Ladies (and gentlemen)!! Today’s blog post is a public service announcement. If you are being cat-called, please understand that it is not okay! Cat-calling consists of unwanted whistles, comments, names, demands, and persistence. By no means is something with so much potential to be traumatizing to any aspect of a person’s health excusable. You do not deserve to feel threatened, afraid, or uncomfortable from just walking down the street. Your body is not a sexual object to be cooed over. We live in a world where women are portrayed in the media as objects to only look beautiful and be sexual. Women are constantly bombarded with examples of what “perfection” looks like, leading to the prioritization of physical qualities. With the world constantly exposing women in such a way, it’s no wonder men are forgiven for acting as inappropriately as they do towards us. Not only are they forgiven, though, but they always have excuses being made for them, yet again victimizing women. After a female has been sexually harassed or assaulted, the first question asked is what her outfit looked like. If it’s a little too promiscuous, then it automatically becomes her own fault. In reality, the only person to blame is the man for not having respect for her. There is no logic in excusing a man for not being able to control himself because a female’s outfit was “too scandalous” for her own good. No woman deserves to feel like she can’t wear whatever she wants out of fear that men may get away with whatever they want. But, with so many men feeling comfortable with acting so vulgar to a woman, how do we react? Here’s some advice on how to join the revolution to dismantle the patriarchy…
- Always be aware of your surroundings. No matter what, if it’s nighttime, if there aren’t many people around, or if the man is with a group, you don’t fight back. Life-threatening situations just aren’t worth it. The best response is to just keep walking, alert and with defense-mode on, but do not engage at all.
- Make eye contact. Surprisingly enough, it can catch the harasser off-guard. Being firm, strong, and proving that you have the ability to look them in the eyes is sometimes enough for them to reassess their own mistake.
- Give a response. One of the most courageous options is to respond. However, this one is probably the riskiest of them all because it leaves opportunity for more conversation or potential harm. If it’s safe enough to resort to this one, teach the person harassing you that what they’re doing is not okay. By using negative comments or backfires, it can really shock them, and hopefully force them to leave you alone. Responding with, “Leave me alone.” “Go away.” Or even something a bit more humiliating to them such as, “Did your parents ever teach you how to respect women?” Having the courage to make bold remarks like that can be dangerous, though, so please be conscious of the situation.
- Threaten the harasser. Threats are always a good idea. Warm them that you have pepper spray, hold your keys in your hands, and if it comes down to it, have 911 ready to call. If the situation comes down to it, each of these scenarios are a good one.
Cat-calling is never okay! We need to remind men that their behavior towards us on the streets is considered to be sexual harassment! It makes us feel uncomfortable, uneasy, and afraid. However, by taking a stand (if it’s safe), we have the potential to make a difference in someone’s life. Time to dismantle the patriarchy in which this world is consumed by and join the revolution!!