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An Open Letter to Men Who Catcall

Dear Sir, 

 

You don't know me, how could you. I am just one of the 3.7 billion women in the world. I am a mere speck in ebbs and flows of the Earth. But I am here to take issue with an action you seem to believe is okay. Catcalling. The act of catcalling has become alarmingly prevalent in the lives of women all around the world, and honestly, it straight up sucks. 

 

The first time I was catcalled I was twelve years old. I was standing by my mother's car in the parking lot of our local CVS Pharmacy. It was a scorching summer day, and like most other children, I was outfitted in shorts and a t-shirt. Behind me, I heard crude whistles. Instinctively, I turned around to see what the commotion was. That's when I saw the men, over twice my age, looking me up and down. My stomach tied into knots. I felt myself getting into the car as fast as I could. From then on, I became very cautious of how I was portraying myself. I felt this attention from men was my fault. I found myself gravitating towards clothing that concealed my body. It does not matter that I looked older. It does not matter that I had matured early. It made me uncomfortable, and it was unwanted. 

 

Later in my teens, I developed severe body image issues. I was uncomfortable in my looks, and my being. Now I'm not going to make the statement that this insecurity was caused by catcalling, because that's simply not true. However, the first time I ever remember feeling insecure about my body was when I was being catcalled. Catcalling is almost a gateway drug of insecurity. It leaves you feeling uncomfortable, and is a seed for other feelings of discomfort to grow. 

 

Now I've heard the argument many times, especially from the men in my life, that I should take it as a compliment. But here's the thing: I shouldn't have to. Notice how I said this opinion often comes from men? Yeah well that's because men haven't experienced it. Last time I checked, being over-sexualized without your consent at a young age, or at any age for that matter, is not a compliment.

 

By catcalling, you are indirectly associating yourself with rape culture. Take that in for a second. Let me get this straight, I'm not calling you a rapist. I am saying that by objectifying women in such a manner you are perpetuating the culture that leads one person to believe they have the right to the body of another. If other young men see you treating women this way, it gives them the idea that this is not only okay, but normal. You are setting a horrible example for your sons, nephews, grandsons, etc.

 

Next time you think about catcalling I want you to imagine your mother is right beside you. Would you still follow through with this action? Would she be proud of the choices you are making? Next time you think about catcalling I want you to imagine that girl is your sister, or your daughter. Would you still make this choice? I would like to entreat you to change your ways.

 

I don't want to attack you, I just want to inform you. I want to plead with you to change your ways, because I know you don't mean any harm. This is a culture that can change, and I truly believe it will, but it requires people like you to take the first step.

 

Sincerely, 

One of the 3.7 billion women hoping for a change

 

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