Last week I was catcalled. It was on the minor side: “Hey, hun, why don’t you smile?”, but a catcall nonetheless. Now, I really wanted to spin around and go all feminist on the perp’s ass. “Look, asshole, women aren’t walking down the street so you can look at our pretty faces, you can go fuck yourself.” Or something of the like. So I turned on the spot to put him in his place.
Except he was a disabled man in a wheelchair. And I wasn’t sure what to do. “Alright, dumbfuck, you have no idea what it’s like to be part of a large group of oppressed people who are only just now making large strides in equality. Nevermind that disabled people are in the exact same situation. Sure, you have no legs, but do you know what it’s like to not have equal pay? Oh wait…you do? Fuck, man…”
So instead I muttered, “Uh, I guess I’ll think about it,” and hightailed put my headphones in. A friend of mine suggested I should have said, “That was uncalled for and normally I’d go all feminist on your ass, but I’m just going to walk away.” (It’s funny because he can’t. I’m a really horrible person.)
I was also street harassed by some foreign high school boys on a bus. “Aye, you are a-very pret-ty! I would-a fuck-a that-a!” I know they were high school boys because they were hanging out the windows of a yellow school bus. I know they were foreign because of their thick accents.
I never experienced street harassment on the west coast. Maybe it’s because I lived in a small town, maybe it’s because everyone on the west coast was substantially prettier than me, but it didn’t happen to me there. The opposite happened. Once, a homeless man called me an “uptight hippy bitch”, which is an oxymoron. Which I pointed out. That was a mistake, and a story to be told another day.
This comes as a surprise because I never considered myself attractive enough to be catcalled. Turns out, that was entirely arbitrary idea, because catcalling doesn’t make you feel attractive. There’s a great artist named Tatyana Fazlalizadeh whose campaign “Stop Telling Women to Smile” came to my school. It’s been amazing to see her artwork plastered around campus. I strongly suggest you check out the video on the front of her site.