Is Catcalling a Compliment?

Catcalling has been around forever, but more light needs to be shed on it.

Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Catcalling has been around forever, but more light needs to be shed on it.

Braelyn Trager, Reporter

What exactly is catcalling? Catcalling by google’s definition is to “make a whistle, shout, or comment of a sexual nature to a woman passing by.”

Catcalling is very common in big cities where people are constantly walking down the streets. Many remarks such as “C’mon sweetie, give me a smile!”, “I can show you a good time” and many more in that nature are said to women walking in a public area.

Girls are catcalled starting as early as before their 11th birthday. Most say they are first catcalled at ages 11-17.

One survey conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates found that women ages 18-64 in all areas experienced it. With rural areas hitting 90 percent, 88 percent in suburban areas, and 87 percent in urban areas.

Another study conducted by the University of Melbourne in Australia shows that catcalling is so severe that women are likely to experience it at least once every two days.

How can we, as a community, help change these numbers and make them less extreme? 

Many states have made a law against catcalling since its considered sexual harassment. For example, in Texas, it’s illegal for anyone to ‘intentionally or knowingly touch another person in a way that s/he knows that person will regard as offensive or provocative.’ However, in some states like Georgia, it isn’t.

However, are there other ways we can prevent catcalling? Yes! Spreading awareness about this topic and its impact on women can be an effective way to drop those numbers.

In another survey, it revealed that most men who catcall do it to flirt with women, in hopes that it will earn them a smile or that the woman will flirt in return. However, this is not the case whatsoever. It’s quite the opposite.

Women who are catcalled are disgusted by the comments which can have a huge impact on them and their health, mentally and physically. This is especially damaging to young girls and makes them fear for their safety. 

A recent ‘Ask Reddit’ thread posted online asked women who’ve been catcalled what their thoughts are on it. None of the women who responded to this found it to be a compliment. 

Looking at the short-term effects women have from being catcalled are feelings of anger, fear, and/or annoyance. Now if we take a look at the long-term effects it’s much more disappointing. 

Another site talking about catcalling, tells us that catcalling is linked to self-objectification. Which can make women “can make women feel shame and anxiety around their appearance”. These long-term effects are serious and more light needs to be shed on this topic.