Why Men Catcall

For today’s Man Up Monday, Carlos Andrés Gómez challenges men to rise up against the street harassment so many of us have become desensitized to.

Before I say anything, let me say this – I have been both a willing and reluctant participant in the many heavy-handed male behaviors that define the gender performance of being a man. For example, I’ve puffed out my chest and used degrading words and tried, on numerous occasions, to be the alpha male in the room.  The aforementioned happens a lot less frequently than it did when I was younger, but now and again, I’ll catch myself acting like the machismo robot I have worked hard to unlearn.  All of that being said, I cannot help but ask myself – why do guys catcall women?

You know what I mean by catcalling, right? It can be vulgar gestures or comments about a woman’s body, perverse pickup lines, inappropriate grabbing, whistling or moaning, beeping your horn and stopping your car to ogle a stranger minding her own business. Being a guy, you would think I would have a more informed personal insight on this topic… but I don’t. The desire to catcall is one of those things that has forever perplexed me. I’m familiar with the different theories—it’s a competition-fueled performance of masculinity (which is why catcallers will often be in a group of men), a man wants to assert his power over a woman, a guy wants to get any kind of attention (whether positive or negative) from a woman he deems “out of his league” (or beyond his social status), or he is simply grossly misinformed about how to communicate with the opposite sex.

I’ve spent most of my life in U.S. cities, of which most of the last decade has been spent in New York, and I have never once seen a woman respond positively to being catcalled.  And, mind you, this is from a sample of literally thousands of occurrences, which makes me think that catcallers neither want nor care about a positive response from the victims of their harassment. Sure, countless times I’ve seen a woman flash that uncomfortable, forced smile that seems to clearly communicate, “Okay, asshole, please stay away from me,” but I’ve never seen a woman turn around and go, “Oh, you like my tits? Thank you so much. Here’s my number.”

I was talking with my partner a few months ago, who was in the midst of lamenting the arrival of warm weather. My immediate reaction: “Who hates spring?!”—which for me connotes sunshine, picnics, basketball, and outdoor concerts. And she responded, “I don’t hate spring, I just hate the harassing guys who are all outside now.

“Like guys on our street?” I asked.

“Well, yeah. There’s this old guy at the corner who always says gross stuff to me,” she said

“What?! Why haven’t you told me? Where does he live?” I was incensed. Of course, my immediate response was to go find this dude and confront him… after I had shamed my partner for not informing me of another (of countless) examples of street harassment.

“Baby, relax. It’s not a big deal. It happens all the time. It’s just the way it is,” and she got up to get a glass of water.

Guys – can we talk for a second?  How is this normal? This is a big deal. Over the summer, I was talking with my fifteen year-old little sister and she told me that thirty and forty-year old guys harass and catcall her constantly.

We have to do better than this. I have to do better than this. I can think of multiple examples of men harassing or catcalling women, but rarely have I intervened to say something. On a few occasions I have, but overwhelmingly, I’ve remained silent. Usually I’ll justify it as, Carlos, chill out. It’s 11:30pm on a random street corner in Brooklyn. Bigger picture.

And, sure, speaking up late at night on some dark street corner might be a bad move, but there’ve been plenty of other opportunities where I didn’t speak up and the risk to my life or safety was relatively low. What’s most infuriating is that I continue to hear endless stories from my partner and female friends about how they’ve been catcalled, but, of course, it always seems to happen while they are alone. No one is catcalling my partner while we’re walking down the street holding hands. But the minute she leaves the apartment by herself, it starts up again.

This conversation is not a new one, as women have been having it and already spearheaded movements to combat catcalling and street harassment (like Hollaback! and Stop Street Harassment), but now I want to engage men. There are a lot of passionate responders here on The Good Men Project. I believe that to create meaningful, lasting change in this world the whole community must be actively involved in the process of brainstorming and then creating a solution to a problem.  I am tired of my partner and my little sister and my female friends and women in general being forced to walk around afraid and embarrassed and ashamed and uncomfortable. I am tired of harassing men creating an abusive dynamic that undermines basic social etiquette and human respect.

I think a lot of these guys might not even realize how damaging their catcalling can be. Or the bystanders, like me, have become so desensitized to the destructive effects of catcalling that they’ve fooled themselves into viewing it as an unchangeable and benign reality of city life. Or, like me, you’re a guy whose male privilege has insulated him from realizing how widespread and demeaning this harassment continues to be. I am making an oath, right now, to start speaking out and speaking up against catcalling and street harassment (assuming my life and well-being are not risked by that advocacy).

I am now appealing to this online community. I’d like this week’s piece to be a launching pad for a public forum on catcalling and street harassment. My questions for you, the reader, are:

Why do men catcall women?

What can we do to stop it?

Photo of harassment courtesy of Shutterstock
About Carlos Andrés Gómez

Carlos Andrés Gómez is an award-winning poet, actor, and writer from New York City. A former social worker and public school teacher, he costarred in Spike Lee’s #1 movie “Inside Man” with Denzel Washington and appeared in the sixth season of HBO’s “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.” His first book, the coming-of-age memoir “Man Up: Cracking the Code of Modern Manhood,”is available now from Gotham Books, an imprint of Penguin. For more on the book or to keep up with Carlos' blogging, please visit his website: http://www.CarlosLive.com/ or follow him on Twitter@CarlosAGlive.

Comments

  1. John Anderson says:

    I remember mentioning in my 40+ years that I only remember witnessing street harassment of women one time when I was walking with a female friend who just hot her hair done and some guy yells out hey gorgeous you with the nice hair or something like that. I turned towards him started smoothening my hair and said oh thank you. He had this shocked look. My friend started laughing her ass off and said I think he was talking to me.

    I’ve heard many women say this happens constantly. That leads me to believe that I just don’t recognize it when I see it or just considered it unworthy of memory. On the other hand I’ve been harassed by women about 6 to 12 times during my lifetime and can remember almost each time. I also remember the time it was directed at my friend. Unless it’s directed at me or someone I care about, I guess my natural inclination is to put it in the not my problem file.

    I know that one of the problem is that because I’ve been harassed by women, I just assumed that they experienced harassment the same way I did. Granted there were at least three times that I was physically touched (what I can recall at the moment) most of the times I would just waive off a comment and walk away. But I’ve heard stories of women being followed, cursed, etc. as well as being grabbed. Where I experienced harassment once a year or 18 months, women experience it once a day or week. I doubt I’ll be catcalled anymore, but I hear there’s no expiration date for women concerning this.

    The second problem I have is that I’ve had martial arts training. You tend to walk away from fights not get into confrontations. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve witnessed a woman being beaten or raped. There was a time when we knew that a friend was beating his girlfriend, but he wasn’t doing it in front of us. We stopped it by having one of us stay with her the rest of the night, but I’m coming to think that was a half measure, a compromise, and wasn’t the best approach. There was also the time I heard my cousin was beaten and exacted revenge after the fact also not the wisest approach. I doubt very much that I would remain passive if witnessing a rape, but my mind has to equate a catcall with an immanent threat and I don’t know how to do that. I’d have to unlearn a lot of the things that I was taught not just by society, but also the dojang.

    I know that part of the reason I don’t actively oppose street harassment in slutwalks or walk a mile in her shoes type campaigns is the feeling that I should be able to protect the people I care about. I think part of it is that I want to be able to protect those I care about. When a woman you care about asks you to walk her to her car or home, it’s a nice feeling especially if she’s afraid because it feels almost nurturing. I’ve even had strangers ask me to walk them to their cars. A lot of women talk when they’re nervous so you have this woman nervously talking in your ear when you’re walking her there and this grateful smile when she gets there.

    That’s where I think you’ll find your answer. It’s a power thing. Some guys only feel manly when they’re intimidating someone perceived weaker. Some guys are probably getting revenge for the woman who turned him down last night at the bar. Other guys are probably mad that this woman wouldn’t give him the time of day. A lot of it probably stems from insecurity and emasculation.

    • Funnily enough walking to your car late at night, you as a man are probably more at risk with the crime stats. She should be protecting you:P

      • John Anderson says:

        Although you’re probably right, that wouldn’t do a lot for my self esteem. :)

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Archy, just curious what stats you’re basing your assumption about victims of stranger-on-stranger crime upon. I’m not challenging, I’m just curious.

          • Some stats I use
            ht tp://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/ – The famous CDC stats, read the full 4.3MB report, the sexual violence stuff is about page 18 onwards, table 4.1 and 4.2 are the main ones, page 24 I think gives a breakdown on who abuses who sexually. Ignore the cliffnotes section as they don’t even bother mentioning male sexual violence victimization properly.
            ht tp://www.who.int/entity/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/DALY6%202004.xls – data on what kills people worldwide, violence is at the bottom. It’s an interesting read and you can see who dies from cancers, heart disease, etc.
            ht tp://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2224 – Has some stats relating to the U.S

            ht tp://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4906.0
            ht tp://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by+Subject/4125.0~Jul+2011~Main+Features~Victims+of+violence,+harassment+and+stalking~5110 – Australian Crime stats and surveys.

            “In the 12 months prior to the survey period, 10% (779,800) of men and 4.7% (363,000) of women experienced physical violence.
            An estimated 35% (5,275,400) of men and women have experienced physical assault since the age of 15.
            The overall experiences of physical assault for men and women, in the 12 month period prior to the survey were different.
            Of those men who were physically assaulted, 65% (316,700) were physically assaulted by a male stranger compared to 15% (35,500) of women who were physically assaulted by a male stranger
            Of those women who were physically assaulted, 31% (73,800) were physically assaulted by a current and/or previous partner compared to 4.4% (21,200) of men who were physically assaulted by a current and/or previous partner
            43% (207,100) of men who were physically assaulted were aged 18-24 years compared to 27% (65,800) of women ”

            I’m fairly sure the stats go:
            Males are most at risk of stranger based violence, females are most at risk with IPV however males are fast moving to parity, or already have at the rate of abuse, but females get injured more or more severe injuries on average. Violence kills 4x more men, male to male violence is the most common form followed probably by IPV. Stats I’ve seen vary between men being 1/3rd of IPV victims and 1/2. Stats I’ve seen for teenagers have them pretty much equal in abuse n violence towards each other in relationships which is very scary and needs to be stopped!
            Women get more sexual abuse however last I checked for the US and maybe Aus, under 18 it’s 1 in 5 girls, 1 in 6 boys experience some form of sexual abuse. For adults I think the 1 in 5 and 1 in 6 in childhood would still leave them as survivors at that rate, but rape alone after 18 the most recent stats I saw were the CDC ones which had lifetime rates at 18.3% for women, 6.2% (1.4% forcibly penetrated, 4.8% forced to penetrate) for men so about 3:1 ratio female to male victims?, 12 months shoots up to equal 1.1% for both genders.
            Females are most at risk of rape at the hands of males, males are most at risk of being forcibly penetrated by males, but the majority of rape men face is at the hands of women by being forced to penetrate. For children, the stats for child abusers I think vary between 10% – 30% female abuser, rest as male.

            Given all the stats I’ve read recently the majority of violence people face though I think is IPV/domestic violence,in relationships 32.9% women, 28.2% men report being victims of physical violence. On the street women I think are more likely to be harassed or sexually abused, whereas men are most likely to be physically assaulted, but also men are the majority of stranger-based assault victims. In Australia I believe the majority of that is from alcohol related crime, people getting drunk n having fights.

            1 in 7 female victims of sexual abuse reported a stranger, 4 in 10 report an acquaintance as the rapist, 1 in 8 by a family member, and 51.1% of female victims report that at least one perpetrator was a current or former intimate partner.

            The male stat get tricky as their definition of rape doesn’t include forced to penetrate, but for forcible penetration (mostly male on male) men reported: 52.4% were raped by an acquaintance, 1 in 7 were raped by a stranger.
            For men forced to penetrate: 44.8% reported a current or former intimate partner.

            Page 9 of the pdf here ht tp://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv10.pdf shows men are more likely to experience stranger based violence, which I guess is the stat you’re after. Men are more likely to be robbed, women more likely to be raped/sexually assaulted by a stranger. Half of violence victims knew their offender. The percentages of overall violence committed by strangers is higher against men. Both men n women were equally likely to have been victimized by an acquaintance.

            I think these stats only apply mostly to the U.S, Australia, maybe Canada n Britain?
            That’s about the limit I know of the statistical breakdown of violence, in other countries like some African countries they will vary hugely I guess. Hope that helps illustrate the problem, my brain needs a rest:P Also not sure if any of these stats handle catcalls, maybe just defined as harassment which should be under the CDC stats.

          • Actually being 2 people walking to the car, their risk probably drops considerably but I don’t see any stats on if people are alone vs in groups. My best guess is anyone alone faces more risk than 2 people walking to car, so it’s a good idea for both I think.

            • The thing is, Archy, stats don’t really matter, it’s level of personal risk that matter. Men have a greater risk of dying in car accidents but that doesn’t mean I can stop wearing a seatbelt.

            • Just wondering, how do you define “personal risk”? The only sources I can find online do so in a financial way, which I’m guessing you aren’t here. I’m not trying to be snarky at all, just trying to suss out if this term has a standard definition.

              Also, (if you could please pardon the math major moment) stats matter INCREDIBLY and ALWAYS. They’re the best tools we, humans, have developed for understanding how the world outside our immediate field of vision operates.

