Women Share What It Feels Like To Be Catcalled
Cat-calling should never EVER be a thing. It is rude, no one likes to be yelled at, and women deserve MUCH better. Here we dive into some stores of people who have been catcalled and honestly it can get really bad.
1. "I'm trying to compliment you."
I wear hearing aids (21 F) and the streets are so loud when I'm walking through a city. So I never hear cat calls but I've been told I get them. Once I was walking through downtown Kansas City when a car stopped next to me and cat called at me. I didn't hear it because all I can artificially hear is the construction around me.
The guy drove his car in front of me and blocked my path. That's what got my attention. He says "I'm trying to compliment you but you're ignoring me. I don't tolerate getting ignored." I told him "I'm deaf." His reaction showed some remorse since he realized he's being creepy to a young deaf woman possibly 10 years younger than him. I turned around and started walking in the other direction. He didn't follow me.
2. "Would anyone hear if you screamed?"
It ranges from irritating (guy on a building site - he's at work, he probably can't leave and follow me, if he did anything illegal I can tell the police where he works) to downright terrifying: guy or guys in a car, slowing down and following you, saying "come for a ride! Let me give you a lift!" So you decline, but you'd better decline really politely without bruising their egos, because he's driving a car, you can't run away, there's nothing to stop him driving onto the pavement and blocking you off, if his mate tried to drag you into the car, would you be able to fight him off? Would anyone hear if you screamed?
They give up and drive away, and you think, could I have prevented it by wearing baggy clothes and no make-up? And then you get really angry, because you shouldn't have to consider things like that. You should be able to wear lipstick and walk to the shops, and say "no, thank you," without fearing for your safety. But you can't.
3. "It's classless."
I am not a woman, but I fired three employees for cat calling girls. Its harassment, its classless and only awful people do it.
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4. "It's pretty uncomfortable."
Especially when it's a situation where there aren't many other people around. It's easy to ignore when it's a public place and there are lots of people around. But sometimes it's a situation where the cat calling turns into them sort of following you and continuing to talk - and when you're alone and not many people out and about, it can definitely be scary.
5. "It wasn't something I cared about, I didn't acknowledge it, just carried on with my day."
Then one night while out with some friends some guy got offended when I took no notice. He followed me up from one club to another calling me names that grew steadily worse until he grabbed my arm and I was forced to turn around and knee him in the balls. Now I care and I don't like it.
Just to clear things up, this all started from ignoring this guy catcalling me outside a club, he then followed me in and continued yelling out vulgar comments from the edge of the dance floor, the end of the bar, the platform above the table me and my friends were at. Then, when he wouldn't take the hint and quit it, we left and he followed. So although it ended up with him harassing and stalking me from one place to another, it started from him catcalling in the line outside the club.
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6. "It's disgusting."
The people who do it have no respect or decency. If you respond in anyway, they become dangerous, they will threaten you and sometimes even follow. I've had people nearly run me off the road in my car and on my motorcycle.
7. "I had never even had my first kiss and then I was dealing with this."
Its awful. I can remember the first time it ever happened to me, I was 11 years old walking home from a friends house after school and I still had my backpack on. I was walking down the street about to come up to an intersection when two men in a car rolled down their window and started shouting at me and wolf whistling. They just kept going while waiting for the light to change and I had no idea what I should do, so I didn't do anything I just stood there and acted like I wasn't terrified of what those grown men might do. I had never even had my first kiss and then I was dealing with this.
Even as I got older it never really got better, I never walk down a street alone at night time without worrying about what could happen. I'll take longer routes to places just so I can avoid certain areas so that I hopefully avoid it. But even then it doesn't really matter. A couple of months ago I was waiting in line at a convenience store just trying to purchase a drink and I happened to be behind two guys. I noticed one of them kept looking at me but didn't really think too much of it. When I went outside he and his friend were waiting for me in their car and stopped me as I tried to cross the parking lot.
He just kept telling me how beautiful I am and how he'd love to take me out and that he needed my phone number but then they wouldn't let me pass them, even after I said no as politely as I could so I wouldn't upset them they still wouldn't let me pass. The guy kept going and started telling me how much he loved that I was being so shy, that it was a turn on. What he was seeing wasn't me being shy, that was me being terrified. That was me after saying no three times still not being able to leave and go back to my car and thats really messed up. All I did was stand in line behind someone and that was enough of an invitation for them to not let me leave for almost 10 minutes.
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8. "Guys that will catcall women and girls don't just have some messed up ideas about women..."
I used to walk to and from school with a girl who lived near to me. Same year at school. One day on the way home when we were about 13, a couple of middle-aged builders in a white van rolled past slowly, catcalling her. Comments about the shortness of her skirt, the size of her breasts...
I yelled something like, "She's thirteen you creep!"
One guy jumped out of the van and ran after me, while the other followed in the van. No chance of the guy catching me, so he jumped back in the van after a couple of hundred yards. I was jumping fences, dodging through back gardens, hiding. They drove around the housing estate for about twenty minutes looking for me. I'm convinced that at the very least they'd have kicked the crap out of me - a thirteen year old boy in his school uniform - for defending his friend.
Guys that will catcall women and girls don't just have some messed up ideas about women. They're just all round scumbags.
9. "It's actually awful."
I'm a college student. I go to a private university which is gated off. But between my dorm and the caf I have to cross a public street and go through a security guard. It's like... 1pm on a Sunday, and I'm wearing no makeup, hair is soaking wet, and I'm wearing a baggy sweatshirt and sweatpants and slippers.
I'm about to cross after a car passes, and the guy driving screeches his car to a halt and starts screaming out of it how I ignored him and for me to get in, I ignore him still and refuse to look at him and he starts to get out. So I bolt across the street without looking, easily could've been squashed, and the security guard runs out to meet me and tell the guy to screw off, and the guy yelled about how he'd "get me one day" and sped off. Neither of us got his plates.
It was horrifying. These guys are awful.
10. "Ignore them, and they will follow you."
It's uncomfortable and scary. Ignore them, and they will follow you. Start spitting out profanities and they will pester you about getting your number, or will call you names and get aggressive.
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11. "Terror, repulsion, more terror, doubt, elevated sense of dignity."
In this order, I feel:
1) Terror, because someone is suddenly screaming at you, and you have no idea why.
2) Repulsion, because no one cat calls with an appropriate compliment. No one cat calls you to say "Your hair looks so shiny in this sunlight!" It's always "Nice a**" "Look at that body" "Why won't you smile for me?" etc. Always comments to insinuate that they are looking at one thing only for one thing only.
3) More terror, because you never know how they're going to respond to your reaction or lack thereof. If I do respond, even with a simple "Thanks," are they going to take it as an invitation? Are they going to call me conceited because I thanked them rather than blushed and brushed the compliment off, taking the power away from them? Or if I don't react, am I going to be harassed for ignoring them?
4) Doubt, because I obviously did something to cause them to cat-call. Perhaps my dress is too short or my top is too low-cut, like I doubted earlier that day. Maybe I should smile, it is too nice out to be upset.
5) A new sense of dignity, because it's not my fault someone feels the need to inappropriately comment on something that no one asked their opinion about. It's not my fault that they don't know how to handle rejection. It's not my fault that they're threatened by my self-confidence to wear and say what I want or handle myself however I want.
12. "Sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other."
Sometimes it feels like those tv scenes where the character is walking down a row of prison cells and the inmates are yelling all of those graphic, violent, sexual things. Minus the guards, bars, and anything else that would make you feel even moderately safe.
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13. "It can either be annoying or terrifying."
What I hate is when men yell things at you from their cars. I usually don't know what they're saying but I don't care to know. They go by so fast it just sounds like someone screaming at you as you walk to your car by yourself. It makes an ordinary situation into a fight-or-flight situation and it usually takes a while for me to calm down.
14. "It's about power and rarely about actually complimenting someone."
It's yet another reminder that certain men feel entitled to assigning value to and owning your body, and it's not fun being reminded of that when you're just going for a run or walking to work/class. Catcalling is about power and rarely about actually complimenting someone.
At the same time, because of being conditioned to seek men's approval, it can be validating for a brief second before the guilt kicks in for approving of that disgusting behavior coming from (frequently) men in pickup trucks.
15. "Women don't like being catcalled... because it's harassment."
My 2 female coworkers and I decided to walk one block down the street to grab lunch. Our male boss decided to join. 3 trucks honked and one had guys yelling as they drove by. My boss was in shock and asked if that's normal. We laughed because it's ridiculous that he would think it was anything different. Yeah, it's normal, and it's horrifying. It's like he suddenly understood why women don't like being catcalled... because it's harassment.
Breaking up is hard to do.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.