One young woman was killed in DC last year for refusing to respond to a male aggressor. Thanks to Hollaback, New York City is considering banning cat calling near school zones.
I know that some men honestly see flirting with female strangers on the street as innocent flattery. Not really guys. Walk in my shoes for a minute: today, I felt like a piece of meat walking past these guys. I walked fast and the feeling of being on exhibit lasted a few seconds. Weirdly, I almost felt lucky that a) nothing gross was said to me, and b) they didn't get nasty that I failed to acknowledged them with a smile or a thank you.
Here is the thing: it upset me deeply that on a glorious sunny Spring morning, I had to experience unwanted sexual advances from a group of strangers. That just ain't right.
Anyway you look at it, one thing is clear: cat calling, whistling, etc etc is street harassment. It's not cute. It doesn't feel good to be objectified. It feels unsafe. Some women, and I have experienced this with some female friends, are really afraid and even the sweetest compliments fill them with anxiety. Hollaback is a great international movement that is doing a lot of educating on the issue. Check em out. Or check out this fantastic piece in Clutch Magazine by Kimberly McLeod.
Now that warmer weather is here and we start peeling off layers of clothing and out come shorts, and summer dresses so do the nastier cat calling. And that sucks. I walk past a high school each morning and feel for those young girls getting all that lewd unwanted attention.
Bottom line: women of all ages should be able to walk the streets without having to feel like they have to shrivel up and be invisible because men need to tell them how they feel. We should be able to feel safe. Period. Punto.
One final note: for any male reading this, if ever in doubt about complimenting a complete stranger you find sexy, beautiful, fill-in-the-blank here, I have few words of advice: Keep the comments to yourself.