            • THANK YOU for writing this. And thank you for making a promise to speak out, speak up, and change the culture for your female friends, in however a small way.
              What do you mean by speaking up as long as it doesn’t risk your well-being, though? I perceive my well-being to be risked when I keep my eyes straight ahead and walk past men who are harassing me. Trying not to absorb what they say takes effort. Having an ambulance driver toot their horn and call out to me as I walk down the street on the block where I live challenges my well-being as my stomach drops: even the men who are supposed to take care of me if something bad happens participate in street harassment?? Who is left?

            • Report them to their supervisors. Not to say your experience is invalid, but were they on duty and trying to get your attention to get directions? It sounds pretty bad when ambo’s do it, especially as you can report them for it and their location is probably tracked with the time.

            • When you buckle your seatbelt, do you calculate your statistical odds of being in a car accident — which are pretty low on any given ride? No, you buckle your seatbelt because even if the risk of accident is statistically low, the repercussions of not wearing a seatbelt are very large (I.e. surviving an accident vs. death). By personal risk I mean my sense of what is safe vs. not safe. It ‘s not a statistical calculation. I’m tired of hearing people argue “but men are statistically more likely to be victims of violent crime than women!” we’ll, sorry, but why does that matter? Men are statistically more likely to die in a car accident, that doesn’t mean women can ignore traffic safety. That doesn’t mean women don’t die in car accidents, get it?

            • Sarah, I don’t think anyone is saying that women or men have no risk. It’s a matter how relatively how much risk each has.

              Perhaps you aren’t aware but certain feminists very frequently cite statistics related to rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and so forth – in an effort to show that women have more risk of such. It’s fine to say that statistics don’t matter. But, if they don’t matter for men, they shouldn’t matter for women.

            • I don’t think it should be a contest. Maybe men don’t have enough perception of their own risk (that’s certainly true of young men who drive recklessly, for example). I agree that some widely quoted rape statistics, like 1 I’m 4 women, are probably inflated because they are based on surveys that include a wide variety of conduct besides forcible rape. Women are generally worried about forcible rape when we talk about our fears for our safety in public places. We can argue about the statistics but women DO get attacked and raped in public places, or by intruders in their homes, etc., and it definitely happens enough to be frightening.

              Men are also victims of robberies, bar fights, assaults (including sexual assaults) and so on, that’s true. (Especially, again, young men, men engaged in a criminal lifestyle, and men in lower income urban areas plagued by crime and violence.) However, the man who is going rape me is probably not out looking for men to rob tonight, he’s looking for women to attack. that’s the guy I’m worried about. When I’m crossing a dark parking lot, I can’t comfort myself by thinking that men in general are more likely to be victims of violent crime that women, because I’m worried about forcible stranger rape, and men are very unlikely to be victims of sexual assault by a stranger in a parking lot, in fact it is probably virtually unheard of, though certainly they could be victims of a mugging or robbery (which I also worry about). So really, everyone should be careful in dark parking lots. I don’t mean be totally paranoid all the time, but be reasonably cautious.

            • Only reason I state it is to point out to men themselves that they’re more at risk, so both of them should be worried, not just the woman. But being together their risk is lowered as attackers I believe are after lone-victims.

            • Joey Joe Joe says:

              Given your scenario vs the scenario of who is safer walking alone… No you shouldn’t avoid protecting yourself or being wary of your surroundings, but a man is still more likely to be jumped, mugged, beat, etc. It means he has more of a reason to wear his societal seat belt than you do. Furthermore, people are more likely to get involved if you’re being assaulted than if a man is.

    • @John Anderson I really appreciate your thoughtful response. You seem like a decent guy trying to sort out how to situate yourself in all this and so am going to comment (something I don’t often do in these arenas). First, I think you make the author’s point is that men are so desensitized to harassment of women, you might not notice what other guys are doing. Filing it as ‘not my problem’ isn’t, in my opinion, wrong, per se but acting to make women in general safer will make the girls and women you care about safer as well.

      When you speak of being harassed, were you ever afraid of the harasser? See, for us ladies, harassment and catcalling are a part of everyday reality. That doesn’t mean it’s okay, just part of the deal. And each interaction whether the overt, ‘Hey, baby.” or the always-attractive tongue-between-the-index-and-middle-finger or the more subtle I-am-staring-down-at-your-boobs-while-you-can’t-move-on-the-subway requires the girl or woman to rapidly assess the likely intentions/capacity to harm of the guy in question, her escape routes, other threats, and possible allies. Did you ever do that in the situation where you were being harassed? If not, you aren’t talking about the same thing. If so, imagine doing that every day. For the rest of your life. Imagine how much having an ally step forward would help.

      I was really enjoying your comment until I got to this part: “I know that part of the reason I don’t actively oppose street harassment in slutwalks or walk a mile in her shoes type campaigns is the feeling that I should be able to protect the people I care about. I think part of it is that I want to be able to protect those I care about. When a woman you care about asks you to walk her to her car or home, it’s a nice feeling especially if she’s afraid because it feels almost nurturing. I’ve even had strangers ask me to walk them to their cars. A lot of women talk when they’re nervous so you have this woman nervously talking in your ear when you’re walking her there and this grateful smile when she gets there.” Wait, you ENJOY someone you care about being afraid, because you get to rescue her? You don’t want women to be safe so you’ll continue to be needed? I don’t think that’s what you really mean to say but it sure reads that way and that’s a major bummer. Because a guy like you, with martial arts training, a sense of humor, and clearly an interest in making sure the girls and women in your circle are secure belongs somewhere like IMPACT Personal Safety (www.impactpersonalsafety.com), training women to fight for their own lives if needed. Trust me, if you stand up for women’s safety and freedom, we’ll still want you around.
      PS: The founder of Walk a Mile is a good friend of mine…I helped organize the first Walk and the guys who participate are certainly appreciated by the ladies!

      • John Anderson says:

        “Wait, you ENJOY someone you care about being afraid, because you get to rescue her?”

        That’s the difference between who I was and who I want to be. I thought about not including that just like I thought about not telling the story about not confronting my friend over abusing his girlfriend because I still feel like a punk over it. It’s a difficult choice whether to include things that make one look bad, but it could help someone else. I can’t see me being the only guy in the world who feels more masculine when he’s protecting a woman he cares about.

        I mentioned another time when my cousin was beaten by her boyfriend. My brother and I found him with 4 friends. We beat the snot out of them. I heard that her friends were telling her that her cousins were crazy. I don’t think it stopped him from hitting her. I think she just stopped telling. You’re not always going to be around and you’re not going to protect her through reputation so if you’re going to make sure the women in your life are safe the only way to do it is to make sure all women are safe. It only took me 45 years to arrive at this, what do you want? :) I’d like to make sure the men in my life are safe also, but I’d probably give the martial artists among them some crap for it first.

        At the risk of sounding like an asshole again, when I was younger my high school made the unfortunate decision to hold a women’s self defense class in the student lounge area. I being 16 or 17 did not have the good sense to save my criticisms for a private moment. Sa Bam Nim found out and I found myself volunteered as the tackling dummy for a women’s self defense class. They taught women how to throw a guy and none of them would have been able to take me over, but I decided the knuckle push ups and the beating I’d take sparring Sa Bam Nim wasn’t worth it. I just let them take me over and helped if they couldn’t. Although one woman came close to breaking my nose, no one told me that she was going to throw the back of her head into my face when I grabbed her from behind. If I wasn’t in practice oh well, it probably would have served me right.

        I’ve never been a fan of women’s self defense classes. It seems they are geared more towards making women feel more confident rather than giving them the skills to fight off an attacker. That’s probably my philosophical difference. They teach escape and flight. A broken nose would make me mad. You’d better run fast possibly in heels. I’d be more comfortable with a sequence of techniques to incapacitate your attacker. I don’t know what the theory is now, but I would still recommend taking up a martial art. You can’t learn self defense in a seminar.

        • I don’t know if you’re familiar with the show King of the Hill, but there’s an episode in which Bobby, the 13-year-old son of the main character, is getting picked on by bullies, so his dad sends him to the YMCA to take a boxing class and learn to defend himself. Bobby winds up in a women’s self-defense class by mistake and learns to kick his attackers in the balls while screaming “That’s my purse! I don’t know you!” It’s one of the funnier episodes in the whole series.

          I don’t need a class to know that a well-placed nut shot can take down a man of almost any size and render him incapable of pursuing. And it doesn’t even have to be a hard punch or kick – I’ve seen my dog take out my husband and other unfortunate male friends just by jumping up on them and landing his front paws in the wrong spot. So if I ever felt physically threatened by a man, I’m pretty sure I’d be focusing my attention on hitting that one target point in any way I can, as quickly as I can, rather than try to punch or kick my way to safety.

          The thing about martial arts, though…correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems most martial arts are effective at teaching you how to fight and defend yourself against other martial artists using a certain repertoire of moves. Would your martial arts training have helped you avoid the backwards head-butt that almost broke your nose? That’s not a standard combat move, but it sounds like something that might occur to me to do if I were suddenly grabbed from behind. I don’t mean to criticize, I just wonder sometimes how applicable martial arts skills are to the real world, and real fights where the combatants aren’t following the rules. What makes martial arts a better choice than other traditional hand-to-hand styles, like wrestling for example?

          • There are a few forms of martial arts that I’d say are decent, though I haven’t got any martial arts training myself.
            Krav Maga
            Muay Thai Kickboxing
            Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
            Aikido

            I think many are also doing Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, taking the best from each and that’s probably stuff that works in street fights the most. Any martial art worth it’s salt should be teaching how to defend yourself from one, 2, even a few more attackers, how to get out of being grabbed from behind.
            ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhm2kjzqWac – This is something women could use especially, if you get a good grip on the hand and twist it right you will have a lot of control over someone as not many people want a broken arm/wrist!, grappling is very effective from what I know. Most fights I’ve seen though were usually when someone was drunk, they’d throw a punch so wide…

            I know women worry about their strength vs a male, but women are easily capable of using an elbow to the face that should be absolutely fucking devastating, and easily have enough strength to punch the jaw on the side which is one way to knock someone out. Make sure you are defending yourself as both those moves can kill if they get knocked out, hit their head or something. Best bet is to avoid the fight in the first place.

          • John Anderson says:

            I’m 5’ 7” and when I was kick boxing I weighed between 140 and 150 lbs. We had 2 women in our class and since I was on the smaller side, when one of them was absent, I would spar the other. I was also lifting weights and juicing. I’d take it easy on them when we sparred. One woman found out and took it personally. When I had to spar her, her first three kicks were front snap kicks to my groin. After the first kick, I just looked up. After the second kick, I looked up, turned around, walked off the mat, came back and got in position. The third time I said let’s go and widened my stance. Sa Bam Nim saw the anger in my face and stopped the fight. I’m glad because I fully intended to break whatever bone got in the way of my kick.

            I wasn’t wearing a cup. She was a skilled fighter and all she did was piss me off. I know boxers that could get hit in the balls and it wouldn’t affect them either. Granted, your chance of having to fight off an experienced fighter is low. A steroid freak is another story. Not every guy is just going to crumble. At one point we talked about designing a martial art tailored to women, but we couldn’t agree on what techniques to incorporate and it just fell by the wayside. For example, I suggested teaching them to hold their hand like a paw and strike a man’s trachea with the finger joints just under the knuckles. Some of the guys didn’t think the women would utilize it, but I’ve yet to see a man who can get hit in the throat and not go down.

            There are multiple striking points in the human body. You can go after joints, use trapping techniques, etc. My nephew was surprised when he learned that a martial artist is most dangerous when his hand is open than when he makes a fist. A fist has one use. An open hand can do many things. The other thing you develop is speed. I was taken by surprise and would have had my nose broken if I wasn’t in practice. I’ve used my art against multiple opponents on the street to good effect. Although a poster here did point out that there is a difference between being a 150 pound man and a 110 pound woman.

            I did see that King of the Hill and it was funny.

            • What are your thoughts on Krav Maga? I’ve always wanted to give it a try…

            • John Anderson says:

              Sorry, I’ve never heard of it.

            • I guess that’s fair, that not all guys are incapacitated by a kick to the groin, but it still seems like a pretty safe bet for your average Dude on the Street who Might be a Threat.

              But to bring this back around to the article and street harassment/catcalling, say I was trained in a martial art and regularly practicing to the point that I could confidently fend off a potential attacker, thus have less reason to fear an attack from Random Dude on the Street. But that doesn’t really make the catcalling less of a problem. Street harassment (short of assault) is threatening in non-physical ways. It makes a woman feel unsafe and targeted, singled out in a public space.

              One of the very few times I’ve been catcalled was a bunch of guys shouting out the window of their car as they drove by while I was putting change in a parking meter. It was mid-afternoon and I was going to a business to interview someone for an article; the business was in a somewhat rundown area of the city that I was not familiar with. There were lots of other parked cars around but not much foot traffic at all, and being called at made me aware of how vulnerable I was. Those guys could have come around the block and followed me to my destination, or waited near my car until I returned, or just slashed my tires. I count myself lucky that they didn’t but the point is, you never know. You just really never know what the guy(s) catcalling you is going to do if you react, or if you don’t react. So that’s the kind of fear I’m talking about – feeling vulnerable and to a degree helpless against an unpredictable situation.

            • I personally dont practice groin shots, as Im not convinced that in a fight when a man is in ‘war-state’, with adrenaline etc surging in his body that a groin shot would always incapacitate him.

