevent camel toe, so after looking at the website I went on Youtube to see if there were any reviews.
The lady who’d invented them made a video after, apparently, appearing on Howard Stern. She said a couple of things on her video I disagree with (women don’t want to see another women’s ‘lips’ and that it’s gross - I don’t think vulvas are gross and I’m not going to blame a woman if she’s got camel toe - there’s a lot of it in roller derby after all!) but by far the worst part was the comments on the video FROM MEN.
For example, she said that 90% of the people who called in to the show were all men and they were saying that women shouldn’t hide or prevent camel toe because men love it. 10% of the callers were women who were appreciative of her creating the Camelflage panties. So the comments on the video were that because the majority of the people who called in (who were men) said they liked camel toe, women obviously shouldn’t try to hide it! Men were commenting saying, “Don’t hide it, we love it!” and “It’s so sexy, you’ll feel so sexy.”
AS IF YOU ASSHOLES SHOULD GET TO DECIDE WHAT I WEAR BASED ON WHAT TURNS YOU ON.
Guess what - unless you’re someone I’ve decided to share my sexuality with, having you perv on my body is not something that’s going to make me feel good or happy or confident. I am a person, I’m not an object, and I don’t exist just to be ‘sexy’ for you.
It seriously frightens me when people cat call me. I lock my doors of my vehicle or walk very quickly to my next destination. I often prefer walking places with friends because of this. I have received numerous cat calls and it just strikes fear into my heart. I am afraid of what IF they try touching me, talking to me, what if they get angry and try cutting me off and not letting me get away? In this AWFUL rape culture we live in, women have every right to be AFRAID of people who cat call. I’m pretty strong so I usually just let it roll off my back but it can become painful when it constantly happens. I go to school in Dallas so it does happen often. I hate it.
Also the commentary about camel toe, ugh GOD i would scream about that. Hex Chromosome makes anti-camel toe technology roller derby pants and shorts. I can’t imagine how disgusting it must be to read that bullshit of men trying to DICTATE WOMEN’S ATTIRE BECAUSE WE’RE NOTHING BUT “SOMETHING PRETTY TO STARE AT” ALL DAY. FUCK THEM!!!! UGHreglweglerglqegr