Trigger Warnings – Misogyny, strong language throughout
You know sometimes the inspiration for a blog post can from anywhere actually, I usually use the news or my feelings about personal issues but today I happened upon a Facebook status about a friend of mine seeking advice on what to do in regards to cat-callers. Now, I’ll say this first, said friend is an attractive individual and is no stranger to getting attention but said friend is also a human being and does not want the pressure of being a 24/7 gawking subject and whilst they can adopt an attitude of empowerment and resilience, sometimes they’re not up to it, sometimes they just want to walk down the road like a normal person and not get strangers making suggestions about what they should do with their body bits. I made a joking remark that they should respond to the calls by telling these men that their kink is bludgeoning men in the balls with hammers and the comment section of that status spiralled down into madness and hilarity from that point on but it got me thinking about cat-calling as a whole and my feelings toward it.
Firstly, I’m an introvert, I think I’ve said that enough times for it to sink in but still, I can’t even imagine shouting “Nice tits!” at a total stranger, I can barely even say “Hello” to one so to skip getting to know them and jumping straight to the sex talk is a thought that terrifies me, even my basest lewd part of me would be gob-smacked if I shouted at a stranger. Cat-calling is an odd social ritual for the male kind, feeling the need to comment on every passing woman like a child with their face to the car window shouting “Cows! Moo! Mummy look!”, it’s that same logic but instead it’s a group of horny vultures going “Boobs! Nice! Dave, look!”. So well done fellas, you’ve not moved on beyond the age of five, good for you. I acknowledge that not every man in the world does this but it’s still a big issue and enough men do it that we’ve seen a stream of YouTube and Upworthy posts on the subject. I have all sorts of thoughts about people that pass me by but being a considerate person, I keep them to myself and it’s a social lubricant every person on the planet should use really – don’t comment on every single fucking thing you see in the world. Big boobs? Ok, move on, that’s a thing, well done. Someone in a wheelchair? Yes, magical, next? Oh, a gay couple? You know what, leave it, unless you actually spot a bright yellow unicorn in a leather jacket strutting along the street, you don’t really need to say anything do you?
Cat-calling is disguised as compliments but it becomes abuse very fast if the woman doesn’t respond, what starts off as “Hey dollface, I like the way you’re looking tonight babe, come gimme som sugar!” then changes to “Hey, hey, why ain’t you talking to me? Am I ugly to you babe?” and then that becomes “Oh fuck you bitch, you fucking dyke” and so on and so on, it’s disgusting and crude. Do these guys respond to every denial in their life that way? Is shrugging off women that reject them as prude or gay the only way they can protect their precious egos from being as small as their brains? I suppose we live in a world just coming out of the stage in which men were entitled to everything they want, including women on demand, and that’s still a thing for the most part but feminism is teaching the world that women have a purpose beyond being vaginas that can make sandwiches and there are a collective of scorned souls pouting “Grr, we liked it when they only used their mouths for pleasing a fella…”. Well, tough, it is not a human right to be entitled to a sex slave and housemaid but it is a human right to be entitled to walking out in public without judgement or harassment, a human right so many still go without.
Sure, some women can take it in their stride or accept the compliment, some might seem to play along but those that do often do so to pander to these aggressors? What kind of world is it in which women have to fake a smile and thank a guy for saying he’d ruin her ass just so she can go to lunch without being called a tart? Not a world I want to live in, that’s what. Kudos to the women who can take these things and let it empower them, they’re bold women but not every woman in the world can do that and no woman should have to.
Ok so what should you do when you’re being catcalled? Well, here’s a few ideas I gathered together from a look around at the best responses female comedians and general women with social media could come up with:
1. If he says you have big boobs/a cute ass, look at them/it and scream in horror as if you’ve never noticed them to freak him out
2. If he pays you a ‘compliment’, accept it in the weirdest way possible. A good one I found was ‘Oh at last, a gentleman of a high enough calibre to take me to the ball, how splendid! Thank you good sir, you may take my handkerchief as a token of my gratitude’ – Fucking go full Jane Austen on their asses
3. If he calls you a bitch, bark at him like a dog and show him what a bitch really is
4. If he goes with something along the line of “Hey babe, how you doin’?”, you could try “Well, my IBS is a nightmare, I think I have piles and I’ve got this weird rash all over my chest, how are you?”. Gross? Yes, but you know you don’t have those things (Hopefully) and he’s just a stranger, what does it matter?
5. If he asks “Why don’t you try playing with my cock?”, try “I dunno, you play with it alone so much, I think it’s more a single player game really”
6. If he says he’s just trying to tell you you’re beautiful, respond with “I have a mirror/boyfriend/girlfriend for that”
Now, these are jokey suggestions, they’re great if you want to cut down the culprit’s ego a bit but just as a side note – don’t use these if you’re at risk, men can be aggressive cunts when kicked in their pride so if you say this to a group of lads in a dark alley, it will not end well unless you have a really big can of Mace handy. If you are cat-called, remember, you aren’t to blame, there’s no fault on you for being attractive and you are not obliged to satisfy a total stranger and if you feel bad about it then talk to someone. If you observe cat-calling happening, be a good sport, step in and say something ok? You can either be direct and tell the guys to shove it or do something a little less confrontational, approach the victim and pretend to be someone who was looking for them “Ah Sue, there you are, come on, we’ve got that party to go to!” – Be sure to make a subtle signal to the victim or you will confuse the fuck out of them. You can of course point out the culprits to a local authority figure or if they’re in a work environment, find their superior. Afterwards, be sure to ask if the victim is ok, it’s often just enough to feel validated afterwards and be treated like a person, not a slab of meat.
This article was a bit longer than anticipated but hey, it’s an important issue, even now. Ladies of the world, just take pride in yourself and walk on, do not feel dirty for their comments because it’s nothing but the inane barking of horny dogs. Use your wits or use long strides and walk away, it’s a sad reality of the world but hopefully we’ll move past this childish flaw of our society in a few years – the tunes these guys sing changes when other lads try it on with their sisters or daughters, we just have to teach them to be better and that’s a job for feminism but for you in your day to day life, I hope I gave you some ideas for some witty comebacks and helped you respond to the situation better as a victim or an observer. If you’re a culprit reading this somehow, grow up, you won’t ever establish a meaningful relationship by shouting at strangers, that’s the kind of behaviour that usually lands someone in a mental health ward, we just don’t seem to do it if you shout “Nice tits” instead of “I am the dark lord of raisin bread” even though both of those comments are stupid things to shout out loud to the world.