              I practice:
              – finger stabs to the middle of the eye, to blind. i also practice eyestabs using my biros which i have on my skirt.
              – punches, to punch out the windpipe
              – punches to the side of the neck
              – kicks to break the knee or ankle

              I also practice in the street, and in the clothes and shoes i wear outside. As this is very different to practicing indoors. eg. how the shoe grips the tarmac. I close my eyes and visualise being blitzed etc

              One other thing for readers, violence doesnt start with the fists – it starts with the shouting at you by the assailant/s. Which can often shut so many people down, as they are not expecting it, nor have trained to be resilient to it. I have natural immunity to it [i have a couple of ytube clips, with an instructor shouting before an attack at a student. i will try and find them]

            • John Anderson says:

              You might be interested in the tiger claw. You strike your opponent under the chin with your open palm and then whip your fingers violently forward into his eyes.

            • thanks man

          • Joey Joe Joe says:

            An ex-girlfriend of mine, with no martial-arts training, once tried to kick me in the balls (being a man, I must have deserved it). I turned my knee in and instead she smashed her shin into my knee.

            Yes martial arts trains you to deal with attackers who have no clue what they are doing.

      • John Anderson says:

        “When you speak of being harassed, were you ever afraid of the harasser?”

        I’m not sure how to answer this. Most of the time no, I could waive off a comment and walk away. There were three instances though where I was touched. Two were thankfully very quick especially when a woman grabbed my crotch. Once it was protracted. I was practicing in a park and didn’t notice that three women were watching me. Taekwondo is a very beautiful, areal art. It is quite impressive. When I stopped for a breather, they came up from behind. Two grabbed an arm. One fondled my bicep. The other traced the tigers along my sleeve. All I remember from the conversation was one of them said she liked to touch the tigers and one of them said that I must have a strong lower body.

        I had no idea how to respond. I froze for awhile and just remember moving away. I don’t remember if I waited for them to let me go or if I pulled gently away. Was I afraid they were going to attack me, not really, but I also didn’t feel like I could defend myself if they did. I know who’d be going to jail. There was definitely some doubt. There may have been some fear, but I wouldn’t call it terror.

        There was a time in my life when I came close to feeling what a woman feels. That was in high school. My school rented two floors in the dorm of a financially strapped women’s college. The college women were housed on two, the high school boys on three and the high school girls on four. We were told that if we were caught on four we’d be immediately expelled, but they decided to hold the retreat activities on three so that gave the girls access to our floor. They didn’t give us the keys to the dorm rooms so they were unlocked. The girls would steal our clothes. They threatened to invade while we were showering. Three of them followed me into the bathroom. I guess to prove they could. I would wake up at 2 AM to take my showers just to be on the safe side.

        I think part of the behavior was a result of us hitting on the college women with success (story for another day). I think they felt ignored. They spent part of the last night sitting / lying with us on our beds . We didn’t ignore them the whole time. I don’t want you to think they were that bad either. They never raided our showers. Always eventually gave back our clothes and the three who followed me into the bathroom waited by the sink and it was all stalls anyway. Even though it was stressful, it only lasted three days and I knew when it would be over. It’s a constant fear for women.

        • That’s sexual harassment I believe. My experience with sexual harassment was having males who were bullying me giving me nipple cripples and grabbing my manboobs (I am overweight) in highschool. I’ve also had a female friend just grab them, yet if I did the same to her I’d be in a world of shit. A teacher saw the males do it, called the police to do a talk to the school about sexual harassment. I was shocked to learn it was sexual harassment, all I know is I felt so terrible and hated it.

          • John Anderson says:

            That was terrible. Sorry that happened. Things were confusing for me too in high school. We came in on a Friday and were scheduled to leave that Sunday. The first floor had the common areas like the cafeteria and the gym. The very first day, we were hitting on the college women in the cafeteria. We were never told we couldn’t go on two so we arranged to hook up with some of the women in their dorms. That Friday afternoon my religion teacher pulled me aside and told me to cool it with the girls. That night I’m certain what happened would be considered statutory rape.

            I think it’s weird that in this instance I have no problem using that word. It’s probably because I was the aggressor. and it doesn’t feel like rape. Saturday a friend tells me that another lady would like to hook up and I told him cool and gave him my room number. She was supposed to come up at 1:00 AM Sunday morning. I decided that I’d just stay up since I was planning on showering at 2:00. At 1:30 I was thinking nothing was going to happen. Then my door opened and luckily I did do anything crazy like wait in the nude or jump out of bed because it was my religion teacher peeking in.

            That morning she pulls me aside again and asks if I knew anything about four college women caught on the third floor. She said they wouldn’t get in trouble if I told. I thought I was in trouble. I never told her. For a long time I didn’t realize that she was protecting me. I thought because I was the guy. It would be my fault. For the record what the college women did was wrong and the child should never be blamed even if that’s me.

            • Statutory rape probably doesn’t feel like rape quite often, especially when the ages are close together. Like for example 15 and 17, or 17 and 18, I believe many areas put measures in place because of that. The rape I think is often only referring to it’s legal status, the inability to consent and pretty much all couples will have one reach the age of consent before the other. Does your area include the Romeo n Juliette laws? They handle the close age gaps for couples I believe and reduce penalty or maybe even remove it.

              What was the age gap between you and the woman if you don’t mind me asking?

              I guess we all take a different feeling from a situation, I’ve commonly heard rape victims say it doesn’t feel like rape but whatever you feel is what is important.

            • John Anderson says:

              I was 15. They were anywhere from 18 to 22. Thing was my birthday was in a few days so I was practically 16. In my state a difference of 5 years would constitute statutory rape. I don’t know what the laws were 30 years ago.

            • Ah ok, so it’s possible they wouldn’t even get a stat rape charge? Would it feel different if they were 10 years+ older?

            • John Anderson says:

              For me, I think it had more to do with me being the aggressor than age. I might have different feelings about the encounter with the woman at 1:00 if it worked out. What was I going to tell my classmate? I’m turning down sex. That would get all over school. I didn’t even know what she looked like. I probably saw her in the dorms and might have spoken to her, but didn’t have a clue who was coming. I don’t think my friend even told me her name or if he even knew.

      • Joey Joe Joe says:

        This is a sad excuse for trying to claim women suffer worse or that men’s issues aren’t of concern. It is an attempt at oppression olympics (“we have it so much worse than you!”).

        If we taught women to not fear harrassment and actually enjoy being raped, would it cease to be a problem? Look up Dena Hassouneh’s article “The influence of gender role stereotyping on women’s experience of female same-sex initmate partner violence” to see what gender binaries can do even to women.

  2. “I am making an oath, right now, to start speaking out and speaking up against catcalling and street harassment (assuming my life and well-being are not risked by that advocacy).”

    why would not speak up if you feel that your life and well-being are being risked? women are at more risk than you are, and yet many will tell a random dillhole off for catcalling.

    what i’m getting from your “oath” is that you’re kinda-not-really into advocacy. you’re incensed that your partner and sister get harassed, but you’re not really into trying to make your world a better place for ALL women.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I think you’re misreading Carlos here – he isn’t saying he wouldn’t stand up for a woman in danger if he saw that, he’s strictly talking about catcalling, not rape or other types of physical assault.

      So if he saw a woman being catcalled who wasn’t in physical danger, he would not put himself in danger to stop a non-dangerous crime. Does that make sense? That wouldn’t be good for anybody.

  3. Chances are the men reading this website don’t catcall and are aware of it happening, you’d have to teach from school age first to truly make an impact. I’m curious if the majority of catcallers actually realize they’re making women very uncomfy or if they’re doing it as a stupid attempt to try say “hello beautiful”. Not sure if it happens as often here in Australia, I’ve never heard a female here talking about it. The closest I’ve seen would be a bunch of guys driving in a car, seeing a beautiful woman and looking and that’s it, they might say DAMMMMNNN to themselves where she wouldn’t hear or know, an acknowledgement of seeing a beautiful woman but it’s done from a place of positivity, not to degrade her, the guys are also single. Every wolf whistle I’ve ever heard was usually a male or female using it to their friends to say they’re looking good today. Is it an American thing or have Australia women had the negatives thrown at them too? Is it based mainly in cities?

    Most street harassment I see is related to alcohol abuse culture here and usually involves 2 drunk guys hitting each other, for which we have a big campaign against recently due to someone sober being punched once and dying from the injury.

    As a side-note, I’ve noticed a lot of men need to change their negative behaviour articles recently, will we be seeing articles calling for women to change their negative behaviour too? I’m not seeing much balance here lately.

    • John Anderson says:

      “As a side-note, I’ve noticed a lot of men need to change their negative behaviour articles recently, will we be seeing articles calling for women to change their negative behaviour too? I’m not seeing much balance here lately.”

      In general you won’t, but this is the good men project so I guess the articles will generally focus on men, but I think it would be completely valid for someone to write an article saying that good men don’t put up with abusive women.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        I would LOVE to see a site for women where women challenge other women to do better without shaming them. I think Jez does it sometimes, but I think they could do more.

        But John’s right, it wouldn’t be appropriate here. I do it as much as I can, when it’s relevant (see my Melissa Stetten piece or the one about Creep-shaming) but unless it’s about a specific trend relating to men, it’s not quite brand-appropriate.

        • Yeah I don’t think I’ve seen a site similar to this. I need to balance out the calling men out articles with the calling out women articles otherwise it often feels like only men are expected to change. I see Jezebel calling men out more than anything, they even laughed when their staff talked about how they hit their bf’s from what I remember…..not sure I really trust what Jez has to say…

          • John Anderson says:

            This site actually serves a very important purpose. This site is run by feminists and there are feminists who visit here. MRAs criticize feminists for not discussing men’s issues. Feminists argue that MRAs always turn discussion about women toward men. The site fosters a feminist discussion on men’s issues. I wish more feminists would visit. How else would they be educated on men’s issues?

            There are a lot of sites that discuss men’s issues from an MRA point of view. This site is the only one I know of that discusses men’s issues from a feminist point of view. Look at the bright side as feminists discuss men’s issues with men, they’ll most likely become more sympathetic, and isn’t that an MRA’s biggest complaint and the reason that many of us rejected feminism in the first place, that feminists just don’t care about men.

            The moderation is also quite liberal and many differing view points arise in the comments.

            • Good point.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              John Anderson, I think I love you.

              We really aren’t a feminist site, but we are a progressive site that tries to represent a lot of different viewpoints, even ones that are less progressive ones, that center around men.

              I agree that more feminists should visit here. I strongly agree! But actually, aside from a few notable feminists who have decided to dig their heels in and not give GMP another look, we have quite a lot of feminists who read us. They just don’t often comment.

        • John Schtoll says:

          Joanna: you will never see a site where women (or men) call out women for ‘bad’ behaviour and ask them to do better. I am sorry but the modern world just doesn’t work like that.

          • John Schtoll says:

            If you want ‘proof’ of that, have a look around for site about child abuse (of which women are the majority of offenders) and see if ANY of them have a campaign like “Women can prevent child abuse” or “Women speaking out against child abuse, where women are the primary focus as offenders”. It just doesn’t exist.

            • I’m sure you’re aware of Hillary stating women are the main victims of war, because they have to lose their brothers, fathers and sons to combat?

              Similarly, I think women are the main victims of child abuse and child slayings (they inflict). They have to suffer through the lose of the child, or seeing the child abused.

  4. Joey Joe Joe says:

    It’s white ribbon month Archy, expect lots of “men should make oaths to stop this” sentiments. I.e. men should sign a petition not to commit acts of violence to women… though why they wouldn’t just sign something committing to not commit violence in general has never made sense to me. Something women can sign too.

    “Expressio unius est exclusio alterius.”

    • I thought that was November?

      • Joey Joe Joe says:

        Yep, my mistake. Saw the posting about it the other day, and I know Carlos has been attached to it. It’s a action I’m opposed to for the binary it creates, so I’ll admit I tend to not stay knowledged of it.

  5. Maybe you could just try reading some of the stories on iHollaback.com or StopStreet Harassment to hear how it makes women feel to be on the receiving end…

    Try walking in our shoes for a little while….

    • Is it possible a woman could wear like a hidden camera, someone who gets regular harassment? I think it’d be good to upload to youtube, but cover their faces and follow whatever else is needed to ensure you remain within the law but I’d like to see it happen to get an idea of what it’s like. Being a 6’6 large male, the only people that harass me are usually drunk or looking for a fight, I’ve always wanted to see what it looks like exactly, hear the tone of voice used, text based descriptions don’t seem to capture it fully.

      You’d have to lookup your local law though, but it could be useful to educate the world, or even help press charges if it’s admissible? It’s about the closest we can get to walking in your shoes I think. We can do the same in return if you’d like to see what it’s like being male around drunks, though that usually happens with women around as well and more easily seen, the harassment though seems to be when women are alone and more opportunistic? Only time it would happen around others I think is at a club when people are drunk?

      • You could check out some of the videos by Hollaback! on youtube…some of the women tell their stories about being street harassed…one that is particularly memorable is “I see his penis out!” (which shows a woman harassed on the subway by a guy who flashes his condom-wrapped penis (which is partially hidden by his shoulder bag) at her….

        Random creepy guys try to grope me on a daily basis on the trains…while I am walking down the stairs as some jerk is walking up and tries to grab a feel….while I am trying to exit a crowded train, a hand will “accidentally” brush up against me…it is shocking how men do it in broad daylight and in crowds (as if they are practiced hands)…

        I have many other stories (as this is a daily occurrence) but perhaps people here would not believe me or invalidate my firsthand recollection….

        • I believe you. It’s not that I don’t believe it happens, it’s just curiosity of what it is like as I don’t think I’ve ever seen it happen. I can imagine it but I think video would really send the message, it sounds like there is an attitude being projected from those guys, a sense of entitlement and that is the part I find harder to understand, if that makes sense.

