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Calling Out the Cat Callers

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theodysseyonline.com: A girl walking down the street confidently while being catcalled.

 

Picture this: you’re walking down the street with confidence in your pocket, you’re minding your own business, and suddenly you hear a whistle. You turn around and notice this sound is directed at you, more specifically at your body. Maybe it was a guy your age, or, even worse, double your age. How would you feel?

According to an article published in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, “Catcalling happens mostly to girls between the ages of 11 to 17. The largest study of its kind has shown that 84 percent of women, across 22 countries, are experiencing street harassment before the age of 17.” So, is it OK for men to comment or a girl’s body?

Many girls say that such comments made them feel, “attacked”, “uncomfortable”, “angry”, “disgusted” or “negative”. Junior Ismara Corea shared her experience with me: “As I was walking, a boy my age commented, ‘Oh I see you’ and continued with ‘How much for a night?’” She stated that she felt anger at that moment because in her words, “This kid, the nerve he has to tell me this.”

Some guys admit to catcalling. For example, sophomore Jason Dueñas states that he once told a girl, “Damn ***** you got a fat ***.”

However, senior Ernesto Muniga said, “Commenting is weird and creepy. Girls do not like it. It is rude, and it is something my mom did not raise me to do.”

Safety is a big concern when it comes to catcalling. The way the comments are made can be a bit alarming. An example of this would be what happened to a female freshman who chose to remain anonymous: “One time a guy in a white van followed me around the block because I was ignoring his calls. He stopped when I reached my friend’s house.” Situations like this are experienced by many girls simply because they do not want to give the stranger their attention.

Senior Adeline Sans tries to avoid situations where she must face, “boys that don’t really understand how to talk to women and respect them.” She prefers to stay within her group of friends and comfort zone.

At the same time, sophomore Yasmine Velverde said, “I don’t think that there’s a way to avoid it. There’s nothing you can do or say that will prevent someone from saying what’s on their mind. I can not change the way I dress, and if I dress a certain way, it should not provoke someone to say something disrespectful to me.”

Are females blowing this issue out of proportion? Senior Lucia Galeano states, “I don’t think that we’re overdramatizing this issue. From the male perspective, they don’t see it as bad because they were taught that way and that’s how they see other male figures in their life acting, but for women, we weren’t taught to say anything against it. Now all of a sudden, there’s a big movement in opposition to those types of things, and people are thinking that we are overreacting when in reality we are just voicing our opinions.”

So, to answer the question, no, it’s not OK to comment on a girl’s body. As Junior Karol Banegas said, “It is your body; no one needs to comment on it.”

Types of Street Harassment

-Leering

95% of female respondents were the target of leering or excessive staring at least once, and more than 68% reported being a target 26 times or more in their life.

-Honking and whistling

Nearly 95% of female respondents were honked at one or more times and 40% said they are honked at as frequently as monthly. Nearly 94% of female respondents were the target of whistling at least once and nearly 38% said it occurred at least monthly.

-Making vulgar gestures

Nearly 82% of female respondents were the target of a vulgar gesture at least once. About 20% said they had been a target at least 51 times.

-Saying sexually explicit comments

Nearly 81% of female respondents were the target of sexually explicit comments from an unknown man at least once. More than 41% have been the target at least 26 times in their lives.

-Following

75% percent of female respondents have been followed by an unknown stranger in public. More than 27% have been followed at least six times.

-Blocking path

About 62% of women say a man has purposely blocked their path at least once and 23% said this has happened at least six times.

-Assaulting

About 27% of women report being assaulted at least once in public by a stranger.

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About the Writer
Fernanda Hernandez, Staff Writer

Fernanda Hernandez  in Journalism 1

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