An Open Letter To Catcallers Everywhere
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Politics and Activism

An Open Letter To Catcallers Everywhere

Please stop. It isn't a compliment.

An Open Letter To Catcallers Everywhere

Greetings All Catcallers,

I am writing to inform you of a few facts you may not be aware of. I know it may seem confusing at times, so I wanted to address any misconceptions. Although it may not seem like it to you, when I am sitting at a bus stop, or walking down the street, or basically minding my own business and living my life, I am not asking for your attention.

No, when I was texting on my phone that was not an open invitation for you to honk your horn and yell “hey sexy” at me as you drove by. And when I’m working out at the gym, I’m not asking for you to jump onto the elliptical behind me to stare at my butt for the next two miles. And no, when I am waiting in line at the cash register, I was not hoping you would motion towards my chest and butt to let me know “It’s a beautiful view.” I’m not a landscape; I’m not a thing; I’m not an “it.”

In case no one ever told you (because apparently you needed someone to tell you) I am a person. Yes, a human being. And I appreciate being treated like a human being. In other words, I do not appreciate being whistled at like I am a dog. It should not make a difference if I am wearing baggy sweatpants and a hoodie or a mini skirt - what I look like and what I am wearing does not give you the right to objectify me or disrespect me.

And when I have no reaction or smile nervously, it is not because I liked it or enjoyed what you had to say, it is because I’m shocked, I’m insulted, and I’m scared. My silence is not approval. When you harass women, and they don’t respond, and when witnesses do nothing to stop you, that does not excuse your actions. Women are constantly being catcalled and harassed, while being told that “it isn’t a big deal” and they should “just get over it.” Or, worse yet, women are told to “just take the compliment” because “it’s a form of flattery.”

Let me be perfectly clear - catcalling and harassment make women uncomfortable, scared, self-conscious, and angry. It is not a compliment. No woman should have to feel like she deserves to be undermined and objectified based on what she looks like, what she is wearing, what she is doing, or where she is. No woman should have to double check that she remembered to pack her pepper spray before leaving the house. No woman should have to deal with the worry that your “compliments” will turn into something more. Catcalling is not something women should “just get over.” It is a form of manipulation, a way for men to take control of a situation and make women feel small - sexual objects devoid of dignity.


Every Woman Tired Of Being Catcalled

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