        • Daily… really? Are you someone who assumes any bump on a crowded public transportation is a grope? I know I bump into people all the time when I’m shoehorned in a subway with zero personal space at all. I live in NYC, and I honestly just doubt it happens with this degree of frequency. I suspect that your perception — any touch is a grope — colors your reality.

          • Just try to imagine being female, petite, Asian, and shy-looking (I know, it’s hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes)…or perhaps ask some of your female friends (they will know what I am talking about)….When a person is walking down a stairway in a dress, a guy coming up the stairway should not try to put his hand on my butt…When I am exiting the train, a 6’2″ guy should not be dropping his hand to “accidentally” brush against my chest….

            Now I avoid crowded cars and run to where there is more space and women sitting around…I just stay alert and scan the space around me (and stay near other women)…I walk fast and keep my distance from other people now …

            • As someone who knows many an attractive, petite, Asian woman, and who happens to live in one of the most crowded cities in the world, I have a pretty good idea of their experience on mass transit. Most of my female friends grew up in NYC their entire lives, and not one of them has ever made a point to mention being groped regularly on the subway. They do hold to the “once it is an accident, twice it is intentional” rule of contact on the subway, and I am certain they know the difference between a bump and a squeeze.

              Also, I am sure it would be mentioned as I do get to hear from them when things DO happen, like being told that they look like they have a juicy pussy or something to that affect.

              Your statements don’t pass the smell test.

            • I’m sure I’ll be pilloried for saying it, but you are lying. You’re suggesting that SA is such a pandemic that it is something that happens to the average woman on a DAILY basis. A woman can’t even get on a bus or the subway without being assaulted each and every day.

            • I won’t pillory you, but we don’t know if Leia is lying about her own experience or not. I do not experiences this on a daily or even weekly basis, but I live in a medium sized city and don’t have to use trains. I experienced more of it in Seattle, and witnessed more of it in cities like NYC or LA. There are a variety of factors in place that would affect how much or how little of this type of interaction and what “average” woman is or “average city.”

            • It may or may not be the experience of all/most women, but I’m sure it’s true for her experience.

            • Thank you, Archy! That really means a lot!

              Recently in NYC, a 73 yo woman took a photo of a man masturbating in CP…when she refused to give him the digital card, he retaliated later by raping and beating her…There were no other witnesses to these events, but an NYU professor found her after her attack…

              The flashing, the groping, the whistling, the groping, and the catcalling represent a spectrum of offensive and inappropriate behavior, some of it downright criminal…

              Check out ihollaback.com and StopStreetHarassment websites…I think there are videos (hidden and non-hidden cameras) taken by women who are harassed walking along the street going home, going to school, etc.

            • Thank-you, I’ll give them both a look. I’ve been asking my friends as well to hear of their experiences.

              What is the “CP”? It’s terrible what happened to her.

            • CP= Central Park

              The 73 yo woman was raped and beaten in broad daylight near Strawberry Fields in Central Park. Her attacker was David Albert Mitchell who has a history of rape and murder in W.Va; You can read about it in the NY Post or NY Daily News.

              BTW, also, in the NY Daily News today: A subway masturbator (who rubbed up against 3 women) got off and put on probation…He’s a “Subway Grinder” and apparently, his masturbating on strange women is not considered a “violent act” according to the judge…

              Collin, I really wish this stuff wasn’t happening, and I’m sorry no guy has rubbed up against you in the subway….but you don’t see or experience everything that happens in NYC…

              Would you call that 73 year old woman a liar? Or that what happened to her the park was all in her imagination?

            • Actually, Leia, I have had a creepy old guy rub up against me on the Subway, and I told him to back the hell up. It is true that I don’t see everything that goes on in the city, but I know enough to know that I don’t walk around in some magical bubble of no-crime. The simple FACT is that groping or assault on the subway is relatively rare, and you are lying when you say you get touched every day. I’d be shocked if it has happened more than a handful of times to you ever. It is the definition of offensive that women get to just make stuff up like you and get a pass on it. I don’t think it is in your imagination ever. You are consciously making up something you know to be untrue for the sake of furthering your position and painting men in a negative light. It is so stereotypically feminist.

              As for the old lady, no I would not call her a liar. I recognize that SA happens.

            • Leia:
              You mention the 73y/o woman who was raped.

              However, the reason that this story grabs you by the short hairs is precisely *because* it’s rare!

              It’s the same with street harassment. Many posters have come on here and stated that street harassment is not anything *nearly* a *daily* problem for them. Most of my female family and friends have had problems with street harassment never to rarely.

              The simple fact is that (from what I have seen) street harassment is rare for the vast majority of women (maybe 2 to 4 times a year) and it almost never involves touching of any kind.

              I think what is going on is more of a regional thing. In addition, when you’re in a subway car packed with people your incidence of encountering a fuckhead goes way way up. If you’re being groped *daily* maybe it’s the same 2 or 3 aholes?

            • Leia:
              “Recently in NYC, a 73 yo woman took a photo of a man masturbating in CP”
              and you don’t see anything wrong with her behaviour? It is obviously quite intrusive and denying the guy any respect. In the terminology of some female commenters here, this woman was “creepy”. I don’t even know, if what him masturbating was morally wrong, obviously I don’t know the exact circumstances. But as far as I know it is permitted to have sex in the Vondel Park in Amsterdam, as long as you are discrete, and people use this opportunity.

            • Respect for masturbating in a public place? Which is not smiled upon in the US. I’m still seeking information on this section of the case, but if she took the picture to show police because he was being, as they say in the US, publicly indecent, exposing himself, well…she still didn’t deserve to be raped.
              He has a long history of sexual violence and it appears he is an unwell person probably suffering from mental illness. It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t given more treatment or kept closer into a system that would have helped avoid this.

            • Well, it depends on what “publicly indecent” means. If somebody forces himself on others by stepping in their way, it is obviously a form of sexual harassment, but what if somebody is having sex in public spaces but somewhat hidden. In the latter case, I believe a person taking a person taking a picture is the aggressor and behaves predatory. Maybe it is a cultural difference between many European countries and the US, but to be honest I think most of the people I know had sex in public places like parks or woods and I have stumbled several times on people having sex. Where I live, there seems to be some tacit consent among the reasonable people, that if the people who are having sex are discrete, you pretend you don’t see them and move along.
              If the guy she should have called the police, but I don’t think you have the right to take somebodies picture without their consent, unless it helps resolve a situation of great danger and I don’t see this being the case here.

            • Call the police if they’re masturbating, or ask them to please stop. But this guy was clearly a predator, but neither action was justified although in a public place you have no right to privacy really for photography (hence why street photography is legal). But seeing as he was masturbating, if she was takings pics that were sexual in nature that might be covered under the upskirt laws? But I doubt it, not do I think a cop would ever charge a woman taking a pic of someone publicly masturbating. I think the most they do is tell them to move on.

              Tragic situation what happened to her :(

            • Masturbating in public is a crime in the United States. It is a form of indecent exposure, which is a sexual fetish. Often these are guys who masturbate in public in order to be seen. They get off on shocking or upsetting people (particularly women) by their behavior. I am shocked that you would defend someone masturbating in public – I mean, it is something that can be done in private. There is absolutely no reason to do it in a park in view of other people. Same with sex in public. I don’t want to trip over couples having sex in a park. Gross!

            • Archy:
              “although in a public place you have no right to privacy really for photography”
              This might be legally the case in the US, but taking photographs of somebody without their consent, especially, when they are doing something intimate seems to be beyond any manners.
              “Tragic situation what happened to her”
              Yes, but I wasn’t talking about what happened afterwards…

              Sarah:
              “Often these are guys who masturbate in public in order to be seen.”
              Well if they force their image onto other people it is obviously sexul harassment and indeed a serious crime, but what if they are not?
              ” I mean, it is something that can be done in private.”
              Where is private for a homeless person?
              “Same with sex in public. I don’t want to trip over couples having sex in a park. Gross!”
              Obviously you find sex disgusting. Look I don’t want to see anybody with a Che Guevara T-shirt, and I think that celebrating mass murderers is really gross, but I can not do anything about it.
              I think a culture where people in public space can not just say “That couple behind the bushes might be having sex, but it’s none of my business.” has a problem with people willingly setting boundaries. A similar thing happens with some cases of sexual harassment, the young don’t just say: ” this woman is hot, but I don’t need to stare and yell something at her, I can set up an imaginary boundary between us, which allows both of us to keep our dignity.”.

            • Why is it that women are assumed to always be telling the truth when making statements that are blatantly false?

  6. I have mixed feelings about this piece.

    On the one hand, there is no question that “cat calling” is objectively stupid. There’s no reason for it, society would be better off if it didn’t happen, and it’s grossly unfair that women have to suffer this behavior.

    But that doesn’t mean that “calling men out” is the solution either.

    Look at the list of speculative causes:
    “it’s a competition-fueled performance of masculinity (which is why catcallers will often be in a group of men), a man wants to assert his power over a woman, a guy wants to get any kind of attention (whether positive or negative) from a woman he deems “out of his league” (or beyond his social status), or he is simply grossly misinformed about how to communicate with the opposite sex.”

    With the exception of the last possible cause, all of these point to a societal deficiency in the way that men are treated. Whether is the “straight jacked of masculinity” or frustration at the female privilege possessed by a woman “out of his league,” the cause is properly characterized as societal in nature. Yet the proposed solution is individual: call out the specific man who is acting out.

    This seems not unlike the policy of dealing with drug use by “calling out” individual drug users for arrest and prosecution. You attack the individual without going after the larger institutions that lead people to abuse drugs in the first place.

    So, if you believe that the solution to issues like “poverty” or “drug use” is to go after the individuals who are actually destitute or abusing drugs, and blame them for their behavior, then by all means “call out” men who cat call.

    But if you think that maybe individuals act in response to the institutions they live under, maybe it’s worth going after those institutions before we start to “call out” individual men.

    • This is perfect. Thank you.

    • It’s an interesting way to view things. It is tempting to see these men as just soulless D-bags with no real reasons for doing it, however there are indeed reasons and understanding those reasons requires seeing things through their eyes for a moment. It worth remembering that there is a sexist ideology about how sex works that dominates many people’s attitudes, especially single men, and this ideology insists that it is possible to be entitled to a woman.

      A important distinction between someone who harasses women and someone who takes drugs is that there is almost no language where we see the harasser as suffering under his own behavior. Most harassing men who utterly deny any such suffering regardless of how much they might be hurting in side. This version of masculinity insists that men never suffer emotional problems, and that men ignore and suppress any emotions besides being stoked, smug, or enraged. It’s easier to tell a drug abuser they have a problem, than it is to tell the sort of guy who harasses women. Even if he can’t get a date he’ll insist the problem is that he isn’t attractive or manly enough.

      • Every discussion about issues like this always seems to boil down to “Men are stupid”, “Men are evil,” or “Men are both stupid and evil.”

        “It worth remembering that there is a sexist ideology about how sex works that dominates many people’s attitudes, especially single men, and this ideology insists that it is possible to be entitled to a woman.”

        No, and bugger off. “Men think they are entitled to women!” = “Men are evil.”

        It’s simply not the case.

  7. We need to raise our boys to be better men. To raise better men we need women to also realize we can’t continue to perpetuate these harmful expressions of male dominance over women by encouraging predatory habits. The entire narrative needs to be acted out differently.

    • “We need to raise our boys to be better men”
      – Considering that the vast majority of men never catcall, I’d say that in that respect we’ve raised most pretty damn well.

  8. Excluding high school hallway harassment, I can count the number of times I’ve been catcalled or street-harassed on one hand, so even as a woman I have usually lumped this into the “not my problem” pile. I’ve heard/read numerous testimonies of women who seem to get catcalled all the time, and while I’m sympathetic, they always leave me shaking my head in disbelief – not that I don’t believe that it happens, or that it happens frequently, but that the world they describe does not seem to be the world I live in.

    Of course, I don’t live in a big city, I don’t use public transportation, and if I’m out walking it’s almost always with my husband, dog, or both. So in general there are just fewer opportunities in my day-to-day life for me to be harassed or catcalled.

    Back in 2008, I was in the entertainment district of my state’s capitol city with a group of women for a bachelorette party (a low-key, wine + tapas sort of thing, not feather boas and penis accessories) and as the four of us walked to the tapas place, a guy on the street said something like “You ladies look good, lookin’ like Charlie’s Angels.” And none of us reacted badly to it! In fact, though memory fails me four years later, I recall that we even said “Thanks.”

    So it’s hard for me to reconcile all the acconts of women getting catcalled, harassed, groped, etc. EVERY DAMN DAY with my reality, where the attention is infrequent and not always negative. I want to be sympathetic, I want to stand in solidarity with my fellow women … it just feels a little pointless when, at least locally, there’s no one to stand against.

    • John Anderson says:

      I used to think my reality was their reality too. Then I started to read their stories. It opened my eyes.

      “I want to stand in solidarity with my fellow women … it just feels a little pointless when, at least locally, there’s no one to stand against.”

      Be thankful. Police officers I know used to say that their dream was to be unneeded because that meant that there was no crime.

      • Oh I’m definitely thankful that I don’t get catcalled on the regular. I can see how that would make any woman skittish and bitter about the opposite sex. I just can’t quite empathize with the woman who says she can’t make it from her front door to the nearest coffee shop without being harassed in some way by a man. It’s incredible to me that thousands of women live this way.

