It’s 2018, and I think it has been collectively decided on (by almost everyone) that catcalling is never a good thing to do. In fact, it is very, very bad thing to do, as it causes those who are being catcalled to feel demeaned and objectified, as though their worth as a human is made nonexistent due to their gender or appearance. Despite this, catcalling still happens all the time. There are many “creative” ways catcallers approach their craft and it can be hard to understand just why they do this. So, if you happen to encounter a catcaller, here are six types that the catcaller may fall under.
- The Well-Intentioned Catcaller
This catcaller is the only one I will offer an awkward smile or mumbly “thank you” instead of simply ignoring them or flipping them off. This person may say something along the lines of “You’re beautiful” or “You’re a pretty young lady” while you’re walking down the street. I can tell this particular type of catcall is coming from a good (but still very misguided) place. I am sure they think they are paying a compliment or brightening our day, but it still tends to make those who are being catcalled uncomfortable or even a little anxious that this person will approach them.
- The Advice Giver
This catcaller is less offensive than it it is simply annoying. I’ll be walking along the street, maybe lost in thought or maybe stressed about something, and I’ll be told to “Smile” or “Don’t look so sad.” This kind of catcall really makes my blood boil, and want to yell something along the lines of You don’t know my life! It’s irritating being told what to do by a complete stranger. Why should I smile? So you can feel better about the world? I think I’ll pass. I typically reward their advice with a strong, non-smiling glare.
- The Noise Makers
A personal least favourite of mine. The annoyance with these types of catcallers is less about the words they use, and more about how loud they are. These are the catcallers that honk their horns, whistle, and scream all at once (often from a car) as you walk down the street. I find this particular breed typically travel in groups. I once had a whole car of them inch through traffic as I walked along the sidewalk for a few blocks, hollering the entire time. I find the cold shoulder works best as a defense with this group, as all they want in life is to be noticed. Just look straight ahead. It will pain them immensely!
- The Transformers
This type of catcaller, while arguably one of the worst on this list, is honestly starting to get a little funny to me. This is the catcaller that begins as “well-intentioned” by saying something unwanted but sweet at first. However, when they don’t receive the response they want, they turn it around and insult you. A former TA of mine once told me of a time when a man on the street said to her “You’re gorgeous, can I get your number?” and she responded with a polite no thank you. He then called her fat, among other unmentionable names, and said he wouldn’t want her anyways. Excuse me, sir, but yes you would! While this type of catcaller is definitely scary due to the quickness with which they change their tune, the childishness nature with which they handle rejection is also quite amusing to me! That said, please stop.
- The White Knights
Though maybe not falling under the category of “catcaller,” these types of people will approach you on the street without warning, often times offering to walk you home or help you get to where you’re going. Now, if you’re actually lost and you agree to their help, this is great! However, if that’s not the case and you tell them no, they will often insist and walk alongside you for a while. These types of catcallers need to learn that no means no, and that it’s pretty easy to see through their offer of help to their true selfish cause.
- The Ones Who Need to Take an Etiquette (Or Gender Studies) Course ASAP
I almost don’t want to give these ones an entire paragraph, but these are the ones who will immediately insult, sexualize, or say derogatory things to you from the get-go. They have no regard for human worth. Flipping these types of people off is an appropriate response. If anyone who falls under this category is by some miracle reading this: HEY, PLEASE STOP.
Overall, I think we all know by now that catcalling is a practice that has nothing to do with the victims, and everything to do with the perpetrators. If someone is catcalling you, and you feel a little less like a human because of it, remember that it’s them that needs to gain some humanity, not you.
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