"Give me a smile will ya?"
"That ass be looking good today!"
Believe it or not, I have heard all of these phrases or some other form of them more often than I should. This phenomenon, that I have come to know and hate, is called catcalling. The best definition I can give of this term is that unwarranted verbal advances of someone directed at someone else, mostly men to women. Some men may think that they are giving compliments to the women they are calling out, but there is a big difference between catcalling and compliments. I am here today to break down this difference.
For one thing, giving someone a compliment is a matter of politeness. For example, if someone came up to me and said, "I'm sorry to disturb you, but I just wanted to tell you that I think you're cute." I would probably be flustered but flattered. If someone were to come up to me and say, "Hey, girl, let me tap that ass" I would give them an eye roll and a snarky comment. Not only was the second comment inappropriate, it also gives off the vibe that that person feels some sort of entitlement and feels like he should get what he wants all the time.
The other big difference is that catcalling is basically sexual harassment. It makes most women feel uncomfortable and makes them feel as if they have to take extra measures to protect themselves. For example, carrying pepper spray, learning self-defense, or not walking alone at night.
What amazes me about this issue is that there are men out there who are not aware that women go through this on a daily basis. I have heard my male friends say, "You don't really hear those things," or, "You're just exaggerating." Hate to break it to you, but you're adding to the problem by turning a blind eye to it. I understand that it's hard to imagine what being a woman in the 21st century for you men, but the least you could do is listen to us when we say that there is a problem in the female experience that needs to be addressed. I'm not saying that all men are at fault for the growing problem of sexual harassment. Most men I meet on a daily basis are lovely to talk to. However, the nice ones are always overshadowed by the not-so-nice ones.
It's time to call catcalling what it actually is, sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is in fact against the law, for those who are not aware. It makes me angry when I hear stories from my roommates and other female friends on what they hear on a daily basis. My roommate even had a problem with a man who lives in our building and would constantly make advances to her. These comments may seem harmless to a lot of men out there, but it's a nuisance to us. We are not here to be subject to your remarks on our appearance or how much you would like to have sex with us. We live our lives, just like you, and that isn't going to change anytime soon.