        And when I look at the differences between me and those women, it comes down to lifestyle. Like I said, I don’t live or work in a city or use public transportation, I’m married and unlikely to get catcalled when I’m out with my husband, and I don’t go out in public alone very much. The places where I do go alone – grocery store, yoga studio, dog park – I still don’t encounter catcalling. Almost all the testimonies of street harassment I’ve heard or read about have taken place in a big city, or on a bus/train/subway, or at a bar/cafe, when the woman was either alone or had female companions.

        Basically, it’s really easy – simple – effortless – for me to leave the house every day and avoid getting catcalled. I don’t even have to think about it. So the idea that street harassment is the Norm for thousands (if not millions) of other women is just alien to me. I feel they’d be just as likely to dismiss me and my relatively harassment-free life as “unusual” as I am to be skeptical of their reality.

        • ” All of these are things women should do too – but the idea is, the message carries more weight when it’s coming from BOTH sexes, not just one.”
          But the slogan “Men can stop rape”, leaves out women and their participation in the campaign. It is more of the misogynistic nonsense, which denies women agency and portrays them as children, who can neither do wrong nor fight against acts of violence.

  9. The Wet One says:

    BTW, what is show in the picture is not a catcall. It is an assault.

    The least unwanted contact is an assault at law.

    Just sayin’

    The Wet One

  10. I’ve lived in NYC for 10 years, and I have heard a woman get catcalled half a dozen times total. I also spend a great deal of time on the street, and I NEVER hear it happening. I don’t know a single person who has ever done it, I have never witnessed someone I know do it, and I just don’t see it happen. It is hard for me to believe that it is an epidemic, and I have almost never seen it. It also isn’t as if I don’t spend a great deal of time walking around on the street because I do. Maybe it only happens with drunk guys late at night?

    • NYC seems to have a particularly bad rap for street harassment. Almost every time I read an article authored by a woman describing her street harassment experiences, it’s been an NYCer. And there are so many of those accounts, after reading them I can’t fathom why any woman would want to live in NYC at all! But I’m glad you said something to this extent, because I can’t help wondering if it’s really that bad, so it’s nice to see another perspective.

      I know it’s in bad form…victim-shaming/blaming…to say that any woman might exaggerate her accounts of street harassment. But I do feel inclined to take the stories with a grain of salt. The same encounter can be told in different ways that change the context.
      Using one of the very few catcall-type situations from my own life, I could say “I went downtown for an arts festival and the parking lot attendant, a young black man, said ‘Hey pretty girl, how you doin’?’ and I said ‘Fine, thanks,’ and kept walking.” Or I could say, “I was downtown heading to event, minding my own business when this black guy in the parking lot gives me the head-to-toe and goes ‘Hey pretty girl, how you doin’?’ And it was so gross and scary.”

      So yeah…perception matters. Again, I don’t disbelieve anyone automatically when they tell me they were street-harassed, but I’m inclined to wonder if any part of their story has been disproportionately or inaccurately emphasized.

      • NYC gets a bad reputation for a lot of things. People use NYC as a stand in for everything big, scary, and bad about cities. For example, New Yorkers are accused of being incredibly rude and inconsiderate, but I have found that it couldn’t be further from the truth. You will generally have tourists who come to NYC with this perception, and most of them don’t realize that they’re in a big city. I’m sure people think I’m rude at times when I have a group of people walking six across very slowly and I kind of muscle my way through because I’m trying to get to work. Now, I’m probably “the rude one” for pushing through, but they don’t realize that walking in NYC is a mode of transportation and that they shouldn’t be blocking the entire sidewalk. Being in a big city means you need to understand how to share a small amount of space with a lot of people.

        You definitely make a good point about perception, and I think you’re spot on, especially with that example!

      • Joey Joe Joe says:

        I don’t see it as victim blaming, per se, but I see it as potentially a case of perception. I live in Toronto, and there’s times I’ve had my junk or my butt bumped up against, by men and women. It’s rarely anything close to what I’d consider being “comfortable” with, but I also chalk these incidents up to the close confines of public transit and not intentional acts of groping.

        Sometimes I question whether or not the societal lens of women as sexual objects that all men are just out to grope also puts a lens on women’s perceptions that any form of contact to their body, especially of their ass, crotch, or breasts (those especially, sorry ladies, but they stick out and bump into things on their own sometimes), must have been an intentional groping.

        • I’ve had women bump their breasts into my elbows, that made me uncomfy because I felt that I MYSELF was at fault and that she might go off at me over it. Fucking awkward position to be in feeling like you just sexually assaulted someone with your elbow meanwhile they’re the ones that touched you/bumped into you. Being in an elevator can really get awkward too but lately I’ve been making small talk to try change the atmosphere and it’s been good.

      • Random_Stranger says:

        “but I’m inclined to wonder if any part of their story has been disproportionately or inaccurately emphasized”

        There may be some truth to this but I also think these women believe their reality. I can imagine a world where a person is mistreated by 1% of a particular group causing her to “pre-judge” the actions and intentions of the remaining 99% of said group. I can also imagine that if this women is immersed in a culture that encourages and validates her generalizations, she may feel entitled to pass contemptuous judgement on every smile, glance, “hello” and unintended bump, further re-enforcing her bias in a forever escalating feed-back loop.

        Which brings me to my point; combating sexual harassment requires simultaneous containment of the offending 1% and the cultural vehicles propagating hate upon the remaining 99%.

        • “Combating sexual harassment requires simultaneous containment of the offending 1% and the cultural vehicles propagating hate upon the remaining 99%.”

          Agreed. Well said.

          Also agree that women who are regular recipients of catcalling believe their reality – or to put it a different way, it distorts their reality, to the point that (as mentioned above) they become hyper-sensitive to any kind of attention from or contact with a stranger, intentional or accidental or otherwise.
          I’ll reiterate my gratitude that I don’t live in an environment that fosters such a sense of paranoia about men. After spending so much time on this article yesterday, I went to the grocery store on my way home and as I shopped I paid attention to the behavior of the male shoppers and employees around me, especially when we had to interact somehow. Nothing but politeness and friendliness. And that’s what I encounter 99% of the time – that’s my Norm. I can’t get from my front door to the nearest cafe without being smiled at by a friendly male stranger – and I smile back.

    • @collin- I’m sort of the mindset that tales of catcalls & wolf whistles may be as apocryphal as Super Bowl Sunday being the #1 domestic violence day..

  11. In my comment above I discounted high school hallway harassment in the sum total of my catcalling experience, thinking it to be off-topic. But giving it more thought, and in the context of Mike L’s comment above challenging the institutional structures that support and enable street harassment, I now feel those experiences have some bearing on this conversation. (And I apologize for the novel below; I tried to trim it down to the essential points.)

    Because in high school, it WAS daily, or nearly daily, that I got harassed. It didn’t help that my last name at the time was Head – the oral sex jokes really took off among my peers. Most of the harassment came from one group of boys and was initiated by their ringleader, Robbie, who rarely missed a chance to humiliate me.

    Eventually I decided to talk to the health teacher about Robbie’s behavior. She was sympathetic, but she seemed helpless to deal with it. Robbie was in and out of detention all the time for various troublemaking, but fat lot of good that did changing his behavior. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if he’d been called out on it by the health teacher, he and his friends would have made things worse for me.

    And the funny (not-so-funny) part is that even today, if I have to walk past a group of men on the sidewalk or in a public area, I reflexively feel threatened, like they’re going to make a target out of me in some way. It seems a silly phobia but the roots go deep.

    I think we tend to discount a lot of what goes on in high school as typical teenage drama. But it’s the Robbies of the world who, uncorrected, grow up into catcallers and street harassers – because for Robbie, there were never any consequences severe enough to deter his behavior, neither at school nor (apparently) at home.

    I’m not sure what to suggest as a solution, though. It’s on the schools to prevent this on school grounds, but I’d say parents share the bulk of the responsbility for actually getting the message into their sons’ heads. Which is why the calling-out of individuals does help – in raising awareness of the issue. Get people talking about it, get media coverage for it, and maybe that will make parents step up to addressing it with their sons. (I say this because I’m sure there are plenty of parents out there, now and future, who have not given thought to this issue and to whom it would not occur that they need to explicitly address it with their kids.)

    • This is true with all bullying though. I was so ruthlessly tormented as a child that I refused to go to school, and I’d miss, on average, 50 days of school a year. It’s much less gender specific and more generic bullying.

      • Fair point. I won’t say the girls I knew in high school never harassed the boys – or each other, for that matter. A few of them gave me hell over the oral-sex surname joke just as badly as the boys. And Robbie was an all-around bully who picked on boys too. Much of his targeting me was actually targeting me and my boyfriend as a pair – he knew my boyfriend and thought it was downright hilarious that he’d choose me, of all people, to be his girlfriend, so he teased us whenever he saw us in the halls together. Here’s where gender does play a role, though – that teasing barely affected my boyfriend, but it (obviously) had a huge impact on me, my self-esteem, and how safe I feel (or don’t feel) around males.

        Robbie also had charisma going for him. I think his bad behavior got overlooked or downplayed sometimes because he was otherwise likable – definitely one of the popular kids, and even some of the teachers didn’t seem to care that he regularly broke the rules.

        • I object to this statement: “Here’s where gender does play a role, though – that teasing barely affected my boyfriend, but it (obviously) had a huge impact on me, my self-esteem, and how safe I feel (or don’t feel) around males.”

          You are assuming that bullying has little or no impact on men. As someone who was a boy and was ruthlessly bullied, I can state without any reservations that the torment I suffered as a child had a HUGE impact on me. The abuse I had at the hands of women makes me terrified of approaching them generally, and I am so fearful of being accused of being a creep or worse that I can’t even bring myself to hold eye contact or smile. I’m trying to fix this, of course, but it’s not easy and dynamics of dating that punishes shy men more than any other group doesn’t help. This is, of course, not even going into how I was tormented by boys or the physical and emotional damage that lasts to this day.

          • Now hold on, I didn’t say it had no impact on men, but that it didn’t affect my boyfriend the same way it affected me. And I know this because that same boyfriend is now my husband and we’ve talked about our experiences being bullied, including at the hands of Robbie. He never even thinks about it anymore, whereas every time I pass a gaggle of guys, the impression that Robbie and his friends made is still felt in my reaction. My husband is a particularly self-confident person, though, with a “If they don’t like me, f*ck’em” attitude towards bullies and, well, pretty much the world. I could see how, if his personality were different, he would have been just as hurt. So maybe it wasn’t his maleness that protected him – I personally have a hard time separating his confidence from his masculinity.

            I mean, bullying is bad no matter which way you slice it. I’m not trying to deny that, or to dismiss your experience. I’m so sorry that you were bullied, and while I can’t pretend to know your pain, I can empathize with what it’s like to be bullied by the opposite gender in a way that has long-lasting effects on your ability to trust them.

            • I was actually going to ask how you could possibly know it didn’t affect him, but I guess considering you’re married that makes sense. With that said, you DID mention gender being a factor implying a broader split between men and woman than just the difference between two people… your husband and yourself. Your reference to that being where gender plays a role made it seem to me as if you are saying women suffer after effects of bullying and men do not. Obviously, that would be a dangerous stereotype to hold, though clearly it was just a semantic issue.

            • Your husband is one of 3.5billion males, does his experience ring true universally? It’s impossible to judge men’s reaction to bullying based off your husband alone. Some women I know who were bullied are like me and have Social anxiety disorder, avoiding a lot of places, others are now successful people who didn’t get s.a.d and have oodles of confidence, we all differ on our reactions.

        • Joey Joe Joe says:

          Did he ever tell you it didn’t bother him? Have you asked him about it in hindsight recently? You didn’t bring up any of this stuff yourself after writing it off. Look at it from his perspective, i.e. the masculinity perspective. To let teasing and bullying affect you, and to admit this to the “weaker” sex. Especially to admit weakness in the high school setting, which is one way to admit further bullying. What if you guys broke up and it got out that he was soft and sensitive and things bugged him?

          I recall in grade school having my “chicken legs” remarked on a time or two, or being called skinny. In high school I once had a woman waiting in line for late slips behind me remark “wow, you have no ass!” Her friend sitting next to her bolstered my confidence, and helped shape my perception on these kinds of negative body attention in the future by remarking “well why are you looking?” Clearly these things affected me, and I’ve always had issues with body image (which shocks most people if I disclose it).

          I never admitted these things affected me. Not admitting to something affecting you doesn’t mean it never did.

          • Joey Joe Joe says:

            Apparently I glazed over the husband part… although who knows, maybe he’s still maintaining the masculine “fuck ’em” attitude as a defense mechanism. I’m of the same attitude, but I still often carry stuff with me too.

        • “Here’s where gender does play a role, though – that teasing barely affected my boyfriend, but it (obviously) had a huge impact on me, my self-esteem, and how safe I feel (or don’t feel) around males. ”
          I am a male, and bullying affected me greatly. I didn’t like being around anyone, male or female, felt threatened constantly and it was so bad that I have social anxiety disorder from it and avoided humans for a long time. It’s ridiculous to assume men aren’t affected based on your bf alone….

    • I felt the same way around teenage women especially, it wasn’t sexual in nature but just as damaging. Always felt like just a fat virgin loser who couldn’t get a gf as I was harassing daily, for most of the day.

      Problem is as adults, the most we can do is call it out, what else do people expect us men to do? Go punchup the guys giving catcalls? We’re likely to be told to fuckoff n mind our own business, and even worse probably get threatened with with additional violence that the woman may not face as men are far more likely to go beat up another male than a female in public. It feels like our hands are tied, we can call the cops but that’s about it? Not to mention I NEVER EVER see this harassment happen so how can I really stop it? It’s like asking me to stop rape, uhh if I saw someone getting raped I’d come over with a weapon of some sort n goto town on the rapist anyway.

