On catcalls and compliments

I’ve been reading a lot of posts on the #YesAllWomen campaign, and this one really struck me, because it’s closest to my experience. Many men do not see the misogyny of others, because the men who perpetrate this misogyny are often very careful to not act on it in front of other men. So I’ll just say – before discounting the experiences of women, take a moment to consider this article.

Then, take a moment just to ask yourself – have I ever said or done something to a woman that I considered a compliment, to which she reacted with anger or annoyance? I think this little thing is the most pervasive form of sexism I see; the “drunk man at the party” in Hess’s article is all too familiar to me (is there any party that doesn’t have one of those?). Consider also the catcall. I get it, sometimes, though more often in my old neighborhood in VA, in which I had to jog on sidewalks running alongside very busy streets. I’ve had men justify it as, “It’s a compliment! You should be happy to get a catcall! It means you’re attractive and sexy!”

Um… no thanks.

When you catcall, you’re not complimenting me. You’re appreciating a body in your line of sight that happens to fit your model of “sexy” or “attractive.” You’re appreciating an object, and I’m not an object. You don’t know me. Tell you what, you can catcall me. IF you catcall every single other person out for a jog on the sidewalk, too. If you’re just trying to give a compliment and make people happy and “help” them feel sexy, then there are others who need it more than I do.

Though I’m pretty sure they’ll give you the same withering stare (or middle finger) that I do. I am more than my body. When you catcall me, I assume that you find me sexy. And perhaps are thinking of having sex. And that makes me sick. Keep your thoughts and whistles to yourself. It’s a much greater compliment to know that you think of me than more than a body.


One thought on “On catcalls and compliments

  1. Pingback: Hey, let’s slut shame this woman for walking around in a t-shirt and jeans! | DiversityJane

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