Natalie

I currently am a university rower and have several examples of everyday sexism from that but the first time I was told that catcalling was good was by my older, female cousin at a baseball game. I was probably 15 or 16 at the time, and I went to an all girls school which was an amazing place for me to be because it was empowering in a way no other experience has ever been. So I didn’t have that big of an issue until I was at a baseball game with my cousin and sister who are two years older than me. My cousin and I were walking back from getting food, and a man who was probably 20 years older than me checked my cousin and I out. I was grossed out but she said, “Oh he likes you.” And that was the first time that I ever experienced this and the first thing I was told was that it was good. It meant I was liked.

Then I got to college and joined our rowing team and was thrown into a world where I saw this every day. Just in the past few weeks I have had three specific occurrences. We were on a training trip and were staying in a rv park type resort area and just walked a little ways to our dock to launch. One afternoon, as usual, all the women’s team were walking over together and we had to stop and talk to some guy who was asking about our race. It was a normal experience, until we got over to our trailer and the men’s team walked over. One of them said that the same guy said to the men’s team “I’ll give you a head start on them.” Another time I was carrying oars to our normal practice dock and these guys drove by and whistled out their window. The men also joke about all sorts of things like whose fault rape is and its very uncomfortable for me because they don’t understand what its like to constantly be looking behind your back when you are walking anywhere.

I think this is a great website because I have never felt like I have been allowed to complain about anything like this. I can usually commiserate with any women around me, but its abnormal to try to do anything about it.