Women: It’s time for us to take back the catcall

Sarah James

A few weeks ago, my two best friends and I took a day trip to Cleveland’s West Side Market. In the 30 seconds it took us to make our way through the fruit stands to the falafel stand, we were catcalled three different times. Although it is comical when a stranger goes out of his way to compare you to Charlie’s Angels, I couldn’t help but wonder: Why is this acceptable? Why is it considered appropriate for a stranger to enter your comfort zone and berate you with faux compliments?

I suspect everyone is catcalled at one point or another, and reactions range from being flattered to downright appalled. As a feminist, I belong to the second party.

I don’t understand how such primal advances could flatter anyone. There is nothing personal about being catcalled; the receiver shouldn’t be congratulated simply for having breasts.

Rarely do men yell things like, “Nice sense of humor!” down the street on a hot summer day. Seldom does someone shout, “Great job being you!” across a bar.

Catcalling isn’t about admiration; it’s about objectification. It needs to be recognized for what it is: disrespect.

I sometimes wonder what catcallers hope to accomplish by shouting uninvited and lewd remarks down the street. Are they waiting for the one girl out of 87 billion to take them up on their offer?

I can guarantee a reply of, “Why yes, I would be delighted to perform fellatio on you; how is next Tuesday night?” would be met with equal disgust.

If you want to get to know someone, I can guarantee that catcalling him or her is not the best way to go about doing so. What’s wrong with saying, “Hello, how are you?” or, “These pretzels are making me thirsty!”

To me, there is a big difference between being complimented and being harassed. Women shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable walking past a group of men, and they definitely shouldn’t have to stand for the suggestive remarks that often ensue.

When I am walking to my car late at night, I am not exactly comforted when a stranger tells me that I “wouldn’t be frowning if his dick was inside me.”

Actually, I wouldn’t be frowning if I could walk to my on-campus parking spot on a Monday night without being harassed. I’d like to think that campus is a safe place, but remarks like that are the reason I routinely walk with my keys between my fingers like claws.

These comments are uninvited and uncalled for, and it is for these reasons that I think women, as a whole, should take back catcalling. Think of the possibilities.

The next time you see a man running past the Student Center, give him a shout. Tell him how his spandex shorts accentuate his package.

The next time you see a man bending over to pick up a candy wrapper, make sure to offer him assistance with the removal of his pants.

Sarah James is a sophomore public relations major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.Contact her at [email protected].