If you have boobs and feet, and you’ve ever used those feet to walk your boobs around in public, chances are you’ve been subject to catcalling, aka hollering, aka primitive-brained dick-bearers being too lazy to avail themselves of any of the hundreds of more respectful alternative means of engaging a woman in conversation.
Having found myself more often in the role of catcallee than catcaller, I’m not entirely clear on the Rules Of The Holla, but my general understanding is that to “successfully” catcall, you do the following:
- Shout as loud as you can. Picking a subject across the street, or on the sidewalk as you drive by, not only helps encourage you to project your voice in a way that alerts everyone in the vicinity to your unparalleled masculinity, it also diminishes the possibility that the object of your profane expulsion will, or even can, actually respond.
- A response is not necessary, nor is it especially desired. Catcalling is like verbally cumming on a girl’s face without first asking if it’s, like, cool with her.
- Smile really big and do something with your eyebrows to remind the girl that this is a compliment. A favor, really. She might be inclined to feel offended by your abrupt friendliness (“harassment” is such a harsh word.) It’s key to make sure your face is in full “smiley perv” mode so when she turns to look at you, all feelings of violation and outrage are replaced by flattered reassurance that you will, indeed, be jerking off to the memory of her later.
- When executed properly, screaming “nice ass!” from the passenger side of your best friend’s ride will make her feel like a goddamn queen. After all, looking sexually appealing for you, a stranger, is the sole reason why she got dressed and left the house today. Your catcalling is the only way she will know she was successful, so take your role very seriously.
Believe it or not, not all women swoon when they get hollered at. Most of us actually find it annoying, offensive, and often threatening. Unfortunately, combatting the catcall is a tricky thing; if you yell something back, you risk sending the message that you actually want to talk (and no, it doesn’t matter if you say something justifiably pissed off and vile; literally any response is considered consent in the feeble mind of a catcaller), but if you don’t say anything, then you feel like you should have, and basically it’s all pretty shitty.
Brooklyn-based artist Tatyan Falalizadeh decided to make an attempt at mitigating holleration before it happens via her project, Stop Telling Women To Smile. Starting last fall, Falalizadeh started putting up wheatpaste murals with drawn portraits of women above statements like “My Name Isn’t Baby”, “My Outfit is Not an Invitation”, “Women Are Not Outside For Your Entertainment”, and of course, “Stop Telling Women To Smile”.
The project has since expanded to include women began taking pictures of themselves holding whiteboards displaying similar anti-catcalling messages. All told, STWTS is a giant ball of white hot empowerment – and it doesn’t hurt that Falalizadeh is a ridiculously talented artist. Plus, sending succinct, impactful social messages via street art is chic as fuck.
I’m madly in love with the name of this project. To me, some dude telling me to “smile, beautiful” is infinitely worse than him screaming, “nice ass, toots!” (okay, I know no one says “toots” anymore, but they should.) When some fucking cavedouche throws out a comment about my body, I’m like, “Okay, clearly it’s not great that you’re objectifying me and feel entitled to intrude into my personal space with verbal verification that you’re being all rapey-minded about my body, but, to be fair, I do have an exceptional ass, and you’re obviously suffering from a mental deficit that renders you incapable of normal social interactions, so I’mma just let it slide.”
But when some shithead tells me to smile, it cuts to the core. It’s essentially is a guy saying, “Um, pardon me, ma’am, but I believe you’ve forgotten that your presence on earth, and on this sidewalk, is entirely for the purpose of my enjoyment, and that of my fellow menfolk. Your countenance presently conveys an emotion outside the preferred range for women, which should fall anywhere between ‘innocently content’ and ‘smolderingly DTF’. The fact that your face currently communicates some other type of feeling – indifference? Frustration? Exhaustion? I really don’t give a shit – is reminding me that you are a complex human, rather than just an object for my sexual and aesthetic enjoyment, and really, it’s fucking up the scenery. Please, if it’s not too much trouble, arrange your face into a more pleasing, pleased, and eager to please composition so that I no longer have to see an unflattering reminder of your humanity upon your visage.”
So anyway, fuck all that noise. And these wheatpastes are gorg’.