24 Sep 2018

My thoughts on catcalling and street harassment. Is chivalry dead?

Catcalling. I feel like this is a topic that is just not talked about enough, especially when women are dealing with it on a daily basis. Picture this - it’s 8.30am and you’re walking along the road to work (probably scrolling through Instagram), obviously there is loads of rush hour standstill traffic but there is also loads of men rolling down their windows and leering at you, shouting things like: 

Why I hate catcalling - Street Harassment needs to end

‘Oi oi darling’ ‘I bet you’re p***y is nice' (sorry to be crude, but this happened)  ‘FIT!!!’ 'Give us a smile luv' *Various car beeps* 

Like yes hun, roll down your car window and keep shouting at me because that’s a quality I am definitely looking for in a future husband… What angers me the most is that they are nearly more than always not alone. They’re in twos and threes or in groups having #bantz by making you feel uncomfortable and it is NOT A COMPLIMENT, as Sophie Milner also perfectly put it. Especially the ones who are shouting at you down from the top of buildings - what am I meant to do to? Climb up the walls and get your number? P.s I don’t want to smile, especially not at you. 

A bit worse than this, a couple of years ago I was wearing a dress during a heatwave on the tube (because that’s a normal thing to do when the Jubilee line is the same temperature as Hell) and some actual freak was purposely shoving his rolled up newspaper up my dress. I obviously couldn’t move much on a tube and I was too scared to tell him to back off - but now I wish I did. He subsequently held back to see where I was going and followed me to the next tube platform but I made sure I swiftly lost him after that. I wonder how many other girls he’s prodded with his Metro. *shudders*

Why I hate catcalling - Street Harassment needs to end

Unfortunately, lots of people like to play the ‘don’t wear such revealing outfits’ card to excuse this type of behaviour, but this is simply NOT the case. Even in winter when I was wearing trousers, boots, a massive coat and holding an umbrella which basically covered my whole face - I was still being catcalled. Also - I can wear exactly what I like thank you. I am angry that I would have immediately felt uncomfortable walking out in London on my own wearing a little dress just incase someone said something to me.

Even when I was shooting these images a few vans were rolling down their windows shouting at me. I’m literally just perching on a step sheltering from the rain, minding my own business and drinking my coffee, so plz leave me alone. France have actually taken a big step in this catcalling culture and have actually made it illegal and I can only hope the U.K. starts to do something more about this, because it’s becoming a joke now. I followed this account https://www.instagram.com/catcallsofnyc/ which consists of some appalling real life street harassment quotes. And it made me wonder how many women have had this happen and just not spoken about it because they think they should just accept it. No, you should not.

Why I hate catcalling - Street Harassment needs to end

Don’t get me wrong here I’m not playing the victim - I’m also not saying that no man should ever compliment a woman, I think chivalry goes a long way - but maybe that’s dead now. Before social media the only way you would probably meet someone was by being out and about and men would have had to be more chivalrous with their actions. They wouldn’t be able to Snapchat a random girl who sends strangers naked pics for fun on a Wednesday evening (cheers huns you aren’t doing the rest of us any favours) - they would have had to work for it. 

Saying this, once a man waited in his van for me (not as creepy as it sounds) as I was paying for my petrol and when I was walking back to my car he approached me and gave me his business card. He said something like ‘Hey, sorry but I literally couldn’t help but notice you, I would like to maybe take you for a drink this weekend, so yeah text me if you fancy it’ - I meannnnn v. sweet (unless of course he does this on the regs and 238 girls in Brighton have the same card). Anyway I was in a relationship at the time so of course I never messaged - *scrambles around bedroom for said business card*

Why I hate catcalling - Street Harassment needs to end

Maybe chivalry isn’t dead, maybe it is. But fml - like hell am I going marry one of those men who think it’s fun to make women feel uncomfortable in front of the ladzzzz. So if you’re a man, and want to shout degrading adjectives at women - please rethink your actions because it doesn’t actually make us feel good. Oh and if you're a women who thinks it is a compliment - you need to look up the word compliment in the dictionary. 

Lots of love, 

Em x

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