Your name is not Baby. Sweetie. Ma. Darling. Babe. Shorty. Pretty thing. Princess. Sexy. Hottest little thing. Last time I checked we were given a name, a real name. Not one that you get called down street for some guy to get your attention.
It’s not okay for them to shout out to you with “nice ass!” or “Damn ma…” or “Look at them boobs!” or “Tight ass body,” or “Great rack,” or “Pretty face,” or “Nice legs,” or “That body tho,” and my least favorite, the most objectifying one: “Damn girl the things I would do to you.”
The things I’ve heard from guys who are walking down the street say have been disgusting. It’s the look in their eyes that is sick. The way they lick their lips as they rack their sleazy eyes up and down my body that gets to me the most. It’s so beyond creepy and pervy in all the worst ways.
They’re men who have come into places I’ve worked and asked me disgusting questions. There have been guys who would know my shift and somehow always know when to make themselves seen. I’ve been followed down my own street by men I’ve seen a hundred times since I was little. There was a guy who couldn’t tell the difference between me and my friend in our work uniform and would say nasty things to both of us because he couldn’t tell which one was me.
I’ve tried it all in order to not get noticed. Hats, coats, different clothes. Nothing works. Nothing stops these nasty comments. It doesn’t matter if I’m working. Doesn’t matter if I have headphones in. Doesn’t matter where I am or what time of the day. There is always some guy ready to say something.
I’ve heard so many nasty things from men. But the worst ones are the ones that go beyond that. It’s the group of four or five men who block my way to stare me down as I’m walking home from my night class. The ones who have grabbed my arm to get my attention. They guys on the subways who stand too close. The guy in the elevator who was getting closer and closer to the point you realize this is real, it’s scary, and I need to get the hell out of here.
Some girls love the catcalling. They love the attention in the street they receive from guys. I get that it’s nice to get attention. All girls want that, but not in that way. It’s wrong. Catcalling is not appealing. It’s scary. What if it doesn’t stop at the catcalling? What then? I know ignoring these catcalls don’t always work. I’ve been called a bitch, an ungrateful ho, a stuck up slut all for ignoring these guys and their nasty words.
I’ve thought at times that I’ve gotten lucky in many different situations and one day I won’t be so lucky. I always try to play it off on the outside, but deep down I know I can’t take any of those men if something were to happen. There’s been too many times that I’ve been in situations where I’ve needed to think well what if. What if I can’t get away fast enough? What if there’s no way out? What if there’s no one around? What if it really does go too far?
I’ve learned when not to get in the elevator. I’ve learned to trust my gut around certain people. I learned to look them right in the eyes, not to fidget, stand my ground and always be aware of a way out.
I’ve been lucky so far and I count my blessings that I have. But I know girls who haven’t. I’ve heard stories from close friends of mines who haven’t been so lucky. Not everyone makes it out untouched.
Catcalling is only a gateway to other issues. It opens the door for other things to take place. I get it starts as a way to compliment a girl for many of these guys. But what they don’t seem to realize is that girls don’t like it. These guys observe and feel that it’s okay to comment on the female body. Nowadays everyone seems to have a say in the way a woman’s body looks. Since when did it become a thing to allow the world to comment on women’s bodies and rate it on some personal preference scale? We need to not encourage these guys. Wear whatever you want to wear but when they say something don’t act like it’s okay. Say thank you, but walk away. Acknowledge but don’t entertain. And if need be, run like hell.
You’re more than just your body. You’re not the names they call you. Nobody is! Catcalling is not a complaint or an empowering confidence booster; it’s harassment that can lead to deadly situations.