      There are times all these damn protect the women chivalry campaigns just make us men feel helpless and like failures, like we need to be around our women 24/7 to save them from the dragon. We can call out bad behaviour and not support it but I know of NO man that actually does support any violence against women, if you hit a woman here near many guys here you’ll probably cop a right hook to the jaw or at the very least mr policeman will be barking up your tree. But maybe I just associate around people that give a fuck about others more, cept women hitting men here still happens publicly and people laugh at it if anything…

      I don’t think rapists really are goign to change, the most we can probably do is try limit the abuse going around to help lower those who abuse from hatred, and do something about things like rape with alcohol, getting people to understand barriers more and not push them knowing or unknowingly. But I doubt we’ll ever stop rape, abuse or harassment fully. It’s worth a try but I do feel very very helpless in the matter seeing as it only happens when I’m not around….

      • Exactly, Archy. This stuff is just like the “men can end rape” shit – its a way to not only blame the men that do the bad thing, but blame *all the men* for the fact that they don’t stop the ones doing the bad thing.

        So its my fault, as a guy here in New Jersey, when a woman gets catcalled in New York, or raped in Wisconsin. Because I “don’t do enough” to end “rape culture” and I “don’t do enough” to speak out.

        Nevermind that, like you said, I’m a lot more likely to get physically assaulted by the group of men catcalling a woman, and nevermind that women are always going on about how they dont need some White Knight coming to their rescue – if a man I’ve never seen before, and will likely never see again, says something rude to a woman I’ve never seen before and will never see again, I’d better say something to him or else I’m a coward or a weakling.

        • I hear you both, and sympathize. It sounds like a tough spot to be put into and I can see why it’s frustrating and even annoying to be called on to end something you don’t even witness, let alone participate in. I think the intention of these campaigns is good, but I don’t think the people behind them put a lot of thought into how their message is perceived by men like you who aren’t participants or enablers in a firsthand sense. And lumping you in as part of the problem just because you share a gender with the offenders is absurd too.

          That said, the general public is called upon all the time to advocate for issues that only affect a small portion of the population.

          I guess the question is, though: Who CAN stop rape? Who CAN stop catcalling? Just the guilty individuals themselves? If so, how do we reach them? One way is to create enough social pressure to make the behavior unacceptable on a societal level, which is the premise these campaigns are based on, with the added premise that women can’t create that pressure alone without the help of men. You’re not necessarily being asked to physically or directly intervene in as many rapes and catcalls as possible; but rather, to talk about it, expose it, and help create an environment where it is actively condemned. Which means not laughing at rape jokes, not using the word ‘rape’ lightly, objecting to (or at least abstaining from) media that glamorizes or normalizes rape & harassment, etc. All of these are things women should do too – but the idea is, the message carries more weight when it’s coming from BOTH sexes, not just one.

          • Yeah I try to do that without gender these days. I just watched Dark Shadows and correct me if I am wrong but there is a rape scene in it, or at least coersion, whatever it is it was awkward to see. I don’t want to spoil the movie so ignore the rest of my comment if you haven’t seen it.

            Spoiler alert 1!

            Spoiler alert 2!!

            K so there is a scene where the main character has sex with the witch basically to stop her harming his family. The whole premise of the movie is about forcing him to love her, the scene was meant to be funny but I didn’t laugh….something felt very fucked up about it.

          • “I guess the question is, though: Who CAN stop rape? Who CAN stop catcalling?”

            All of us, by no longer supporting the societal institutions that lead to people raping, that lead to men catcalling.

            Some men who catcall justify it by pointing out that attractive women have a lot of advantages in our society, and along with the good attention they get bad attention, so it evens out. Some, as I said in the other post, harbor resentment toward women, especially attractive women – either because of the aforementioned advantages, or from experiences with women who have the “hot chick” attitude (the one where they’re capriciously mean and hurtful, especially to men, because they suffer little to no consequences from it). Men often feel tricked and trapped by women dressing revealingly or provocatively.. we hear country singers go on about “putting on tight jeans and watching them boys get riled up”… yet that same woman who puts on those tight jeans because they make her ass look good (and gets to enjoy all the vaious amenities of being an attractive woman) will become offended when guys look at her ass.

            And, to be honest, I think there is some truth to what they say, IN THAT those things DO happen, NOT in that it justifies harrassment. Attractive women do get benefits in our society, and women who are considered hot DO often develop shitty attitudes, and women DO often use men’s sexual attraction to their advantage.

            Again, it doesnt justify harassing someone. Understanding why someone does something is not the same as condoning it.

            I try to ask myself if, when, and how I play into the institutions that support those reasons. Am I accepting mistreatment at the hands of an attractive woman, when I wouldnt if she weren’t? Am I going out of my way to do extra favors for an attractive woman, and if so, why? Am I calling out people of BOTH genders when they put sex into a transactional context? Am I making an effort to communicate with women about issues like this? Am I talking to the guys I know about their behavior when it makes women feel uncomfortable?

  12. @Carlos

    “Why do men catcall women?”
    – They don’t. Jerks catcall women, and those make up only a fraction of the male population. If it was men in general, you wouldn’t be able to walk down the street and hear anything but the roar of catcalls. Stop the gender blaming, Carlos.

  13. How about a little amateur-ish experiment. Below is a live street cam from Times Square. I’ve watched it for about 5 minutes and noticed one minor incident of a male looking back over his shoulder at a passing woman. I don’t think that qualifies as a cat call

    http://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/timessquare/?cam=tsstreet

    • Looking back over shoulder if anything could be considered a compliment. Like it or not we are visually stimulated, and I don’t consider it all that rude if rude at all. Stupid maybe:P. But if teamed up with bad behaviour then yeah it becomes rude. It becomes even more ridiculous when some women start dressing themselves up and reallly going to the nines, showing off major cleavage, makeup, the works, and then getting annoyed that men look. It’d be like my friend with a perfectly chiseled body going around with a low cut, tight top expecting to never be looked at. Showing part of your breasts for example via cleavage in our society which usually hides them quite a bit makes cleavage sexualized sadly, and that’s like a huge magnet to many men’s eyes.

      I do see that women tend to be less obvious about their looking, I’ve heard they have better peripheral vision? I only usually look back over my shoulder if they’re wearing something silly like a costume and it makes me laugh.

  14. I think a large part of the problem is that many men resent women, especially attractive women. (No, its not because they think they’re entitled to her and are angry that she isn’t giving them what they’re entitled to). The way men and women are socialized virtually ensures it, sadly.

  15. Another article negatively generalizing men, accusing ALL men of catcalling.

    If there was not a desire to negatively generalize all men, the simple four letter word “some” would have been used.

    I have lived in NYC, DC, and a southern city. I know thousands of women all up and down the east cost. I have ridden the NYC subway and DC metro thousands of times and have heard very few women being catcalled, and have only heard one comment on it. And, that was how she came back hard at the catcaller. I know for a fact that many NY women won’t stand for being catcalled or otherwise disrespected. The will embarrass or worse anyone that they feel disrespects them or someone they are with.

    Regarding the question:

    Very few men catcall. So, only the ones that do it can really answer the question. And, the ones who do probably do it a lot, and do it for years.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      It’s not doing that AT ALL. Where does he say ALL men do it?

      • I think it’s the statements like “why do guys catcall women?” “Why do men catcall women?”. The lack of some, really does look like generalizations. It’s pretty obvious….dunno how people are missing it…

      • Joey Joe Joe says:

        Why do black people like watermelon?
        Why are Chinese people good at math?
        Why are Women beautiful?

        Are you getting it yet?

  16. Excellent post Carlos. There is a lot of denial in many of these comments, but you are totally on the beam. I know that there is a lot of catcalling by men–not ALL men, which you never did presume–and I have seen and had my share of it because it is real and exists. I have also gone through the agony of childbirth. I bet someone could write an article that said childbirth was very painful, and there would be plenty of commenters who had not experienced childbirth because they are men or childless women who would reflexively argue, “No it isn’t!” Further, they would deflect onto their own experiences with pain instead, while negating as much as possible the very fact that childbirth is painful. That’s how the internet works. Thank you for validating the experience of many, many women.

    • “not ALL men, which you never did presume.”

      Correction. If the presumption was that not ALL men catcall, why isn’t the article titled, “Why SOME men catcall?” People who write at this level know very well the difference between including “some” and not including it in such a statement.

      • If there were a title like “Why Women Date Handsome Men,” could you assume ALL women in the world date handsome men? Could you imagine that any women date average or below-average looking men, and that the title is simply referring to the ones who do date handsome men? Could you rightly infer from this title that no women date other women? The noun “women” in this title has no modifier, and you cannot just ASSUME the title refers to every single woman in the world, as if the imaginary adjective “all” were right there in front of “women” when it is not. This is just basic grammar.

        • Thank you, Lori.

        • Pffttt – the article is written in the voice of the very generic every man. It’s an appeal to the populous.

          “why do we do it guys?”

          Even I “willingly and reluctantly” partook….

          Come now – no need to dissect sentence structures for saving graces.

        • “If there were a title like “Why Women Date Handsome Men,” could you assume ALL women in the world date handsome men?”

          Answer: That’s obviously impossible, since not all men are handsome. I would realize that the writer was an amateur. This writer is not, and knows very well what a generalization is.

          Question: Why are comments such as “feminists hate men” moderated as negative generalizations about feminists but negative generalizations about men, such as this one, are not moderated?

          If that weren’t the case, there would be no reason to complain about this. But, it is.

        • Lori, what are your views on
          “Why do women rape”
          “Why do women kill their kids”
          “Why do women molest their kids”
          “Why do women marry up”
          Would they pass muster for an article? (genuinely curious)

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with any of those titles. If they were written in a balanced manner, and explained that obviously not all women kill their kids, and examined why some women did this and the risk factors/warning signs/ sociological implications and history, I think it would be fine.

            Interested in Lori’s thoughts, too.

            • I dislike them as they’re a bit ambiguous, it seems quite a few are seeing generalizations in the article itself even so I think the lack of some is detrimental as the message gets muddied up because of generalizations. It’s like when some guys say “women are gold-diggers” or when people say “men are rapists”.

            • Actually Eric raised a good point. What would you think of an article titled “Why do feminists hate men?”

            • Same answer. Not all do. I know that. Hey, there are plenty of people who *don’t* know that, and whatever, but the sentence doesn’t have an adjective. I might not like the article. I might not agree with it. I might not like it appearing on a certain site. I’d state my feelings about the *content* of the article. I’d probably say some do and some don’t and want to discuss it. But I would not tell the author he or she did not know how to write and was stating something he or she had not stated. I’m way more interested in the meat of the conversation than these kinds of detours, which, as a writer myself, tend to feel petty and distracting. And this needs to be my last comment on this topic so I can get back to work. I believe the grammar angle has been thoroughly discussed.

            • Ah ok, thanks for the discussion. Text can be damn confusing I guess, especially across different cultures or even just different people.

            • I assume in all those cases, Archy, that it does not mean literally every single woman. This is simple stuff folks. I don’t understand the confusion. Anyone can like or not like the *subject* of an article, but grammar is grammar.

              On another note, I dislike that this kind of picky and erroneous grammar dissection seems to be an effort to discredit what the author is saying. If we can agree that the word “all” cannot be assumed to be in front of “men,” what, exactly, is the problem with the notion of exploring why (some) men catcall and street harass women? Is it because this is a men’s site and some men do not want women’s issues on here? Fair enough. Then state that as your grievance. But please do not cloak it in semantics or state, unequivocally, that because you have not noticed catcalling, it does not happen much or at all. There seems to be a very, very strong need of some commenters to deny the existence of something that really, really exists and is a problem and needs a solution. The reasonable argument seems to be, “I don’t like discussing women’s problems on this site” not “this is not a problem” or devolving into grammar debates. Honesty is important.

            • John Anderson says:

              I think part of the problem is that when someone writes an article that people feel is unbalanced, the targeted individuals get defensive. It’s not that men on the site are unconcerned with women’s problems, but when an author takes the position that men are the cause of women’s problems while simultaneously failing to mention that some men are also harassed by some women, some men will look for reasons to say no I’m not the problem. If women are somehow over reacting, then they are the cause of their own problems. That’s why you get the disbelief. That’s why you get the push back.

              A friend of mine once complained that guys would rub against her in clubs even though they had lots of space. Some women do take the time to validate their observations. Women also realize that a guy can often keep his hands above ass level when they have to squeeze past on a bus or train. A woman had suggested that if you need to squeeze past people on a bus to keep your hands up if possible. I don’t know that I’d cross a street at night to not be walking behind a woman or wait for the next elevator so she’s not spooked, but even if you think she’s over reacting, I think all guys can keep their hands above ass level.

            • “On another note, I dislike that this kind of picky and erroneous grammar dissection seems to be an effort to discredit what the author is saying. If we can agree that the word “all” cannot be assumed to be in front of “men,” what, exactly, is the problem with the notion of exploring why (some) men catcall and street harass women? Is it because this is a men’s site and some men do not want women’s issues on here? Fair enough. Then state that as your grievance. But please do not cloak it in semantics or state, unequivocally, that because you have not noticed catcalling, it does not happen much or at all. There seems to be a very, very strong need of some commenters to deny the existence of something that really, really exists and is a problem and needs a solution. The reasonable argument seems to be, “I don’t like discussing women’s problems on this site” not “this is not a problem” or devolving into grammar debates. Honesty is important.”

