Catcalling has long been considered a compliment. As society has progressed and as a collective we are continually becoming more self aware in ourselves we now recognise that cat calling is not a compliment and it isn’t acceptable. It isn’t complimentary and it isn’t welcome on our streets. Here are 10 reasons why that is:
1. It can be intimidating
When you are walking alone, this is when most women and men experience the act of cat calling. Because we are alone when someone calls out to us in a sexually expressive way, this can be incredibly intimidating. It will catch us off guard and because of this it can evoke fear, this fear is unsettling and it isn’t acceptable. Not anymore.
2. It is objectifying
Catcalling is not known to be complimentary because it almost exclusively surrounds physical appearance and is often sexually motivated. No one calls out to you on the street and praises your work ethic, kindness toward others or passion for justice. They are telling you that you look good in those jeans or in worst case scenarios describe what they’d do if they had the chance. Firstly, our appearance shouldn’t be what we define ourselves by. We have far more interesting qualities than how we look in a tight t-shirt. Catcalling, therefore, reduces the person to just an object, not a person. That is wrong.
3. It is rude!
To call out to someone on the street isn’t complimentary and it also isn’t polite. It’s incredibly rude to yell at someone who is simply minding their business and often just trying to make it to their destination safely. When you objectify someone in public you are not doing them great kindness. We need to educate others around us so they don’t see this as generous when it isn’t and it never has been. But now we call it out.
4. It isn’t attractive
Many still hold the belief that catcalling to someone passing you by is attractive when it isn’t a compliment and it isn’t satisfying for the person on the receiving end of this call. When you cat call you aren’t flirting, you are yelling at someone who in most cases does not want to hear it. So next time you are tempted to call out to someone nearby remind yourself that this is not how flirting should work and this is not flirting at all.
5. It isn’t consensual
The most important part of any intimate relationship is consent. There is no ifs or buts about it. Consent is not optional it is mandatory and when you catcall you are doing so before you have this person’s consent. This isn’t acceptable and we can’t allow it to keep happening particularly on our streets. Catcalling isn’t complimentary and it isn’t consensual. When you are attracted to a person you must make it your mission to obtain that person’s consent before you begin to pursue them. There is no room for cat calling when you aren’t on the same page and consenting adults.
6. It is annoying
Not only is catcalling not complimentary, but it is also almost always incredibly annoying. Because the receiver of the offhand remark hasn’t consented to the exchange it isn’t welcomed and can be annoying when it happens. This can severely impact someone’s day and in some scenarios upset someone immensely. You might think catcalling is harmless but you aren’t the one who gets to decide that and you have no way to know how the person will respond.
7. You don’t know the person involved
As mentioned above you might have good intentions but once you say your sentence, when you catcall, you no longer have any control over what you’ve said. When we put things into the world we give up all control of them and the people who come into contact with our words then interpret them in their own way. Because when you catcall in most situations you don’t know the person you are calling to, you can’t guarantee the person will react well to your advances. They likely won’t appreciate what you’ve said and you will do more damage than if you just kept your thoughts to yourself. Think before you speak.
8. It perpetuates rape culture
Rape culture is a growing problem in our society. We are victim blaming and we aren’t taking necessary measures to address the culture of rape that is running rampant on our streets. Catcalling contributes to the problem. It continues the cycle of toxic behaviour surrounding sexual practice and a lack of consent and we need to take it more seriously.
9. It raises safety concerns
Catcalling can occur at any time but it happens outside of our homes and workplaces and for this reason, it can raise safety concerns. It can happen anywhere but when it happens somewhere that we don’t consider safe, we can immediately feel threatened, as mentioned earlier when it can intimidate another person. When you cat call you can make a man or woman feel unsafe. This is wrong and another reason why it isn’t complimentary. A compliment doesn’t make someone feel unsafe when they’re walking home. It doesn’t make someone consider how they can flee if they need to and it doesn’t cause someone to take a different route to work the very next day.
10. It is an issue of power
Catcalling immediately establishes dominance over an unsuspecting person. For this reason, it is an issue of power and this is another problem that we have in society. Because it creates a power divide and an inequality it isn’t welcome. Catcalling isn’t a compliment.
Share your experience of catcalling below and let’s offer support for each other in the comments. You are not alone!
Featured Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/421649583863173251/
A poet, INFP and an empath who is never without a book, and thoroughly enjoys a soy latte. Based in Melbourne, Australia.