Lemme Holla Back Atchu

IT’S BEEN SOOOO LONG SINCE I’VE BLOGGED. LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT, SHALL WE?

So. Topic for today that I’m going to share my thoughts on is catcalling, AKA street harassment. Hollering at women, giving them unwanted attention, no matter what kind, as they are simply trying to go about their days.

Street harassment happens to every woman. Some don’t mind it, but it irks me to my core. It is my biggest pet peeve.

Why Street Harassment Suckz

Street harassment is all about power and male entitlement. Harassers believe that they are entitled to a woman’s body and that they have the right to tell her what they think about it. Harassers believe that the woman should be flattered, and that she wants to hear what they think. IMHO, harassing women like that, I’m gonna say, has never resulted in a woman turning around and saying, “Oh my god, let’s go on a date since you just whistled at me and commented on my ass! THAT is what I look for in a man.”

I believe that the reason that some women take catcalling as a compliment is that society has a habit of telling them their self worth comes from male attention. Male attention is to be sought after, and you should be grateful you got it. It should make you feel good that a man wanted to talk to you, and it doesn’t matter whether you wanted him to or not. (My interpretation: Your wants and needs, since you are a woman, are less important.)

There is a video that’s gone viral: This Woman Has Been Confronting Her Catcallers–And Secretly Filming Their Responses. In it, the woman tries to have a conversation with her harassers and explain to them why what they’re doing is offensive.

Some of the men in the video say that women dress the ways they do to attract male attention. Now, this is a load of bulllllllshit. Not only is that a form of victim blaming, but it is again a feeling of entitlement. You did this for me, didn’t you? Not yourself, of course. It is a (conscious or subconscious) feeling that the woman dressed or acted a certain way for the harasser and just the harasser to give her attention. 

Also, newsflash: women dress for themselves, for only themselves; no matter the dress, harassment is never excused.

In addition, multiple times in the video the harassers state that women were put on earth for male enjoyment. Many cite the Bible (Eve came from Adam’s rib, blahblahblah). This is LITERALLY ADMITTING TO MISOGYNY. THIS IS OUTRIGHT SPOKEN MALE ENTITLEMENT. *sighs*

In the video, one harasser says he wouldn’t yell at the woman if she was with a man–even if he was just her friend–because he wouldn’t want to disrespect that man. The woman herself is not worthy of this respect. That respect is only given when she is with a man. The harasser sees women with men as belonging to them. No matter the relationship between the two. Women are not seen by harassers as full human beings belonging to themselves. 

Much of the harassment I have personally encountered has come from out of car windows, so the harasser(s) can speed by and not deal with the consequences of their actions and I can’t get a glimpse of them. Yelling, whistling, etc. Revolting.

Why Street Harassment Scares Me

For me, a lot of why street harassment is scary is because of sexual assault and rape. If I confront a harasser, I don’t know how that is going to turn out. Will the harasser become angry, violent? Will the harasser hurt me if this escalates? Many times I respond anyway, since I am angered so much by it. 

It is my belief that this feeling of “entitlement” that street harassment represents can snowball into big, big problems. Greater than yelling on the street. Male entitlement can lead to the friend zone (another blog topic entirely) and ultimately to tragedies like the Elliot Rodger shooting.  

I will end on a quote that strikes me every time I hear it: 

“The point is not that all men are menaces to women, but that all women have been menaced by men.”

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3 thoughts on “Lemme Holla Back Atchu

  1. > Hollering at women, giving them unwanted attention, no matter what kind, as they are simply trying to go about their days.

    The critical word is UNWANTED attention. If the attention is wanted (if the guy paying you a compliment happens to be driving a porsche and not a pickup trick) then it’s no longer harassment. It is called ‘being swept off your feet’.

    So the issue is not that men occasionally compliment women in public, it’s that POOR, LOW STATUS men occasionally compliment women in public who are out of their league.

    > Street harassment happens to every woman.

    And it happens to men too. Men are statistically much less safe than women on the streets (they get assaulted much more, and more severely too).

    However cat calling happen far more to attractive women than unattractive women. Complaining about being cat called is an admission that you are attractive to men. A woman complaining (or ‘complaining’) about being cat called is telling the world she is attractive enough to GET cat called.

    As many older women have observed. They were annoyed when men used to cat call them and pinch their bums … but when they got older they were just as annoyed when men stopped cat calling them or pinching their bums. Being an attractive and young (fertile) women means having a free ticket in so many ways. Being cat called is one of the few drawbacks.

    > Street harassment is all about power and male entitlement.

    Why? Why can’t being able to wear provocative clothes and walk down a street distracting every heterosexual male who sees you (many of whom would happily buy you dinner or buy you jewellery just to hang out with you) about female power and entitlement?

    > Harassers believe that they are entitled to a woman’s body and that they have the right to tell her what they think about it.

    If you means people who cat call then by definition they do not think that. Speaking or even shouting at someone is not the same as physical assault – especially when no threats are actually made (and instead compliments are given).

