Today, I was catcalled walking to an elementary school around four in the afternoon.
I had forgotten something there when I had subbed there a couple days ago. I was walking away from my vehicle, and another man was pulling out in his vehicle from nearby the school.
Brief eye contact was made, barely a glance, and then he whistled the typical tune, staring at me as he passed me.
I glared at the horizon and kept walking. After a few steps, I looked back.
At least he was driving away.
That’s my first thought when I get catcalled. Is he following me?
I stormed in anger to the school and picked up my belongings. On the drive home, I tried to remind myself that I had every right to be angry.
But I had actually forgotten why.
When I was younger, I actually wasn’t angered by catcalling. I still didn’t feel safe when it happened, but I did kind of see it a compliment. They wouldn’t catcall someone they thought was ugly, right?
Men catcall anyone. They’ll catcall a woman they think is “ugly” just to mock her, which I later learned myself. (Later, I didn’t see a compliment in catcalls anymore either.)
But sometimes, I could tell the men thought I was attractive.
I mean, clearly this man by the school today thought I was attractive. He was just letting me know.
Well, I wasn’t asking for his bloody opinion.
Then I thought, how is it better if he keeps his stupid thoughts to himself? He’s still thinking it. And besides — if a group of heterosexual ladies walked by an attractive man, they’d notice.
Here’s the difference: they won’t comment on it at the guy. They’ll mention it afterwards to each other: “Damn, he was fine!” and giggle. But they’re not going to shove it in his face. Why? Because it’s freaking rude. He’s minding his own business. He doesn’t want to be whistled at.
But see, no one is going to be angry if someone genuinely compliments me as I’m walking down the street. An honest smile, and “You look very nice today!” or “That dress looks great on you,” doesn’t come off as creepy, as long as you aren’t eyeing my ass or my boobs, or biting your lip and smiling nastily. If you actually want to compliment us, then just give us a genuine compliment!
And no, catcalling is not a genuine compliment, whether it’s a woman catcalling a man or a man catcalling a woman. There is a difference though: a woman being catcalled at is going to feel unsafe, whereas this doesn’t generally happen if a man is being catcalled at by a woman.
Catcalling is invasive, and it feels like a threat.
It’s a comment, not a compliment, and not about the woman as a whole. It’s a comment on her body. It’s the approval of her body, as if she needs that.
To the moron who thinks women are around for his sole pleasure, I sure hope you weren’t picking up your kid from school, because if you have kids, they’re going to grow up in this world and realize how much of a moron you really are. Here’s hoping they can show you how to behave in public.
So, is catcalling a compliment? If you’ve ever been catcalled, what was your reaction?
You may also like: