I have recently turned 18 years old, but this is a problem I’ve experienced for the past 2 years. It is occasional, but still bothers me. I walk to and from sixth form everyday; my road always has at least one house under construction on it. Since I’m a sixth former, I don’t wear a uniform, just smart office-like clothes, basically I don’t look like a school girl, but I am. Walking down the street, I frequently get wolf whistled at by the builders (ages ranging from about 25-45 years) or them saying ‘hey gorgeous’ or something to that effect. I’m just innocently going to get an education, I don’t need to be worried about whether or not what I’m wearing is provocative as I leave my house each morning. This has been going on since I was 16; I’m still a child. It’s wrong.
Almost daily in London, men yell “compliments” at me that feel aggressive and demeaning. I heard a comedian once explain my reaction to these instances perfectly. She said something along the lines of, “When men go out, they don’t have to think about the fact that they have a body. Women, on the other hand, are forced to remember that they have a body and feel conscious of this at all times, especially when comments like this are hurled at them. It causes a strange, uncomfortable extra layer of awareness.” I always say something back, and I am always made fun of, like I’m just a silly woman.
São Paulo, Brasil. Pre carnival Friday: I left work and changed into shorts and put on a gorgeous pear+flower carnivally tiara. I parked my car on a street and walked a few blocks to the manicure parlor. That is right! I put on such a carnivally tiara only to go get a manicure! It is carnival, I wanted to play. As I was crosing a major avenue, a guy inside a moving car yelled “hey pussy cat”! And drove by. At age 38, going through a crisis feeling fat, old and ugly, for a fraction of second I almost liked the “compliment”. Almost. At age 38 I have learned not to take crumbs for a compliment. That was not a compliment. That was harassment. Verbal harassment. After that first fraction of second I actually felt humiliated, ashamed and invaded. Compliment is when a person looks at you and says that he/she liked your look. Not while passing by, not anonimously. For a compliment to exist, it is necessary to have existed some kind of permission for the approach. I did not leave work wearing shorts and that tiarar to be subject of a stranger’s comments from a car passing by. Yes I was playing. Intending to cause admired looks, smiling glances, a few laughs from my girl friend who met me at the parlor “girl you are crazy”! The unexpected. That was not a permission for strangers to think they have the liberty to approach me like that. I couldn’t help think about the sexism inherent to carnival, the objectification of women. That story of blaming the victim “you left wearing that, what did you expect?” which becomes exacerbated this time in Brasil. Other women have had it worse this carnival, that is for sure. However, the root of the behaviour – the catcalling and the beating or raping – is the same: it is the belief that women are there at the disposition of men, for them to say things to, use, to touch, grab and have.
Just got cat-called by some builders while walking past on my way to work in central London. I am four months pregnant and was visibly wearing a ‘Baby on Board’ badge. I’m already feeling vulnerable and hormonal, this made me want to go home and cry.
I got cat-called by a driver this morning. I was so furious that I wished I kicked his ass & made some sneaky karate moves.
Walking along Wokingham high street this evening after meeting friends for dinner. Walking by myself, back to my car. Am currently 8mths pregnant and a bloke walks past me, walking that bit too close and comments to me ‘nice dress’. 8mths pregnant and apparently cat-calling is still ok! I know it’s not OK in any circumstances but felt particularly vulnerable given my heavily pregnant state.
It was finals week and I had spent the whole day studying for my history exam. I hadn’t showered, my hair was a bit raggedy, but I really wanted to go out to get something to eat and bring it back to my dorm room. I ended up buying McDonald’s, which was down the street from my dorm, and on my way back I heard this loud booming car zip out of the parking lot. Across the street was this dainty girl in a sun dress of sorts just minding her own business. The obnoxious car then pulled out of the lot and rolled down the window. Two guys were in the front seats and one of them looked over at her and yelled “Damn, you gorgeous, girl!” She glanced back, scoffs, and then turns back around. But then the two guys drive past me, apparently disgusted with me in my PJs and un-showered, raggedy hair, and yelled “Damn, you NOT gorgeous!” The two of them laugh and zip away, leaving a stressed out, bedhead-looking girl feeling like the scum of the earth.
My boobs came in when I was 12 and the things I’ve been through as a result make me worry for my little sister. I’ve been cat called, followed, grabbed, groped, assaulted almost constantly- Im talking daily- for years by hundreds of men. Im 18 now and terrified of most men, Its so hard not to hate them, its shameful that I have to fight hating them. Last week I was dragged into an alley on my way home from work (6pm) and I ran away, this isnt unusual and Its got to a point where I dont bother reporting it- dont want to make a fuss. I’m scared that one day I wont escape though…my family would be heartbroken
I was 15 years old and walking down the street with a friend (were both girls) her grandmother lived about 3 mintues from my house so we were going there to pick up some money her monther had left for her. It was probably around 9 or 10 so it was pretty dark out and as we were walking out of no where this guy comes and said “Hey ladies why you look so scared I ain’t gonna bite that is unless you want me to” He was a fully grown man and he thought it was ok to say this to two 15? I’ll never understand that and the worst part is every single time I’ve every walked down the street someone has said shit like this to me. Though usally it’s more graphic.