Catcall: (courtesy of Urban Dictionary)
"When a guy gives the wert whirl whistle or yells at a babydoll for the purpose of getting attention and in hopes of a future hookup. This is usually done out of the window of a car. Typically a Pontiac Firebird, or Camaro."
"99.9% a hookup never arises and it's just the thrill that keeps these going."
The origin of this term is said to have come from the mid-17th century, originally denoting a kind of whistle or squeaking instrument used to express disapproval at a theatre. Although catcalling actually dates back to as far as 200 B.C. when it was more commonly known as the “wolf whistle.” The term, which carries a predatory connotation, plays on the symbol of wolves as an example of male lust, which has been around since the Elizabethan era.
The term didn’t take on a strictly sexual meaning until the 20th century, but the basic idea is the same: the catcaller feels the right to vocally pass opinion. He’s an audience member that is expected to give feedback to a performance. But the reality is, we are not part of a play. I am not an actor and you are not putting on a performance. I am trying to get home safely from a night out with friends, nothing more.
Whilst the supposed intention of the catcall is to promote flattery, that is usually not the case. Below are a few thoughts that have never crossed my mind when called out to on the streets:
"Wow, I feel safe."
"He really appreciates me for my mind."
"I feel beautiful."
"He seems nice."
"Maybe I should go over and start a conversation."
"I feel comfortable."
"This outfit was a good decision."
"Walking home on my own was a good idea."
"His sweater is totally made out of boyfriend material."
"That comment about my *ss really makes me swoon."
"He respects me."
Calling out or behaving inappropriately towards a woman who is trying to go about her day in peace is never acceptable. Unless we asked for your opinion, do not shout it at us. It is not respectful, and more often than not, it makes us worry for our safety.
The other day, I was catching an early train to a neighboring city when I was approached by a man. I firmly told him to leave me alone, yet he followed as I made my way to the platform. He then felt that he had the right to put his hand up my dress saying that "I dressed like Africa." Apparently that made it appropriate to harass a young woman who was by herself. He was "just trying to help me."
Here is where I began to scold myself for wearing a dress while traveling. How DARE I have the audacity to wear what makes me happy. But soon I stopped myself and remembered that this is not my fault. I did nothing wrong; it was the actions of others that lead me to such discomfort.
If you like the way someone looks, that's cool, now show them some respect as a fellow human being.
Unwanted attention becomes harassment when you continue to push it on others.
Don't do it.