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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Thoughts on cat-calling

I've mentioned cat-calling in some of my other blog posts, and this post may include different opinions from views I've mentioned previously as ideas are always evolving. A random facebook post I saw earlier from some girl made me think more about this topic. She mentioned that she had been dressed in clothing appropriate for the weather as it was a hot day, and that that had garnered unwanted attention from a few dudes which made her irritated.

I'm only using this as one example; lots of girls/women online and in real life complain about cat-calling. With the #metoo movement that was supposed to be about rape and sexual assault survivors, many females started complaining about cat-calling as if it could be lumped in the same category.

I can completely understand why being hollered at in the street by a stranger would make anyone uncomfortable. It doesn't matter if you're a man or woman; being called at by someone you don't know can be embarrassing and catch you unawares, particularly if you have an introverted personality. Britain in particular is not a culture where people expressively communicate with one another constantly; you can live on a street and know hardly any of your neighbours. Compare this with Tanzania, my dad's home country, where people leave their doors open because of the heat and strangers constantly greet one another.

I think cat-calling when happening by older men to younger girls is extremely inappropriate bordering on perverted; why a man in his thirties would desire a twelve or thirteen year old girl anyway is beyond me (ok, thanks evolution but some things have to be moved on from). But in general, assuming its happening from a man to a woman who is evidently not a young girl, I would consider cat-calling to be relatively harmless. When men holler at women on the street - as is usually the case - they're simply engaging in playful flirtation. It can be interpreted as irritating or flattering, but it tends not to lead to anything that could put a woman in a situation where she may be harmed.

When feminists argue about rape culture (which I don't believe we live in) they make the claim about the stepping stones that happen towards female rape. They argue that cat-calling is part of that, but I don't think that's the case - cat-calling is flirty and immature, and comes from a place of playfulness. Rape, on the other hand, comes from a place of violence, power and fear-mongering. Hence why I would say it is incorrect to say cat-calling is connected to rape, due to the difference in motives. More men are likely to cat-call than rape; cat-calling represents basic male flirtation, whereas rape represents a very sick and twisted mentality.

How does cat-calling personally make me feel? Quite honestly, if I'm in a good mood and dressed in something nice, I find it to be a compliment. A guy saying 'nice' or 'sexy' or 'hey darling' is not rude to me; I think it's flattering and it tends to make me smile and perhaps roll my eyes a little. I understand that not all women feel this way, but I don't find a guy checking out my appearance to be a terrible thing. I'll never see those guys again, and it's what, five seconds of my day? Not a big deal.

If I'm in a bad mood or wearing a giant coat and hoodie then it just annoys me. We give off energy waves/auras/vibes to people; being in a pleasant mood attracts others more than being grumpy and depressed does as we're naturally drawn to those that emit positivity.

So that's my take, feel free to agree or disagree. I just wonder if some make cat-calling out to be a bigger 'problem' than it is.

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