In response to NY Post writer Doree Lewak’s article on how catcalls are flattering, I am here to argue the other side. No. Just no. Never in my 23 years of life have I felt a sense of flattery and pride after a man verbally assaulted me. The dread I feel to walk down the street, the racing thoughts and the constant need to be over vigilant and aware of my surroundings is tiresome. It is exhausting, it is anxiety filled and quite frankly it is traumatizing.
I shouldn’t have to firmly hold pepper spray in my hand, ready to react to any man who approaches me in a manner I don’t feel comfortable with. By the way, when I went to pick out my pepper spray I was given the choice of purchasing it in pink. Ironic, I thought…pepper spray in a pink container. I don’t want to have to carry around a protective weapon to avoid my own attack AND have that weapon be colored the stereotypical color of femininity. Instead of thinking, “Hmm, why are women buying pepper spray so much? Maybe we should do something to erase their need of such a weapon?” they instead feed into rape culture, which very much exists, by marketing pepper spray to females in pink containers.
You yell, “Damn baby, shake your ass for me” and when I don’t respond? You yell “You’re ugly anyway bitch”
When I put my hood on, and walk with my head down to try to avoid being seen you yell, “Show me your pretty face honey, let me see what I’ll be working with”. Again, when I don’t respond to you it gets even worse – “I’m talking to you sweetheart, what’s so hard about talking to me? Hey….hey!!”
You argue that it’s natural. That men are supposed to notice women and compete for their attention. Well, as the most advanced animal in the animal kingdom – you should truly know better than to disrespect a woman in such a manner. And you wonder why men get the connotation of acting like pigs…it’s because a great deal of you do indeed act like pigs.
I challenge all men to think of the women in their lives before they yell out obscenities to a innocent woman simply trying to get to class, to work, to her car, or cross the street. I challenge you to think of your mother, your wife, your girlfriend or better yet your daughter. Would you appreciate some man gawking at your daughter like a piece of meat? Would you appreciate her being spoke to in a disrespectful way? Would you appreciate her being yelled at by men, when she does the thing she’s been taught to do from society? And that is to run away from her fears? Chances are the very thought of a woman in your life you care deeply about getting verbally assaulted by a random man makes your stomach churn. And it should.
Think deeper before you open your mouth. Think about the survivors of sexual assault whose wounds are harshly ripped back open when you spit disgusting words from your mouth at them. Think about the domestic violence victims who recently gained the courage to leave their toxic relationship… you calling them names due to them being unresponsive to your catcalls scares the shit out of them. It puts them back into that vulnerable state, and nothing about that is okay.
To the ladies out there – to the strong, beautiful, independent women. Ignore the catcalls to the best of your ability. Know that you are better than them, and that you are way beyond their level. Know that you are worthy of respect and of words full of positivity, not disgust. Know that we are the reason why those men are here. Disregard them, ignore them. We women make the world go round. It’s time that we demand respect from men.
MEN: No more catcalling. No more making us feel as if we are pieces of meat. No more making us feel uncomfortable to walk down the street. Respect us, honor us. You are here because we exist, remember that.