Cat-calling: Stop. Just stop.

Ladies, do you get disgusted when you’re walking down the street just minding your own business when some guy walking in the opposite direction looks you in the eye and says “Hey baby, you’re too fine.”? It’s annoying right? Why do men catcall women? When has that ever worked? When you ask a couple how they met, you never hear “I was walking down the street and he was walking the other way and said “Hey baby, you’re too fine!,” and I just fell in love with him right there and we’ve been together ever since.” The odds of cat-calling a woman actually getting you laid are non-existent, so why bother?

Let’s define cat-calling. The dictionary defines a cat-call as a shrill whistle-like sound or loud raucous shout made to express disapproval at a theater, meeting, etc. or an instrument for producing such a sound. The verb to cat-call is defined as to sound cat-calls or to express disapproval of by cat-calls. Disapproval isn’t what I’m hearing when a guy cat-calls me. In fact I’m hearing quite the opposite, so I don’t think we can continue using the word cat-call or any derivation thereof to refer to what’s really going on here. Let’s call it what it really is: street harassment.

But how is it harassment if I’m paying you a compliment?

If you wanted to pay me a compliment, what’s wrong with saying any of the traditional greetings in this country and striking up a conversation? Let’s try something like this:

You: Good morning

Me: Good morning

You: Lovely weather today

Me: Yes it’s nice, less humid than it’s been.

You: Definitely. That’s a lovely skirt you’re wearing.

Me: Thanks! I got it on sale.

You: It suits you. Have a nice day!

Me: Same to you!

Isn’t that nicer? What you’re doing isn’t paying me a compliment. What you’re doing is being disrespectful and I’ll show you how. Here, let’s break it down:

“Hey baby!”

Whoa! Pump the brakes, slick. We’ve never met. Who exactly do you think you’re calling baby? The only individuals you should be calling “baby” are your significant other, a dog or other animal, or an actual baby. I’m not your significant other. I’m a human being, not an animal and I’m a grown woman not a baby. So, calling me “baby” isn’t cute or a compliment. It shows that in your mind I’m equal to an animal, small child, or that you’re just deluded enough to think I’m your significant other. Frankly that last bit is sad enough to be funny.

“You’re too fine.” Yeah that’s what you said, but what I hear is “I’m eye-f*cking the sh*t out of you and there’s nothing you can do about it.” That’s not a compliment. Basically your entire statement has shown me that in your mind I’m being viewed as an object instead of a person.

Well so what? They’re only words.

I’ve heard street harassers say pretty filthy things to women walking by; even women who were pushing their toddlers in a stroller. Can you imagine how awkward that “Mommy what’s a…?” conversation must’ve been? They’re only words but they’re disrespectful words and who wants to be disrespected? Nobody, that’s who. It doesn’t always stop at words either. I’ve seen guys cat-call a woman then proceed to follow her for multiple blocks. That’s not creepy at all. (<=Heavy sarcasm) Words aren’t the problem. The problem is the mentality behind those words.

What street harassment says to women is, “You can’t even walk down the street without being reminded that some view you as ‘just a woman’.” Add walking down the street to the long list of things women can’t safely do in America in 2016 which also includes going for a jog, going out to a bar or club, having a drink on a date, speaking during business meetings without beginning every statement with “I’m sorry,” and of course getting paid the same amount of money as a man to do the same job. Yes, men have held the power in our society for time immemorial, but we so need another reminder. People, please it’s 2016. Drop the caveman mentality already. Women are rising to prominence in businesses and governments the world over which is amazing when you consider the fact that women didn’t receive the right to vote in America until 1920.

The mentality behind street harassment speaks to anger at the fact that women have made great strides toward equality. I get it. You’re upset because this means that your safe little world is changing and your behavior is going to have to change with it. Please do us all a favor and CLIMB DOWN OFF YOUR CROSS, USE THE WOOD TO BUILD A BRIDGE, AND GET OVER IT! The mentality behind street harassment is closely related to if not exactly the same as the mentality that drives violent crimes against women. If you don’t think that’s a problem, please stop reading immediately and go take a long walk off a short pier.

The sad truth is that saying this will probably get me called a feminazi bitch. You’re certainly welcome to that opinion and I’m sorry you feel that way, but I’m not saying that all men are terrible people or even that men who participate in street harassment are necessarily terrible people. Put yourself in the shoes of the woman you’re harassing. Would you really feel good about some guy saying filthy things to you or following you for several blocks down the street while you’re just trying to get somewhere? The world would be a better place if we could all learn to be more respectful and considerate of others. Guys, cat-calling is not sexy. It’s a huge turn-off and it’s never ever going to get you laid. If you want a lady’s attention, treat her with respect. Respect is hot. Seriously if you’re going around cat-calling, stop. Just stop.

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