    > Harassers believe that the woman should be flattered, and that she wants to hear what they think

    If that is true – as you claim it is – then by definition it is not an act of aggression, or harassment. Sorry to state the obvious!

    > IMHO, harassing women like that, I’m gonna say, has never resulted in a woman turning around and saying, “Oh my god, let’s go on a date since you just whistled at me and commented on my ass! THAT is what I look for in a man.”

    Right and that is because (in general) the men who cat call women are too low status to be considered ‘boyfriend material’ by the woman in question. If the man is high enough status to be in with a chance he will cat call in his mind only, and then figure out a way to approach the girl and impress the girl in a way that makes him appear more like a gentleman – such as a romantic note (I see you walk by my office every day and I wrote this poem about you…etc) or just some expensive theatre tickets or whatever.

    > I believe that the reason that some women take catcalling as a compliment is that society has a habit of telling them their self worth comes from male attention.

    Not their self worth – which is how you value yourself. Cat calling is about your worth as a women in the eyes of men. A woman who is (sexually) attractive to men is valued by men in that regard (this is not rocket science). That means men will be more likely to compete with each other to impress her by buying her gifts, romancing her, writing her poems etc etc. They all hope she might like them enough to accept a date (or marriage) proposal.

    The more attractive you are to men the more chance you have of being surrounded by rich, high profile, attractive men all eager to impress you. So in that sense it increases your worth in the dating/ relationship/ social hierarchy.

    > Male attention is to be sought after, and you should be grateful you got it. It should make you feel good that a man wanted to talk to you, and it doesn’t matter whether you wanted him to or not. (My interpretation: Your wants and needs, since you are a woman, are less important.)

    There is no ‘should’. It’s just a fact of life. The more attractive you are as a man or a woman (physical attractiveness, money, a good career etc) the more you are able to attract a boyfriend/ girlfriend of high value. In fact usually people end up marrying someone of about equal value, in terms of looks, wealth, social status etc – you must have noticed this surely? Women who are drop dead gorgeous are able to offset a lower score in other areas – like a shitty personality, or low social status. Men can too but not nearly as much as women.

    > Some of the men in the video say that women dress the ways they do to attract male attention. Now, this is a load of bulllllllshit.

    How many women (including yourself) do you know who dress up to spend the day at home? That is not to say women dress up because they WANT attention from low status guys. Women dress up to get attention from high status guys they are attracted to, but the reality is you cannot avoid the unwanted attention when you go out in public (unless you rounded up all low status guys and put them in camps, or just blinded them with sharp sticks). So dealing with them is just an unavoidable inconvenience if you want to attract the attention of high status guys in public.

    > Not only is that a form of victim blaming, but it is again a feeling of entitlement.

    Wanting to go out wearing provocative clothing to attract the attention of nice guys but demanding everybody else avert their eyes and not voice their thoughts is entitlement. There are laws against harassment and assault and nobody condones that behaviour, but you cannot demand people do not cat call without demanding everybody is forbidden to say anything in public that might offend. People shout comments at every group in society, not just attractive women who dress up and go out in public.

    > Also, newsflash: women dress for themselves, for only themselves; no matter the dress, harassment is never excused.

    It’s not either / or. Harassment is not excusable. But wearing provocative clothing does encourage cat calling. Welcome to reality 🙂

    > In addition, multiple times in the video the harassers state that women were put on earth for male enjoyment.

    And many (attractive) women treat men like they were put onto this earth to pay for everything they (as attractive women) want and to generally treat (attractive) women like royalty. So there are entitled assholes among both genders. Welcome to reality 🙂

    > The harasser sees women with men as belonging to them. No matter the relationship between the two. Women are not seen by harassers as full human beings belonging to themselves.

    They understand that if the woman is with a man then that man is likely to come over and assault him for cat calling his woman. I’m sure you are aware that many women will encourage their boyfriends to behave that way. The expect their boyfriends to defend them and will be disappointed if he does not go over and smack the other guy. Often the boyfriend will be shamed and belittled by the girlfriend if he does not act like the tough guy and defend her honour. So that is why cat calling a girl out with her boyfriend is an extremely dangerous thing to do.

    Anyway are you seriously telling me girls never treat their boyfriends as ‘theirs’ telling other girls to stay away “because he’s MINE!”… you’ve never experienced this?

    > For me, a lot of why street harassment is scary is because of sexual assault and rape.

    The two are not even remotely the same. To equate rape with cat calling is to trivialise rape just so you can drum up support to bash cat callers and that is really not cool.

    > Male entitlement can lead to the friend zone (another blog topic entirely) and ultimately to tragedies like the Elliot Rodger shooting.

    What on earth has Elliot Rodger got to do with cat calling, sexual assault, ‘male entitlement’ or rape? He was a mentally deranged nutter who murdered some people.

    He murdered more men than women FFS and then killed himself – how is any of that male entitlement or misogyny?

    Are you completely mad? What SPECIFICALLY is his connection to the subject of cat calling and street harassment or anything else you were talking about?

