We are often told in life that many things are “bad”. Some are obvious – theft, rape, murder, ect. Others such as “cat-calling” are not. I ran into this article on XoJane in which this smoking hot babe was catcalled. Determined to do something about it, she confronted every last one of them. Either there were only 3 encounters worth mentioning, or she was only catcalled three times – group encounter for one of those – in a week.
Something that kept popping up in my mind: Why actually is catcalling bad? Most men – and I use that concept sparingly – know that it often doesn’t work, hence it usually is employed as more of a “I’m messing with you” kind of interaction. Well these days, almost any kind of interaction can become undesirable, offensive, and even become capable of being defined as harassment.
Catcalling has been a bullet point for most of today’s modern first-world feminists. We know they don’t like it, but they never have really set up a “doctrinal statement” with all the trimmings as to why catcalling is offensive. (1) “I’m offended”, is not an actual valid argument. Why should we care? Just to get the cycle rolling, perhaps we are offended that they are offended. (2) Just because certain women are offended by it does not actually make it offensive. (3) Interactions that make you uncomfortable aren’t inherently wrong.
Her main “argument” against catcalling seemed to be that it makes women feel afraid:
How can you explain to a stranger that a compliment makes us feel afraid? That words like gorgeous and beautiful sound like threats when we hear them whispered to us on an empty street late at night? That we feel uneasy, objectified, and uncomfortable when you say this to us while we’re going about our normal routine, not asking to be judged on our appearance out loud? That this thing they do for fun is at the expense of our peace of mind?
So if something makes someone afraid, we shouldn’t say it? Where exactly is the line drawn? So what if it causes fear? What if this women actually causes fear just by the sound of her voice?
That’s not a quick chat you can have with a stranger on a street corner. It needs to be part of a bigger conversation, earlier on, by the people who are in charge of shaping you into a respectable human. When we’re being taught as young women not to respond to this kind of attention, we need to also be teaching our young men not to engage in this behavior in the first place.
Until she and the rest of these radical 3rd wave feminists provide a thorough methodology as well as a strong philosophical foundation for why young men shouldn’t cat call, we should ignore and dismiss her demands as illogical and irrational. In fact, I’ve talked to girls who claim they like and enjoy cat-calling. While it is a somewhat mundane form of validation, why should I encourage others to acquiesce to the demands of this writer vs these other girls I’ve talked to? It’s also not just the ladies I’ve talked to but ladies online, including self-identifying feminists. Decisions, decisions.
I very much dislike in today’s polarized and vitriolic climate. I also take issue with the constant refusal and automatic dismissal of people based on what they identify with as well as the labels others give them – yes that includes radical feminists and all other “labels” I disprove of. We should never become these irate walking narcissists who will only associate with others who think as we do. However, we must be careful as well.
In the end, if a woman confronts you about “catcalling” its an immediate, glaring, and vibrant red flag that you should ignore her and refuse to converse with her any further. Walk away, and if she refuses to stop following you, threaten to call the police. The chances are high she could be a radical feminists who has a score to settle with the male half of our species and defining your words as “harassment” is her logical next step. When you run into the Jezebels of the world, it’s best to avoid them, or face their wrath in which the ends always justify the means.