COMMENTARY: Catcalling needs to stop
By Chelsea Fisher
gerund or present participle: catcalling
- make a whistle, shout, or comment of a sexual nature to a woman passing by.”They were fired for catcalling at women.”
Catcalling is when a person, usually a man, calls obscene comments towards someone else, usually a woman, to make them feel uncomfortable and objectified. Catcalling can be communicated through gestures, obscene comments, whistling and other noises. Yelling from across the street, slurs about race and sexuality, or following someone around are some typical ways to catcall. This act can and has escalated to more serious situations such as robberies, assaults, rapes, and murders. Just like sexual assault and domestic violence, men can be victims, but the majority are women.
Catcalling is NOT: wanted, a compliment, joking between friends.
iHollaback.org is a nonprofit movement to end street harassment.
“According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) ‘non-contact unwanted sexual experiences,’ including street harassment, are the most prevalent form of sexual violence for both men and women in the United States,” from the iHollaback.org website. “Internationally, studies show that between 70-99% of women (statistic www.stopstreetharassment.org) experience street harassment at some point during their lives. Comments from ‘You’d look good on me’ to groping, flashing and assault are a daily, global reality for women and LGBTQI individuals, but street harassment is rarely reported, and culturally accepted as ‘the price you pay’ for being a woman.”
Catcalling can occur in school, on the streets, and in public buildings. Forty percent of the girls interviewed at the Perrysburg High School said they recently had experienced catcalling. There seemed to be more upperclassmen that admitted to being catcalled.
“Please don’t [catcall], that’d be nice,” freshman Sophia Tate said.
Many people confuse catcalling with flirtation or compliments. They are very different.
Flirting is Can I buy you a coffee? Whereas catcalling is hanging out of a car window yelling Nice legs, sweetheart! Flirting is You look nice tonight. Catcalling is whistling at a complete stranger as they walk down the street. Catcalling is Hey, baby, give me a smile. Flirtation is often welcomed. Catcalling is not.
This confusion needs to stop.
“I think that it is very disrespectful to do that to a woman,” freshman Carlos Rodriguez said. “They are being treated more as objects rather than people.”