    You’re basically saying “all blacks have a sense of entitlement and hatred towards whites because of that mentally ill black guy that murdered that white guy a few months ago” I mean seriously, what the hell kind of argument is THAT?

    • 1. Any man, no matter the class, has no right to harass any woman. Even if that man sees what he’s doing as complimenting the woman, he doesn’t know if she would like the attention and therefore should refrain. Your comment about “being swept off your feet” is offensive. You obviously didn’t read the damn post.

      2. https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims Men are not less safe on streets than women. Saying that is absolutely absurd and you obviously have done no research. DO NOT tell me that I get free tickets for being a “young, attractive” woman. I have so many disadvantages–including hiring, unequal pay, and not being taken seriously by people like you. Complaining about catcalling is not admitting to being attractive (which is subjective, by the way), and by saying that, you are invalidating my claims. These claims are not invalid. Street harassment is a real problem. I encourage you to do your research on why street harassment is a problem.

      3. Women can wear whatever they want. If a man wore a suit or a tank top or what have you, who would consider that an invitation for comment? No one. And I wouldn’t want to get jewelry, to get dinner, or to hang out with any man who feels entitled to comment on me as I’m simply trying to live my life. Clothes are never an invitation for comment or action of any kind. That thinking is sexist and misogynistic. Once again, did you even read the post?

      4. I never said shouting is the same as physical assault, but it is harassment and it is offensive and should not happen.

      5. When I said “harassers think women should be flattered” — WOMEN AREN’T FLATTERED. That is not what I said, obviously, unless you don’t understand how to read sentences.

      6. I don’t know what your obsession is with thinking women want to be surrounded by high status men and harassed by low status men. Women have goals, careers, ambitions. Women do things to be successful. Success is not equal to being bought gifts and being taken to the theatre. I do not want that, for myself or in a romantic partner. To say such things is to dehumanize women, to say that their goals and ambitions AS PEOPLE are not valid. That is inexcusable. Most women want to accomplish things for themselves (for no one else) and are not looking for a man for his status or wealth. As a heterosexual woman, I value different things in a partner: sense of humor, kindness, generosity, the ability to see that men and women should be treated equally by society, etc. Not his wealth or status. That does not matter.

      7. I am done discussing this with you, as I am surely not going to budge your opinion. But just know that you should do your own research on women’s issues. You might learn something and probably become a kinder person in the process. Also, you should probably reread the post and the links because I don’t think you really understood what I was saying.

    • You clearly don’t understand the context of street harassment if you seriously consider it to be a compliment in any form. The fact of the matter is, the “compliment” men are giving when they do this is basically the equivalent of “I find you attractive” like it’s some sort of accomplishment to be proud of. Assuming women are simple minded enough to accept “it was a compliment” as a legitimate excuse to insert yourself into their lives in an aggressive and opprosseive way is not only incredibly insulting, but also incredibly wrong.

      I’m baffled how you think status plays any part in this. I recommend visiting that site linked where the woman confronts her harassers as you’ll see it doesn’t matter to her what the man looks like, wears, or where he is, the unifying factor is the harassment.

      There’s a difference between giving a woman a legitimate compliment and harassing them, which you don’t seem to understand at all. For example, if you were walking to or from work and you saw a woman who you found attractive, a genuine compliment would look like actually approaching her, saying something like “Excuse me, I just wanted to tell you I think you’re stunning/beautiful/etc. (not hot, sexy, or other sexualized descriptors)” as it is clearly not meant for just yourself. Walking by a woman and saying anything to her about her appearance while you continue to walk away is completely selfish as you obviously don’t care what the PERSON you’re complimenting thinks or feels about it. A woman, in EVERY way just like a man, has the mental capacity to make her own decisions and judgments, and can tell the difference between something genuine and something selfish. By having no regard for a woman’s wishes in regards to her own life you’re treating her like an inanimate object instead of a human with a right to privacy.

      Honestly I can’t even believe how you can seriously talk about “provocative clothing” like it’s an excuse. Something being provocative is placed on the observer, who finds the clothing provoking to act as they see fit, not the observed. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of women to avoid clothing that they like wearing because it might provoke a man to do something. Women’s choices shouldn’t even need to be justified by clarifying that they wear clothes for themselves, because they like the way they look and feel, and they make them feel good about themselves, because it’s no one’s business but their own.

      The more I read your most the more sure I am you have some personal things you need to work out. High-class men can act just as entitled and offensive as lower class men, and it’s still just as unwanted and harmful no matter what. And I have no clue how you can say that men are more at risk than women that is absolutely ridiculous. It may be that the AMOUNT of men involved is more, but whatever misogynist biased study you’re finding this is clearly ignoring an exploiting the fact that women feel the need to avoid the streets out of safety while men don’t have the same concerns. Statistically the percentages of assaults are opposite of those you described and it’s ignorant to pretend otherwise.

      I want to believe you’re trying to be difficult in this as there’s no way someone could be so wrong but unfortunately I know better. Attitudes like yours only serve to continue the oppressive behaviors on the streets and until men like you realize the gravity of your actions the situation will continue to be unpleasant for everyone.

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