Catcalling Revisited

I’ve got to say that I can’t address the issue of women’s objectification and catcalling nearly as well as my fiancee in her article for AUM’s student publication. I highly encourage you to read the article here if you haven’t already.

All right, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Why is catcalling even a thing? What is the point, benefit, or advantage of loudly making sexually harassing comments about women as they pass by your general vicinity? What are you accomplishing when you’re at a bar and you piggishly shout at a girl who chose to wear a slightly revealing outfit? How does it benefit you to roll your windows down and loudly whistle at a girl who’s just trying to live in the same society as you?

For the guys who don’t don’t do this, I commend you. You are part of the solution, not part of the problem. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty of something you didn’t do, and know the feeling of living the high road and still being stereotyped. For the guys who do catcall and berate women, however, I am absolutely trying to make you feel guilty. But, despite my deep loathing of catcalling, I approach issues from a sensible, logical, and reasonable perspective. So let me try to persuade you instead to be an actual sophisticated human being by breaking things down into three points.

First, do you actually think that this is how people seek affection and relationships? If relationships are a pool, there is a shallow end and a deep end. The shallow end is marked by people only focused on looks and sex. It’s where most people are because they haven’t learned to swim and are too scared to try. When you shout at, whistle at, or otherwise berate a girl with catcalling, you’re automatically signalling the desire for a shallow relationship. These relationships typically follow a pattern: catcalling, hookup, sex, boredom, heartbreak. They don’t last long, and they usually leave the girl with heartbreak and the guy feeling empty in his heart… if he even has a heart. The deep end, however, is characterized by people who want more than a lust-filled episode. Let me tell you the secret to all of your relationship problems: the key to relationships is friendship. Nurturing a friendship takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, and is focused very little on physical attraction. It’s about seeing your significant other in different ways, and learning to survive obstacles that truly exist in the adult world. At no point in this type of relationship is catcalling required, although an affectionate form of it can be used to make the other person feel special.

Second, it makes you look like an idiot. Do you remember how teachers used to let students vote back in middle school? You know, by raising your hand? You’re like that kid who wanted something so bad that you stood up in your desk and raised your hand and did everything to get the attention of the teacher, as if somehow that would help. In reality, your vote still only counted once and everybody glared at you in disgust. The same thing happens when you catcall someone. People glare at you in disgust, and it almost never actually accomplishes anything. If you want to appreciate a pretty girl walking by, that’s fine (I guess… I kind of think of that as lust, too), but please do it quietly.

Third, it is and should be considered harassment. You are actively and persistently lowering the self-esteem of the victim. When you catcall, you transform the woman from an important and unique individual to nothing more than an object to be used for your own gratification. It separates the mental and emotional faculties of the girl from the physical, making her nothing more than walking skin and parts that you just happen to like. As my fiancee said in her article, “I was simply a piece of meat they wanted to tear apart… I felt dehumanized.” I understand that it’s not physical harm (although it can lead to that sometimes), but it is still emotional harm. Please understand what you’re doing to your victim when you catcall.

Look, this catcalling has got to stop. We are really trying to make the world a better place, and its often the little things that are holding us back from that. As a guy, I understand the insatiable desire for sex and gratification. But I also understand that it doesn’t take much to have some control over that. Now, I’m not asking everyone in the world to wait until they’re married to have sex, even though I wholeheartedly believe that’s the best way to live life. I am, however, asking three simple things. Build actual relationships, stop looking like an idiot, and for the good of humanity please stop sexually harassing girls.

[Photo credit: Redd Angelo, Unsplash]

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