Hey Girl, Hey: Cat Call Culture

So I wrote what has become this post a few weeks ago– more as a rant, on the train headed home one night. But after some things today, I decided to post it.

What prompted this you may ask? Well today I decided to dress up, as Wednesday is my Friday. I worn a dress that would be totally school appropriate- skirt to my knees, thick strapped, fully lined- and yet I got hollered at not once… Not twice… But 3 damn times!! (And not by the type I would appreciate it from). It upset me a bit- I didn’t dress this way to show off or impress anyone. I put on this outfit because it made me feel good and that makes me happy.

But instead I got to see and experience a side of our culture that pisses me off- why do men feel it’s OK to stare and call at women?

So, that brings me to the material I wrote a while ago and now feel I must post… It’s a comment on our culture, femininity, stereotypes, and boundaries.

” Rewind to late that morning. Picture me; hot, sweaty, and red in the face. Clad in sports bra, black tank-top, purple and black Lulu shorts, and running shoes. Clearly just released from an intense work out… Not making a conscious effort to show off or attract attention. And someone- some man- on the street corner decides it’s appropriate to whistle, holler, and stare at me as I make my way across the street to the train to go home– and make myself somewhat presentable for someone who actually matters… Someone I would spend the time to look decent or would care if they noticed.

Or how about this:: flashback to just a few hours ago (that night)– I’m happily settled on the idea of staying in my apartment, turning in early, and waking early for work… When the young, good looking, 23 year old lady in me decides it would be a little fun to go out and socialize- with friends and maybe a few drinks… (Isn’t that what people do on a Friday night? And make it look fun??) Not realizing it would turn into a late-night, “hit on the ladies at the bar” event. And me sitting in the train (thank goodness gracious the 1 train was running tonight), alone at 2:00 am.

Being an in shape, single woman (although the single part hardly matters) in New York City, I have come to realize what a male centered culture I’m living in. How much women, so often without even trying, come off as sexual, troublesome, and “asking for” attention.

OK, so yes I wore a dress- a non revealing dress- mind you. What makes you think it’s ok to holler at me on the street? Do you think I wore this for anyone other then myself? The answer is NO.

Or what makes you think it’s proper to stare at me at the gym. I know I have a 6-pack and triceps to kill for– but that’s for no one but myself. I work out for other reasons then to have strange men look at me– yet they seem to think it’s all for them.

How do you win? As a woman who is attractive, independent, focused and interested in different things then attention from strangers?? In a culture where “Cat Calling” on the street, staring on the train, and constantly being hit on is common place, what can you do?

Some ladies work it- seeking and soaking up attention by revealing ever so much cleavage, or wearing that very short skirt. They know how to steer the conversation at a bar in their favor and get drinks on someone else’s tab. Or have the spot light on them but no one touches. They have confidence on a different level… Or do they have less self confidence… So attention from strangers fixes that craving?
Me, I don’t need to hear everyday that I’m beautiful or strong or attractive (although it’s nice to hear from someone who matters to me and who’s opinion and eyes I value). I know I am and I have my own motivations (as jaded as they may be at times). In fact, I get infuriated when men think they can come up to me at a bar and out their arm around me. Buddy, you don’t know me and I’m not afraid to slug you one in the face… Maybe fracture your noise while I’m at it. What makes anyone think that’s OK to do? And why should any woman let that happen. You don’t NEED validation from a man- physically or emotionally- to be beautiful, strong, and amazing.

However, it seems we do- at times, in places- live in a culture where a woman is seen for her body and little else. And where so we go from there? Do we give in and fall into it? Into pleasing others- men- and settle for being beckoned like an animal or have comments made to us under a mans breath as they pass us on the street. I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever be able to do or really get used too. ”

Ok readers- what social comments or stories or experiences do you have to tell? What do you think is ok? Or not.

Comment, share, like, follow!

Love always, Christiane

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