Unwanted male attention is often seen as a standard part of women’s life and harmless flattery, but this British woman says that she is never flattered by male attention in the street. She thinks it is just another mechanism enforcing male domination and is always harmful to society.
Men listen up, no matter what you think, cat calling, whistling, honking or leering at women in the street is not attractive. It is not funny. Never charming and is pretty much just sexual harassment. I can safely say that the majority of, if not all, women do not find being shouted or whistled at in the street flattering and it will get you nothing – unless you’re looking for a kick in the groin. At best it will piss us off and at worst make us feel shameful and disgusting, making us wonder where the nearest place we could buy a burka from is.
Men don’t understand what it’s like to be objectified. You think you like it when the random woman may leer at you, but you’re not really being objectified the way we are. You don’t live in the same social context. Men don’t have to live with the fear of sexual harassment or rape, something women are always told to be mindful of, like we can actually prevent it. We can’t. That’s up to you guys. I’ll give you an insight into what it’s really like. Some of the things I’ve personally had shouted at me, ranging from a more family friendly “Oi sexy” to vile use of the C word, basically making me feel like a massive walking vagina or pair of tits, and not in fact, a person. Isn’t there a better way to garner the attention of women than demeaning and mocking them?
Your behavior is an example of the ongoing, socially accepted oppression and objectification of women. While you may just find it a bit of fun and a joke, the way it can make a woman feel has real repercussions. We are told we live a free society where we have freedom of expression and the freedom to choose, be that your choice of job or your choice of clothes. But when you leer at, or whistle at a woman wearing a short skirt or tight top it makes them incredibly self-conscious and forces them to think they should wear something else to prevent it from happening again. Is that what you want? You want us to stop wearing attractive clothes? In that small act you are taking away our freedom to choose outfits simply because you can’t keep your eyes and thoughts to yourself. How is that much different than a Muslim telling his wife she must wear a burka? Spare me the argument that ‘Hey, we are guys it’s natural we can’t help it!’ You most definitely can. Women manage to. That right – Shocker! Women check out men just as much as men do, we just aren’t abusive in doing so. Big difference.
It is really time society took the continuous abuse hurled at women as a serious issue. The fact that people don’t recognize it as abuse when treat women like dogs to whistle at, just serves to perpetuate the idea that women are objects.
I do realise that not all men shout and leer at women in the street, but what worries me is the amount it is ignored as something trivial and accepted as a part of life. As a young girl I was told you have to be sensible and look out for yourself, wear what is appropriate. Not one of my brothers had the same talk. Why is it still accepted to expect that women will be objectified and we will have to learn to live with it? It is ridiculous and has to stop. It may seem a small and insignificant part of life, but it has abusive and oppressive connotations.
So folks, next time you see a good looking woman in the street, by all means have a sneaky peak or a smile, as us girls do, but bear in mind she is a whole lot more than a piece of attractive looking meat and until you stop treating her like a piece of meat instead of a human being, women will never be fully free, respected members of society.