Have you ever experienced catcalling?
Walking by the street and there is someone there making weird noises to you, calling you or doing whatever that makes you uncomfortable. The immediate reaction of us is always walking faster, to avoid staying any second longer. This even freaks us out when it is at nightime, all we can do is run as fast as possible.
I just wonder why? Do the random boys or men on the street really think it is a good way to pick up girls or women? No, the answer is no. Girls and women will generally frighten instead feeling happy for your approach. Let me explain to you, catcalling is a form of harassment, usually entails a loud whistle or comment of a sexual nature made by a man or group of men to a passing woman. In some cases, catcalling involves honking car horns at passing women, flashing vulgar gestures, self exposure to a woman, and even inappropriate grabbing. (Meglio, 2019)
Nagel (2018) clearly stated that: “Anyone who thinks catcalling and wolf whistling should be considered just the tiniest bit flattering should reconsider their position. Catcalling is not flirtation, nor can it be equated with giving a compliment, and should never be confused with either.”
Catcalling is intended to demean; catcalling is about dominance and manipulating the power dynamics of patriarchy; catcalling is objectifying; catcalling is scary; catcalling is about power and control; catcalling is about group dynamics; catcalling is just plain rude. (Nagel, 2018).
My point is to clarify and educate people, especially our boys and men, it is not appropriate to catcall random people around the street. For girls and women, it is not right for facing such problems. However, I have realised that our current society is not dealing with this matter correctly. Most of the solution we think of is to ask girls and women to keep away from being alone in the street, avoid any interaction and just pretend nothing ever happens. The actual way is to educate boys and men not to perform in this way instead of requesting girls and women to be responsible in avoiding such situations.
Generally speaking, people still need to face reality, it is too far from reaching the ideal of what I have mentioned above. So when things happen, as girls and women can inform reliable families and friends, be alert when we walk alone and also notify relevant departments about the situation.
There are many ways of taking care of personal safety and yet the best is to prevent it from happening and the only way that we could do that is by enforcing the fact that catcalling IS a form of harassment.
The views, opinions and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of EMPOWER Malaysia.