Sunday, December 26, 2010

Catcalling Isn't Cool. Really.

A woman goes off on men who catcall.

Am I saying men should never talk to women in public? No, not at all.

There’s a huge difference between harassing a woman and trying to start a conversation. Here are some tips: talk to her, not at her. Treat her with respect: be aware of her personal space, ask her how she’s doing or what she’s reading instead of commenting on her body parts, look at her face instead of her chest. If she ignores you, drops eye contact, or walks away, back off. It wasn’t rude of you to approach her, but she’s not being rude if she doesn’t want to keep talking to you, especially if you initiated conversation while she was running an errand, waiting for the bus, or on her computer at a coffee shop.

Let’s say you’re not interested in having an actual conversation, but just want to let a woman know she’s beautiful. Go ahead, it’s a free country; just do it respectfully. Don’t be threatening, don’t make animal sounds, don’t follow her. Most women I know wouldn’t be offended if someone told her she was looking great or had gorgeous hair or a beautiful smile. But don’t expect the woman in question to feel the same way, and don’t act aggressive if she rejects your advances.

It seems somewhat amazing to me that men would still do stuff like this, but clearly it happens. The author talks about a lack of respect for women and that is clearly a big part of it, but I wonder how much of it is motivated by fear, as well. Men are intimidated by beautiful women. Whistling at a women walking by or making lewd comments is easier than approaching her and talking to her which could lead to rejection. No man likes that. By keeping the woman at a distance the man allows himself to fantasize that she finds him just as attractive and that he has a chance if he "really wanted to talk to her."

Not that this makes this kind of activity okay. I don't have any sons to teach to respect women, but I do have two daughters which means I need to teach them how to handle this sort of crap because unfortunately it seems inevitable that they will have to deal with it.

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