Although the video itself was only two minutes long, the point was pretty clear.
Many women (the exact percentage varies, but available statistics estimate 90 percent to 99 percent) — no matter who they are, how they are dressed or what they look like — can hardly walk down a city street minding their own business, without being talked to or gawked at by complete strangers in an incredibly demeaning way.
This isn’t to say that all men catcall women on the street. However, the men that do it don’t understand why women usually ignore them or are sometimes offended by their “compliments.” They don’t understand why their actions are wholly rude and inappropriate.
For one thing, it is not at all flattering to be whistled at or to be the target of a crude remark. It’s embarrassing, alienating, dehumanizing, invasive and actually pretty scary.
People constantly tell women on the street to “smile more” or “take the compliment,” but how is hounding us going to do anything but make us feel uncomfortable?
Again, that’s not to say that men who catcall women are all “predators” or threatening individuals, but how else are we supposed to feel when someone we don’t know starts following or staring us down like they’ve never seen a woman before?
The motives of these kinds of actions can also be unclear. It’s also necessary, however, to acknowledge whether the other person is actually well-intentioned, complimenting us in a way that does not feel powerful, scary or controlling.
And, of course, that needs to be well-received on the woman’s behalf.
There are certain actions that more likely elicit a positive response. “Excuse me, I think you’re beautiful” has a much better chance of receiving a “thank you” or another positive acknowledgement than a lick of the lips or whistle does.
Unfortunately many people still do not understand the distinctions between catcalls and compliments and between harassment and a comment on a woman’s appearance.
It is completely dependent on to how the person receives the interaction.
But, it’s important for both men and women to understand their roles in these issues, and to realize that if someone’s “compliments,” are not received as such, they are most probably missing the mark completely.
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