Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cat Calls

My friend and I were walking down the street in a nearby downtown area the other day when we both experienced our first "cat call." Throughout the day, we heard whistles, got stares, and received obscene gestures and comments. We were both wearing high-necked tee shirts, shorts, and sneakers. We were trying to enjoy a nice summer day. We were modestly dressed [not to mention kind of sweaty and gross] and we were by no means seeking out any attention whatsoever. 
We discussed how it must feel to receive this negative attention more often. There are girls who are used to it. They don't even notice it. They can walk by without a care in the world. My friend and I were were horribly offended. We talked about how wearing shorts could have called the attention, or maybe it was my crop top [with my stomach covered by high waisted shorts]. Maybe it was the way we walked or our young faces. Then we realized that it shouldn't matter how we looked. It was well over 90 degrees and we should be "allowed" to wear shorts without being harassed.
 My feminist mind was jumping around to why men are like this and why these things happen. I wondered how rude gestures and obscene name-calling can be so accepted in society. I thought about why society has accepted the fact that men have more "power" and why they have the ability to wander the streets and whistle at girls like dogs. Why they can disrespect independent young women as if it were the norm. Well, sadly, it is a social norm. And that makes me sad for the future of women everywhere. 
Which leads me to a call for action. Girls, take your stand. Be the independent, smart young ladies that you are. If you get whistled at, look back with a strong, "I'm too good for you" stare. You are not a dog. You are a human. Wear what you want, and never be scared. If you get yells from car windows or hand gestures from across the street, keep walking. You are a modern woman, and you have places to be and other [more important] matters to worry about. You have a dream to chase and an independent life to live. 

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