A Guide To Dealing With Catcallers (Even Though We Shouldn't Have To)
So you've been verbally abused, now what?
It was a nice sunny day in LA when I decided to walk down the street and grab a couple things from the store. My arms were full of groceries and I was happily rushing home to prepare a meal for myself.
Then, out of nowhere a large truck barrels down the street, with two guys sticking their heads out like dogs. "Nice Ass!" one guy yells while the other just whistles then gives me a suggestive hand gesture.
Feeling actually really hurt and confused, I put down my stuff and turn to the car driving away.
"I DON'T LIKE THAT!"
I stammered. Then, worried for my safety, I starting walking briskly away from where the incident occurred.
After the event, I felt a little silly for not really knowing what to do and for blurting out something I wouldn't normally (Who even says "I don't like that?" apparently, me). A million other (way wittier) responses popped in my head, and I thought about it for the rest of the night.
But this incident is just one of millions that happen to people every day. In the U.S., 85% of women are street harassed by the time they are 17. And though I can't speak for all women, I'd definitely say we usually are caught off guard, and have no idea to do what do. It's jarring, we're left feeling gross and awkward. It's just plain not fun.
But what catcallers don't understand is that it is something we actually do NOT like, and we are forced to come up with ways to deal with the experience. So, if you are one of the many women that's been catcalled in her lifetime, here are some tips to dealing with it. Though it stinks that we even have to, it can be helpful to know some tricks to help you feel less "gross" when you didn't ask for it in the first place.
Tell Them It's Not OK
Saying something like, "That's not appropriate" or "You're making me uncomfortable" may help remind the catcallers that you are actually a human being and not an object for them to comment on. Even blatantly saying "My body isn't yours to comment on" is a perfect way of telling them it is not ok.
If you have someone that comments on your smile, it may be empowering to say "I'll do what I want with my face." Saying something simple like that might help point out the sexism taking place, and put a little perspective on the situation.
Yes, it's hard to actually sit someone down and have a real conversation about how these types of incidents make you feel, and educate catcallers on the sexism taking place, but a simple comment can help you feel a little more powerful in the situation.
Share The Incident
Yup, there's an app for that. If you are in New York City you can download the app Hollaback! and share when and where an incident takes place, along with details and a statement of your own. You can also see a full map of all the incidents that people report, by checking out what areas, when and an event occurred.
You can also share your experience on social media, or with friends of family members. Sharing on social media can help gain awareness around this issue. But it can also help you as a victim feel supported after the event, and let you gain some confidence and power back.
Come Up With A Witty Response
It sucks when you get catcalled. Know what doesn't suck? Being able to take down a terrible with some intellect. Some awesome responses to a terrible situation.
"Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"
"Does this ever work for you?"
"No, you're sexy, wow, look at you!" in your best sarcastic tone.
Or straight-up give the best, creepiest Jenna Marbles smile. Works every time.
Don't Do Anything
Because let's be real. We shouldn't have to deal with being catcalled while out on our everyday walks. We shouldn't have to feel stripped of our dignity every time we decide to go for a walk, and someone feels so inclined to tell us what they think of how we look. We shouldn't feel obligated to say ANYTHING because we didn't ask for the comment anyway.
How do you respond to catcalling? SHARE with your friends to see what their thoughts are!
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