Why Catcalling Should Be Considered Sexual Harassment

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Written By : Monique Lapointe ~

It’s incredibly attractive when I am casually walking down the street and all of a sudden I hear a man hollering at me: “Hey Baby! You’re so sexy! Why don’t you come over here?”. How could anyone resist sexual harassment in broad daylight? Please, take my number!. 

In case you haven’t guessed it already, I’m talking about catcalling. And in case you haven’t sensed it, I’m being sarcastic when I say it’s attractive (so if there’s any serial catcallers reading this, you should read carefully). 

WHAT EXACTLY IS CATCALLING? 

According to www.urbandictionary.com , their definition of the word is

“TO WHISTLE OR YELL SOMETHING SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE TO A STRANGER, USUALLY IN PASSING.”

A few examples may include:

  • Screaming any foul language
  • Saying words like Babe, Baby, Princess
  • Referencing any physical attributes someone has in a sexual manner
  • Not leaving the person alone if she/he doesn’t want the attention.

WHAT IS NOT CATCALLING? 

IT IS POSSIBLE TO APPROACH A WOMEN/MAN PASSING BY WITHOUT CATCALLING. 

Most of us have been in situations where a man saw a woman walking by, nicely came up to them, asked a few questions about them, and then asked for their number. Even though sometimes even that can be annoying— especially when you’re busy or not interested— it’s still more flattering and respectful than just screaming something sexual from across the street. 

Catcallers, take note— this is how to speak to someone with respect. The fact that catcallers don’t do this shows their nature. They don’t really want to know you— they want to assert their power by making you look and feel small, just while walking past. 

I believe that someone kindly and respectfully approaching you on the street, curious to get to know you, isn’t catcalling in any sense. 

Examples of NON Catcalling : 

  • Being polite and striking up a normal, non-sexual conversation
  • Addressing someone in a non-aggressive manner
  • Being respectful if he/she wishes not to talk to you

MEN & WOMEN CAN BOTH BE CATCALLERS!

Earlier, when I checked the correct definition for catcalling on www.urbandictionary.com , their definition stated that “Often this is used by sexually frustrated males as a way of getting attention from females”. Which yes, it is more common to see a man catcalling a woman, but it happens to men, too. 

We have a responsibility to call out women who also catcall— as it can be just as humiliating for a man. 

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T CATCALL : 

Go to google.com and type in catcalling. Do you see what pops up? The minute you type that in, you can see in the suggested search: Street Harassment, with its definition. Then, if you look up the Google definition of harassment, it will tell you: Aggressive pressure or intimidation. 

YOU SHOULD NOT CATCALL BECAUSE IT IS A FORM OF HARASSMENT.

The dos and don’ts shouldn’t need explaining— however, if young boys are indoctrinated to believe that this type of behaviour is accepted, then they won’t know any better as adults. Hopefully with time, education, and real laws protecting women against street harassment, things will change. 

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