“In any village, town or city worldwide, females face perpetual commentary from men in the street, ranging from seemingly complimentary comments such as ‘you’re pretty’, to more obvious sexually objective ones as ‘I’d tap that’ , down to such commands as ‘come with me, sexy!’. Of course, with any gender-related issue, this problem works both ways: in no way am I trying to argue that men are free from the prying eyes and advances of women in day-to-day life, too. However, the real problem at heart is that ultimately, sexual comments from males to females more often than not are felt with a level of physical threat, being that at any given moment, a man (generally speaking) can choose to exert his physical power over a woman. The perpetrator is often unable to notice that what he perceives to be a ‘harmless’ comment of admiration can easily be felt as an abusive threat. For what reason must I be forced to ‘ignore’ or ‘endure’ these comments from strangers who have no regard for my personhood, other than the fact that my biological sex is female?

“The reason is that ultimately, in standing up for myself, I am fully aware that I may be subjected to abuse: whether it be ‘frigid bitch!’, ‘stuck-up whore!’, or something considerably worse. To me, catcalling is an issue that lies on the same spectrum as violence against women, which no woman should ever feel that she should be forced to endure. Of course, the majority of these males may not have sinister intent: but as strangers, how are women supposed to be able to distinguish between who is making harmless comments, and who is making abusive threats?”

Photo credit: Ming Au
Editing: Ming Au

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