Cat-calling not flattery; should be discouraged

Autumn Kunkel and Autumn Kunkel

Let me paint a picture for all the readers out there: A woman is walking alone, minding her own business and some [usually male] individual drives by and whistles/hoots/hollers some obscenity that woman most likely would rather not be subjected to.

She goes home, complains to a trusted friend or family member, who in return tells her to just “take the compliment.”

Unfortunately, this instance is something that is experienced far too often by most women of all ages, and that “reasonable” suggestion to take the street harassment as mere flattery is perhaps the most infuriating — and damaging — response to women’s complaints about the unwanted attention.

When men perform these actions, it’s not something females should feel good about.

It’s objectifying, and degrading and instead of telling women to take it all with a smile, there should be steps taken to discourage the disrespectful behavior.

My personal experience has prompted this article.

Too many times have I been subjected to some disgusting cat-calls in regards to my looks, and “compliments” paid to me by male strangers who apparently think that their opinion matters to me.

And too many times have I heard both males and females tell me that I just need to “take the compliment.”

Quite frankly, I’m fed up.

I have no problem if a nice, respectful male actually pays me a real compliment in a manner that doesn’t make me feel unsafe, but when males decide to drive by slowly and say something to me, it’s not only creepy, but it’s rude and degrading.

To me, this is not a compliment; rather, it’s yet another way to disrespect and objectify women.

When one tells a woman or girl that they are overreacting and should be happy about the occurrence, they are sending this awful message that says a few things, namely that a) women should be concerned with beauty and especially being aesthetically pleasing to men, b) things like this are going to happen to women simply because they are female, and there is nothing they can do about it and c) women are simply going to have to put up with the disrespect, even though it happens when they are merely going about their day-to-day lives. The damage is obvious; suggesting that women “take the compliment” is simply another way to discourage them from fighting against sexism.

Instead of encouraging women to accept that males will say whatever they want to them, whether it is respectful or not, perhaps we should take steps to change the culture that promotes the cat-call in the first place.

Ladies, if you’re feeling uncomfortable with the attention a male is giving you, tell them. For all you guys out there, if one of your buddies displays this unsavory behavior, discourage it.

It’s not OK that people think it’s acceptable for males to yell obscenities at women, especialy who are simply living their lives.

This attitude is detrimental, and does little in the fight for true equality among the sexes.

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