              We’re not all raised the same way you do, or learn the exact same form of communication you do. I have no troubles with the female orientated articles on here as long as the balance stays in favour of men being a men’s site, and that we also balance it out with how women can be bad so we don’t end up with only one gender portrayed as bad, nor only one gender portrayed as good. I think part of what you’re seeing in comments is shock, and yes even disbelief in some cases, hence why videos would probably be a good idea if possible to give people a good look into what happens and raising awareness. I myself only question how prevalent it is, if it’s everywhere or limited mostly to cities. Still asking around my female friends, so far 2 of 2 have reported some harassment but not regular weekly stuff, and always when alone. I’m not gonna say it never happens, or that it’s rare, I am simply saying I haven’t been exposed to it nor heard about it much so it’s a big shock to hear and makes me sad that women and men even go through harassment. I did see plenty in highschool though, even I copped a shitload of harassment, even sexual harassment. Highschool is a cesspit of bad behaviour quite often…

              Lori, why do feminists hate men? Judging by this question, do I mean all feminists or some? I’ve seen time n time again people get upset when that exact sentence gets used, so why is it different for headlines as well? (No I don’t believe all feminists hate men, only a few but you get my point)

              I’m not sure if you realize but there are a lot of people who will negatively generalize about men, even those who cry foul when women are negatively generalized and so some of us may question the authors intent with an ambiguous statement like “Why do men catcall?”. Where I live, if you say “Why do women cheat” you’ll probably get your head chewed off for being a misogynist.

              There’s no problem in saying only some do it, but quite often many of us get the misandrist speeches, negative generalizations about men so it can easily be read as meaning all men. I find it to be extremely poor grammar and causes a hell of a lot of arguments.

              I dunno about you but I’ve heard “Why are men such pigs”, “why do men rape”, “why are men so violent” and there have been quite a lot of people stating that who are negatively generalizing against the majority of the gender. Is it really that hard to say some?

              If I said women are bitches, do I mean some or all women? Anytime I’ve seen a guy say that he’s copped the misogyny label, why is that?

            • “There seems to be a very, very strong need of some commenters to deny the existence of something that really, really exists and is a problem and needs a solution.”
              Why does this problem need a solution? I agree that it wouls be great if there was no street harassment, but what does need mean here? The reason I am asking is because I believe, that while we as a society can reduce street harassment, by emphasising mutual respect and manners more and employ more social control of people who act out, we can not eliminate the problem. In a free society there will always be some people who harass strangers, who assault other people, who murder. Saying problems like this need to be solved, is giving an unreachable aim.

    • Pain is very subjective, a broken arm for one person can be worse than childbirth for another. Averaged out childbirth I believe is about 3 on pain, number 2 is kidney stones, and 1 is suicide headaches. But even then it’s subjective so it’s not an exact guide, I’ve had women tell me their kidney stones were worse than childbirth but of course their childbirth may have been quick. All I know is pain hurts and the worst I’ve had was a severe back spasm, and then a kidney or gallstone attack that had me dry reaching n crying in pain with the cold shivers. Worst days of my life!

      I don’t see too much denial in these posts, I do see denial that maybe street harassment isn’t as widespread as many assume, but there is also the possibility that it is as bad as people say. What I do see a lot in these comments is an emphasis on perception, the same act to one person may be annoying but not overly harassing whist to another it could be extremely degrading. So the harassment may exist but the tolerance for it is probably much higher for some, but also it could be some women are misreading situations, brushing up against a woman could be a grope or it could be because everyone is so huddled together. That seems to be in a few comments.

      I myself know street harassment exists, I’m just rarely/pretty much never around for it so I feel helpless on what to do, with the people I know I don’t think any of them ever would support harassment and they’re more likely to tell someone off. Actually I do remember one incident, I am a photographer and had a car ful of guys drive past yelling out somehting like “beautiful” or WOOHOO, the model laughed, I felt annoyed and said sorry for them. I’m not sure how she took it, judging from my male mind I think they were trying to pay her a compliment but it’s also a rude thing to do but I’m not sure if they meant any ill intent. Judging by her body language soon after I THINK she was ok with it, I asked her and she didn’t seem to give a damn but seeing as it was a car driving past the threat was very low plus we had other photographers n models around, and I am a large male who will bark at them if they decide to investigate. A young male on a bike rode past slowly, he looked like he saw an angel, it was pretty funny.

      This model is very beautiful of course and we were shooting near a road so I guess there is an element of it being distracting by being a rare occurence, a model shoot, a bit of glamour as she was dressed to the nines and looked fantastic, all the camera gear was there which is rare as hell to see around here, I’ve never stumbled across a photoshoot before like that. So I am torn from what to think of it, it annoyed the absolute shit out of me as I know harassment happens, they were gone straight away as they were driving past at the speed limit (60km/h), so no chance to tell them to be respectful. I see people write that it’s done from a point of trying to be dominant n controlling, but for this particular case I’m not sure I felt that? To me it looked more like a bunch of young happy guys trying to compliment someone in the wrrronnggg way vs them trying to make her feel shit, threatened, etc.

      If it happens with people walking by I will ask them to please be respectful because nothing shits me off more than people bothering others, especially when I am trying to get beautiful portraits of the model (male or female I’ll do this) and they need to be 100% comfy otherwise you can really see their discomfort in the image.

      It’s quite possible she saw it only as a compliment, whilst I percieved it as a compliment but rude, others might percieve it as harassing. Maybe if she was alone they might have been far worse or slowed down, or maybe they would have done the same and just driven by. I’ve been in a car with a bunch of young men in the city, we drive along the esplanade which usually has a lot of beautiful women, also has the very pricey louis vutton stores and I guess middle-upper class women who really go all out with their style. We’ve driven past n had a look here n there at women, and we’ll say to ourselves DAMMMNN, but we never ever ever yell out to her or purposely stare.

      It’s probably immature to do, and we’re all single, but I can tell you the intentions are pretty harmless, just a bunch of young single guys who’s eyes are totally blown away by beautiful women as where we live it’s quite rare to see people in bikinis, or dressed up bigtime, or even women of our age being the most common people there. That area is mostly 20-40 year olds whereas where we live you generally see a very wide variety of people, and low-middle income, more guys than girls, and usually the girls are with their boyfriend whereas on the esplanade you’ll see groups of beautiful women together, I think people tend to be in singles more there? It’s a holiday zone and you get quite a lot of peopel sunbathing there.

      But what would women think of us guys? Do you think we’re the kind to drive slow n holla to everyone? It’s very common, I’ve seen the guys n girls do it, young adult sexuality going overdrive I guess. I personally see no ill intent with that and don’t think it’s rude, but if people start yelling out then that crosses the line bigtime, if they slow down, or stalk, or linger too long that’s another huge problem. We would be on our way to the movies or killing time between events by driving around, hot laps people call it.

      I guess it’s a question of how common this all is, I am wondering if it’s more common in certain areas like cities, is it a certain kind of person? Low income earner or uneducated? The only place I know where street harassment happens quite a lot is a place called Summernats, a car festival in Australia and it’s pretty bad from what I hear but it’s also quite a mix of people. Some women willingly flash their breasts, a bunch of guys will also chant “show us ya tits”, and I’m sure women do get harassed there. Alcohol is consumed there so you get quite a lot of drunk “yobbos” who quite frankly some will just act like animals. Maybe bars n clubs also have a lot of sexual harassment too, along with verbal and physical abuse, to me most public harassment seems to be around alcohol.

      But I hope you don’t think I am in denial about it, it’s just something I pretty much never see, it’s very rare and I don’t even hear women talk about it here. I’ll ask some friends to find out if they get harassed. What I have said isn’t meant to deflect anything either, I am curious as to how common it is though. To me it sounds like a big problem mainly in the cities or around alcohol. The most common harassment I see is someone telling another person to F off/F you and fights breaking out. Does this all happen when other men aren’t around?

      If anyone does find themselves in a situation again like that, if it’s safe, would you be able to somehow record it? I think videos on it could really be good to highlight how bad it is and I think should be shown as part of sex ed classes. Hell we need part of the class on how to pay a compliment respectfully, and when it’s ok or not ok to do so.

  17. A good piece. Well written.

    I see more men glaring and staring at women than catcalling….Also, blowing their horn at women is another silly and absurd thing.

    I could never figure out this aspect of things with men. What is it exactly that these men are trying to really accomplish?

    I look forward to your book Carlos.

  18. In my cat calling experience(s) – I’ve found them to be younger men, more often in a group, more often immigrant / second generation (read Italians), bluer collar, less education, more followers than leaders –

    Given the above, and if statistically truer than not, how can they best be made aware?

    I bet some would say that free PUA memberships would do the trick…

    • The worst street harassment I have experienced occurred when I was younger and living in San Francisco. It involved a group of young immigrant men who I believe were from Central America. They hung out every morning outside the Muni rail station which I used to get to school. The stuff they said was often In Spanish but I spoke a little Spanish so I knew what they were saying. Also, the leering, whistling and kissy noises needed no translation. Their behavior disgusted me. They were very crude and threatening and sometimes even followed me for short distances. One morning I was just sick of it and I started screaming at the guy who was following me, like I was a crazy woman. He looked terrified and ran away. No one in the group ever said a thing to me after that, although they always stared at me with angry expressions on their faces. i realize they were uneducated and from a different culture where maybe that sort of thing is acceptable. I don’t know. I don’t even really know how to talk about this experience without sounding politically incorrect. I’m sure they were angry about something, maybe angry at Americans, maybe angry about violence they’d grown up with in El Savador or Guatamala. Maybe they saw me as just one of the snobby American women who sneered at them and disrespected them because they were poor undocumented immigrants. But I had no doubt if it wasn’t broad daylight in a public place, they could have hurt me very badly. So that was scary.

      Other than that, I fortunately haven’t experienced any consistent or severe street harassment, but these days I live in the suburbs,

      • Maybe they’re gender norm policing, to the standard of the “old” country? One of my Daughters’s friends has quite short hair for a HS girl …… Her Mom from Dominican repub. calls her on it for being non-feminine….her dad is fine with it. When she visits with my kid…and asked/spoke about it, my wife and I said it looks cute and total fine….cultural differences…Not that the Catcalls comments are right or OK……Fired a guy years ago who did that as a truck driver for us at work……but need to prove it affected job performance first…also from central america.

      • That has been my experience as well Sarah – it’s funny how we tip toe all around this general profile of the common cat caller, and would rather speak to systemic/endemic underpinnings that serve more the political theory than the reality.

        I grew up in Naples Italy, which is really the Olympic training grounds for gaining and practicing street smarts, and on my very first trip to New York City, while I was walking around town with my Aunt, we were followed by a small group of Hispanic young men who decided that we were going to be their next target of street entertainment – needless to say, my Aunt cancelled the show with a severe stare down that sent them quickly into retreat. I know this sort of thing is not for everyone.

        Still – the street prize rests with the Italians (from Rome south), in the form of young men with Vespa scooters.

  19. Well today I travelled from 57th & 3rd to the South Street Sea Port, started the day at 34th and 7th, headed to the village, went back up town & then all the way down town- did not hear or observe any overt cat calling…. And I’m observant enough to found 2 flattened rats today…
    Really & truly, show of hands, who heard a cat call today?
    Wolf Whistle?
    That hiss Chica! thing that was popular in the disco era?

  20. Joey Joe Joe says:

    With all the attention on the title, I just reread the whole article. Where does he ever mention “some” men? He ends it again with “Why do men catcall women?” I replied to a post above with other examples:

    Why do black people like watermelon? (It’s not racist, I didn’t say ALL black people)
    Why are Chinese people good at math? (It`s not racist, I didn’t say ALL Chinese people)
    Why are women beautiful? (Not so fast ladies, I didn’t say ALL of you).

  21. LOLing Woman says:

    When a man TOUCHES someone – it goes beyond a catcall.

  22. I REALLY hate when this happens to my 18 year old younger sister. It even happens when she is walking her daycare kids down the streets through our town. It is bad enough that guys make obscene gestures and cat calls at her at all but they do it when there are a bunch of 5 and 6 years old with her? It is disgusting.

  23. Thank you so much for this. Way too few guys see this as a systemic issue and not just “there’s a bigger picture/it’s a compliment/get over it/stop dressing like a slut.”

    • Of the 2 Female friends I’ve asked so far, both have taken it mostly as a compliment. Of course I need to ask more but why are they seeing it as a compliment? It’s not always a compliment but I do believe quite often it probably is, just a compliment in a very rude manner.

      • When take it has a compliment for various reasons. Some see it as a self-esteem booster; a “damn I must look good” moment. Others are desensitized to the point where it’s just another man trying to get my attention…no biggie. I am 23 and have been receiving cat calls since the age of 12 when I was walking to my grandparents house and a man in the car stopped me and said “Lord please let her be 18.” I didn’t think too much of it then, but now I don’t allow people to constantly yell “Hey You!” or “Damn you sexy” and get a rise out of me. It’s not funny. Yelling at a woman, interrupting her day with a overt comment about her appearance or body is not a compliment. It’s low and gross. I wish more men would do this kind of introspection and think about their moms, sisters, nieces, friends, and daughters. If you really want to compliment her a simple “Excuse me miss, I just wanted to tell you how beautiful you look today” is sufficient.

  24. Well here is the most sexist thing I observed today- at the train station this afternoon a guy about my age offered to & did hump a young lady’s rolling bag down the stairs to the parking lot. But I’m looking.

