Cat Calling: objectification or compliment?

Emma-Jane discusses how cat calling does more harm than good

How many times have you felt guilty for complaining about being cat called because you know a retort will be ‘It’s a compliment! Stop moaning’? But is it really a compliment or is it simply objectification?

Personally, I think it can be both. I know what you’re thinking, I’m a cop out but let me try and explain why…

“I feel instantly uncomfortable and speed up my walk”

When I walk down the street and receive a cat call, I feel instantly uncomfortable and speed up my walk. I feel nervous that they will try and follow me, or whether it will escalate to assault. I don’t feel it is a compliment or done to make me feel good because the ‘cat-caller’ rarely seems to care about a reaction. Instead it seems simply for themselves, to gain ‘lad’ points or whatever. I’m sure a lot of girls feel the same way as me.

Maybe this still does not deny the fact that cat calling is objectification. However, with objectification, to me, comes negative connotations, which is the last thing we imply from a compliment. Therefore, I have come to accept that cat calling, despite potentially objectifying individuals, can be regarded as a compliment by many.

Some friends I have asked said they feel being cat-called is simply a compliment, just like any other comment made on one’s appearance is taken to be. Studies also show that some women have gone as far to say that not being cat-called or wolf whistled whilst walking through town would lead them to think they’re not looking good. To me, this makes absolutely no sense but I cannot deny the feeling these individuals get when receiving a cat call just like they cannot invalidate mine.

“You might still be debating whether or not the shouting or beeping from the car is going to lure in ‘the one’”

Now, I know this doesn’t help those guys reading this hoping for an answer to the cat-calling debate once and for all. You might still be debating whether or not the shouting or beeping from the car is going to lure in ‘the one’.

And yes, I apologise that I have not made this clear cut but what I can make clear is this:

I don’t foresee any future romances sprouting from a cat-call. For girls like me who feel extremely uncomfortable and distressed by cat calling, I don’t think it’s worth it.

“opt for a smile instead, or maybe just stick to Tinder”

So, next time you debate shouting across the road something derogatory, I reckon you should opt for a smile instead, or maybe just stick to Tinder.

Emma-Jane Walker

Featured image courtesy of Melinda Seckington via Flickr.  No changes were made to this image. Image license found here.

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