I went for a walk today and had a realization – I miss being catcalled.
The neighbourhood I live in is developing at an exponential speed. There are always multiple residential complexes under construction and even in the times of social distancing, dozens of men working at each site.
Yes, I noticed many of the men looking at me – checking me out. But not one whistle or comment!
Is this progress?
I suppose that many people would argue that it is. I see post after post on Reddit by women who boast about confronting, or standing up to, men who have catcalled them, or made a general sexual comment at/to/about them. Shaming these men for desiring them; shaming men for appreciating their beauty.
I am aware that this can be a slippery slope. What is an innocent comment about attractiveness and desirability of a woman, can become ridiculously inappropriate pretty quickly. And the way a woman perceives this type of behaviour can vary dramatically based on location – a busy street in the middle of a day, versus some guy hiding in the mouth of an alley in the middle of the night.
I can only imagine that the majority of men that catcall women do no intent to intimidate anyone. That they do not want to traumatize anyone. That they catcall in a (poor) attempt to compliment women.
And that is the way that I perceive catcalls. They make me feel good, it’s good for the ego.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need this type of attention and validation, I am confident and most definitely not lacking in the self-esteem department. But it always makes me feel good when someone thinks I am hot.
I am not suggesting that women should just revel in the attention and not stand up for themselves, but I don’t think that shaming men for innocent comments. I have done my fair share of flipping off catcallers or responding with a snarky comment if the original comment was inappropriate – “Hey baby, how would you like to taste my sausage?” gets a response along the lines of, “I do like dick in my mouth, but not yours, thanks anyway.
On the other hand, “Hey mama, looking fine!” gets a smile and wave, and maybe a “thank you”.
So yes, I miss being catcalled when I walk by a construction site.