Thursday, October 30, 2014

the catcall & the BLOW OFF

By now, I'm sure you've all seen the video "10 hours of Walking in NY as a Woman." My first thought upon watching it was: why do I not get catcalled this often? Am I not even hot enough for the creepy dudes out there?" Totally kidding. Kind of. I think what's most surprising about this video is the fact that some men are A. Shocked by it (Anderson Cooper) or B. Don't understand what the problem is (Michael Che). I lived in NY for three years and while I can say the catcalling was not quite as incessant as it is in this video, it definitely happened and it definitely made me feel uncomfortable, harassed, and unsafe. Apparently, the actress in the video is getting rape and death threats now. WTF, people?!

BUT it's also not just a NY thing. In LA, I was stopped at a red light, glanced at the car next to me, only to see the driver masturbating, with his window rolled down, while staring at me. In NY, you see the same shit on the subway. Just a couple days ago, I was walking to my car in the gym parking lot and some guy was backing out of his spot. He let me pass, then stopped his car to tell me it was to look at my beautiful body, because he appreciates people who work out BUT he was also quick to add that he has a girlfriend. As though that would somehow make it any less creepy. And to any women who's gone jogging in any town, suburb, or city-- I'm sure you've had the experience of a car slowing down to leer at you.

And then there are the dudes who call you a bitch, because you don't want to talk to them or smile at them. What men don't get is that we know a hello or a smile back could be read as an invitation to follow us down three city blocks and ask for our phone number.

That said, I'm actually not of the camp that feels like simply saying hello to a person is harassment. Maybe because I'm an old lady now and live in the kind of neighborhood where I say hello and good morning to every person I pass on the street. There have been moments where I've been genuinely pissed and annoyed when someone has told me to smile, but also moments where I've thought "I should smile more, thanks for the reminder buddy!" Maybe it's all in the tone and delivery. And I'll be totally honest-- if a compliment came from someone that looked like say, Ryan Gosling or Michael Ealy, I might be like "How you doin'?" I'm not sure how to change the fact that it's less creepy when a super attractive guy tells you you're beautiful. 

So then where does one draw the line? It's actually not as hard as you think. Even if you are Ryan Gosling and you're reading this: Don't follow a woman, don't yell at her for not acknowledging you, don't be creepy, don't tell her to smile, don't stick your tongue out, slow your car down, make comments about her booty or her rack, don't think saying you have a girlfriend makes anything else you say okay, don't guilt her into speaking to you, don't smack your lips at her, don't whistle, don't expose yourself or touch your dick, don't do that creepy close dance thing where you think she'll suddenly start dancing with you by accident, don't force yourself on her, don't grab her ass, stare at her breasts mid-conversation, spike her drink, make threats, make her feel like she owes you anything, or accidentally rub up against her in a crowded space. Am I forgetting anything?

A simple smile/nod hello is fine. I think you dudes can handle that.
              

2 comments:

  1. What happens to a single fit and attractive male walking alone?

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    1. This is what happens:
      http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/10/hey-powerful-what-its-like-to-walk-on-the-street-while-being-male/382136/

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