To men out there who think catcalling makes women feel good, you are wrong. You need to realize that your behavior is detrimental and harmful to woman of all ages.
A New York actress recently taped herself walking down NY streets for 10 hours and recorded 108 catcalls and harassing comments from men during the day-long experiment.
As a personal safety expert, I get to hear the horror stories when I speak to women about staying safe. As a woman, I live this harassment. As women, we don't need to do this experiment to know that this type of harassment exists on a daily basis. Every woman has experienced the fear of walking past a single man or god forbid, a group of men, while holding their breath and hoping they don't say anything other than a friendly "hello" and even praying for silence and to be ignored.
We may even think twice when we get dressed, hoping that we don't wear something that invites unwanted attention. We have the burden of not wearing what we want to wear in case someone misbehaves and makes inappropriate comments on the way our bodies look in the outfit or what skin may be showing. We have to worry about what someone may think we are trying to say with our outfit. We are not free to dress without considering possible repercussions.
Men think it is their right and that they are free to comment freely on a woman's body parts, her figure, her looks and her sexuality. They think it is okay to share their fantasies with not only the women who are innocently going about their way, but, also loudly enough for everyone around to hear. They want everyone to hear them explicitly tell women what they want to do to them sexually, how they are going to do it and how her appearance invited their comments.
Men think women wear tight pants that emphasize their hips just so they can leer at them and comment sexually about them. They think a low cut blouse is an open invitation to tell women what they want to do with the exposed skin and the suggestive sexual actions the clothing inspired. A short skirt must mean that women want men to tell them how they will wrap their legs around them and the sexual positions that will ensue. Yep. That what we want when we wear clothes that we like and should be free to wear.
Men don't think twice about openly looking a woman up and down while licking their lips. Blocking her steps. Calling out insults when a woman doesn't respond as expected or desired. They think women should have to live a life of harassment and sexual bullying. They don't have to live it. They don't have to have the talk and prepare their daughters for life-long harassment of this kind. It doesn't cross their minds.
Age doesn't stop the harassment. A lack of so-called attractiveness doesn't stop it, either. Oftentimes, if a woman is well put together, she will get attention. If a woman has her hair in a ponytail, tucked under a baseball cap and no make-up on, if her clothing or the fit of her clothing catches the eye of a street Lothario, she will be harassed. Young teenagers and seniors are potential victims.
This behavior changes who we are as women. It changes how we feel when we get dressed. How we feel about men. How we feel when we are out and about and walking. We all like a kind compliment, "You are pretty", "You look beautiful", "What a pretty dress". etc. Telling me what nasty, sexual thing you want to do to me and what sexual fantasies you have about my body parts, are not considered compliments. It is harassment! It makes me uncomfortable. It scares me because I don't know what you will do next. Is rape or sexual assault on the horizon?
The only thing that will stop this victimization of women is when men stop for one moment and ask themselves: "Would I want someone doing this, saying these things, looking this way at my mother, sister, wife or daughter?" Of course not. They need to remember that these innocent women minding their own business, wearing what they want to wear, are someone's mothers, daughters, sisters and wives.
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