  25. Thank you so much for posting this. It’s really nice to see that men really do think about this stuff and are not completely desensitized. Just a few weeks ago I was being followed by an unfamiliar man on a bike for several blocks until he stopped, exposed himself, and began doing obscene things. After telling my (usually sensitive) partner about how much it bothered me, he made a joke and said he “didn’t think it was a big deal”.
    How ridiculous that some people can become so desensitized to these things. It really is a big problem.

    • Manda, that’s far more than cat calling, that’s a sexual offence. Did you report it? Where I come from he would be charged and put on the sex offenders register.

  26. I think men just want us to be afraid.
    And it works often enough.

    I don’t go out alone if there is an option – even to the grocery in the middle of the afternoon. I never dressed “slutty” (well… in college when it was appropriate), but I don’t dress up at all anymore and when I get catcalls in my casual clothes, I usually down grade them to around the house only. I wish I were hypersensitive, but I know a lot of women who won’t wear shorts in 100 degree heat because of street harassment.

    I just can’t help but think that shut-in asocial never-seen-in-public-without-a -man is exactly what men want when they catcall. Look at who does the calling; the stereotypical macho types mostly. They re-enforce the need for a strong male by making women require a strong male to protect them from other males. They create a niche for themselves by creating fear and then playing the hero.

    • Some men maybe, but not all men. I want women to be confident n happy, feel strong n powerful just as I want men to feel.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ rosie
      “I just can’t help but think that shut-in asocial never-seen-in-public-without-a -man is exactly what men want when they catcall. Look at who does the calling; the stereotypical macho types mostly. They re-enforce the need for a strong male by making women require a strong male to protect them from other males. They create a niche for themselves by creating fear and then playing the hero.”

      I don’t catcall. I won’t deny that protecting my female friends doesn’t give me a good feeling, but I think we all get a good feeling when we help someone or do something for a person we care about. Everyone wants to be needed. I think it’s a human trait and not just a white knight or male thing. Where I think I can improve is by disabusing myself of the incorrect idea that just because I’m not part of the problem I shouldn’t be part of the solution.

  27. Answer to Q1: Men catcall to women because they just want some kind of female attention.
    Answer to Q2: What can we do to stop it? We can talk to our male friends about how demeaning it makes us feel & that it is also a form or harassment/violence against women. I personally confront the catcaller/s and ask them if they would talk to their mothers, sisters, girlfriends or wives like that and it instantly shuts them up & they walk away either after apologizing or in embarrassment.

  28. This has been an interesting discussion for me. When I was younger, much younger, I lived in an urban area and experienced cat calls with some regularity (few times a week at least). Usually from younger males (20’s) in groups. If it bothered me a lot I said something. If they weren’t exceptionally vulgar I ignored it but that’s my personality as well. The only time it really bothered me to the point of feeling unsafe is the time two older males followed me for 3 blocks whistling and calling to me. That crossed a line from the simple cat call to something creepier.

    Now that I’m older living rurally I still experience the periodic cat call. Usually from people smoking outside of the bars with their buddies and it really doesn’t phase me. I have a history of violence against me in my past and I guess I just see something like that on the violence scale as something that I’m not going to waste my time getting upset about. I know it’s not a representation of all men and it is of those individuals. I enjoy my life too much to let a handful of stupid people dictate by their behavior how I’m going to enjoy myself. I will dress up if I want to, walk down the street and so on.

    I’m not liking the comparison I see here of cat calls and purposeful groping. To me those are two entirely different things. I have to do some of my job in a shady apartment building where I’m stuck in the elevator. I’m purposely groped at least once a month there by predatory people. And it’ snot a brush or something like that. It’s a meaningful and purposeful squeeze. There are no cat calls involved with that violation. So random groping and cat calls to me a two whole different things in my world.

    • I agree, groping is assault – cat calling is just irritating at worst. Like you I just ignore cat calls best I can, because I’m older it happens less anyway, but out jogging this morning I got it twice, it always happens when I run – both times groups of men, they never do it alone in my experience. It’s got less to do with the woman I suspect and more to do with male bonding – it’s only a certain type of minority who do it, put bluntly they seem to be of low intelligence. Not a lot we can do about that, if you guys want to confront other guys about it then fine, but personally I have always and will continue to ignore it.

      • In the cat call world I have seem groups of younger women doing the same thing to men they find attractive as well. So I don’t think this is simply limited to men doing it to women. Women have done it as well. And oddly enough at work today we discussed a woman doing it to another woman as well in a non-street environment.

        In my experience in the urban world cat calls seemed to just simply happen in groups or at least pairs of men. Never lone men doing it. And it crossed all racial lines so I couldn’t even say that there was a stereotypical group (other than typically younger males in groups). Rurally in my experience it doesn’t depend on race either but I do see the cat calls happening around the shadier bars.

        Unless it’s sickenly vulgar I plan to continue ignoring it.

        • Are those women drunk? I’ve seen sober groups of women harass men before but that was mainly in high-school.

          • I’ve seen sober and drunk women both. One group I see more frequently doing it are older women in the 40’s typically targeting younger men (20-30’s). I’ve seen gaggles of young women doing it as well to both older and younger men. And some awfully lewd comments were thrown out even after the men indicated they were interested and/or married etc. Sometimes follow up to that were pokes and prods about their sexual preference. So yes, I’ve seen this directed at men as well.

        • Kat, it is absolutely not the same. I’m not saying it’s not rude for women to catcall men, but saying it’s the same is like crying reverse racism (i.e. it doesn’t exist and it completely ignores systems of oppression). Men catcall women because they can; because they live in a system that gives them the authority and privilege to tell women how to act, what to wear, etc; because they’ve been acculturated to believe that women are objects; because they are traditionally stronger and larger than women and then can seem threatening. Women absolutely do not have that power over men.

          • What utter bullshit you speak. If you assume women can’t be threatening to men then you need to step outside and smell the fresh air. The thoughts you have on power are the reason for male victims of sexual abuse to be routinely ignored n treated as less harmed, less of a victim and the women always get it worse.

            And trying to use racism when racial privilege and gender privelege are so different they’re not even comparable. When women become 10% or less of the population, then you may start to compare. And if you don’t think oppression against men exists then you need to check your privilege 😉

            I am completely dumbfounded as to how people assume women have so little power in our society, as if women aren’t telling men what to do, how to act, etc. You think women have zero power over men’s actions? Sounds like harassment apology or whatever you’d call it, making excuses to show women get it worse and when it happens to men it’s not as bad. Well I’m sorry, but I won’t stand for misandrist bullshit. Considering cat-calling tends to happen in groups against a sole person, your theories on power go out the window because you forget 2 women can easily overpower one male. But hey I don’t expect everyone to understand male vulnerability, especially when they start talking about systems of oppression and most likely have no clue what male oppression is because not many people even bother to mention or study it, and will happily sit there spouting But da menz have alll da powerrrrr whilst ignoring all the men who are crushed under the foot of the elite who have power. The average male has no real additional power vs a woman in Australia, nor the U.S. Hell wait till a world war starts again and come tell me who has power when men will no doubt get conscripted again. Elite men and elite women have power. Hell women as a gender have more voters, and thus have more power than men in the U.S.

            • Archy, if you don’t understand how sociology works and think there is no difference between describing the qualities of a SYSTEM and saying that absolutely everything works like that all the time, you are worth nobody’s time. How at all did my describing how the system works to give automatic approval of catcalling make the assumption that women can NEVER be threatening, and where the hell did you pick up anything about male victims of sexual abuse. There is certainly a thing going on there, but it in no way de-legitimizes what I said, because I was describing the general function of something, not saying that there is no other way for things to occur ever. Get a clue, please.

            • “I’m not saying it’s not rude for women to catcall men, but saying it’s the same is like crying reverse racism (i.e. it doesn’t exist and it completely ignores systems of oppression)”
              You try to negate the impact of female led sexual harassment on men by comparing it to a COMPLETELY different system being race. They’re not comparable, at all.

              It’s also a common form of ignorance I see where someone tries to negate the harmful effects to men, such as sexism by comparing it to racism and acting like sexism against men can’t exist. Are you sure you understand society itself?

              Now if you want to say women catcalling men is rarer than you probably have a point, but to try act like it’s damaging effects are non-existent is pretty damn silly don’t you think?

              “Women absolutely do not have that power over men.”
              Do you mean women have no power over men, or less power over men?

            • Okay, I was not comparing it to racism. I don’t play that game. I was comparing it to the idea that you can derail a conversation by saying that some women perpetrate the catcalling thing just as many people try to derail conversations by crying reverse racism. Comparing derailing; not comparing oppression. I don’t compete in the oppression olympics. In saying “Women absolutely do not have that power over men,” “that”‘s antecedent was the long list of system-based privileges, which women AS A GROUP of concepts, not as individuals (just so we’re clear and you dont’ tell me that there are strong ladies out there, as if I didn’t know) do not have, because that’s not the way the system works. Is that clear now?

          • John Anderson says:

            Power is a very tricky thing. When I was accosted by the three women in the park, I knew I was stronger and faster. I would have given myself a good chance to win a fight against the three. I also know that if I did and they denied (and possibly even if they admitted) having assaulted me first, I would be the one going to jail. Consequently, I couldn’t use my superior strength and speed so what good was it? Any man who was taught that you’re not allowed to hit a woman is at a serious disadvantage in a fight with a woman.

            • I don’t deny that there are times in which men are disadvantaged BECAUSE of their position in the hierarchy of most systems of oppression. You’re right; I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t believe that you were at fault in a situation like that. But really, it is still true that the system of catcalling works because for the most part, the men have either the real physical power or the real social power in the situation.

            • Considering most cat-calling seems to happen in groups against a sole target, the male’s physical strength is easily over-powered by multiple women, and in that situation women do have social power over that male in the form of being in a group showing aggression. Numbers matter. Maybe I live in a different country to you but women here sure do have quite a bit of power especially in a group…

      • BritterSweet says:

        It doesn’t matter whether the guys do it for the woman’s attention or the woman is just a prop for them to bond with each other and it “isn’t about her.” Either way she ends up suffering embarrassment/fear from their actions. It’s like if you go on a hunting trip. Your reason for shooting a deer may be for its meat/antlers, or just to impress/bond with your buddies. Either way the deer dies.

  29. I find it odd that street harassment of women is seen as completely different from street intimidation of men.

    – It is the same groups of guys who do it
    – The goal is to intimidate the victim and make the perpetrator look and feel powerful.

    The words are different, and the actions are different; groping, compared to a hard push. But the intent and perpetrators are the same.

    I suspect that it is size, and capacity for violence privilege that is at work here, rather than male privilege. If you believe this, then the solution is to stop all normalization of violence against all people, men and women, instead of shouting “don’t hit girls” more loudly.

    Also 90% of violent crime has a male victim.

    • Let’s say you are right. What do we do to decrease the incidence and how to we shift a society so that fewer people decide it’s a good idea to intimidate others just for fun? How do we make the city streets and traveling better for all sexes?

      • Joey Joe Joe says:

        Awareness.

        Stop painting women as the sole victims, stop painting men as only perpetrators, stop shrugging off male’s experiences of being victimized.

        “Be the change you want to see in the world”
        -Ghandi

        • Indeed. I’m certainly working on all those things in my daily life and in my advocacy. I’m not so much worried about me, I’m thinking how to continue to build systems that bring compassion and empathy into parenting, that help create a culture of plenty vs scarcity, that identifies why bullying of any kind develops.
          Those are my “how” questions.

      • We have to take the long haul approach: If we start treating men better from birth to death, then we will have a better class of men.

        Men (and women) are the product of their upbringing. Most men who bully were themselves abused.
        We have to stop treating men in monstrous fashion (starting with the unkindest cut) and acting “surprised” when we find we have created monsters.

        A good place to start (to address child and adult bullying) to reduce child abuse is to give fathers greater access to their children post divorce. Single mother households represent the greatest risk for abuse of children several fold over 2parent homes. Mothers commit 70% of all parental child abuse and 70% of all parental child slayings.

        We have to remove the idea that fathers are optional to families. We also have to eradicate the mother bias from family courts and from social workers.

        Look at the story of baby P. Social workers had been to her house some 85 times in the boys short 3 year old life. Yet, he was never taken from that home. Many many children who are killed in single mother homes have fathers who tried to warn cps over and over, but since social services are largely manned by single mothers, most do not ever recommend removing the child from the mother.

        This wouldn’t pay dividends for 20 years, but it would restore the civil society. It’s time to end the horribly failed social experiment of replacing dads with checks and *acting surprised* that now the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

  30. I’m really touched that you would stand up against catcalling so long as you don’t get physically hurt. Never mind (probably) if a woman is …. she probably has nails or pepper spray.
    What was the point of your article again?

    • So men HAVE TO put themselves in physical danger now?

      You also claim that a woman being catcalled (probably!) is going to get physically hurt.

      Question to ALL the women reading this: How many times has being catcalled led to you being physically hurt? That is, the times when the person doing the catcalling followed it up by actually making physical contact with you.

      Because, as far as I’ve ever gathered, people who actually physically sexually assault people AREN’T the ones screaming dirty, obscene comments on a busy public street. They operate as quietly as possible, usually get to know the victims, and involve drugs or alcohol.

      I’m not defending catcalling or saying it’s “not so bad” or comparing it to physical sexual assault – but I am challenging edels statement that a woman being catcalled is *probably* going to get physically hurt.

      • wellokaythen says:

        A very good point here. The ones who catcall are very rarely the ones who physically assault. The men who grope women usually don’t speak loudly; often they say nothing at all. I don’t associate catcalling with physical assault. I associate catcalling with flashing. I think if you want to understand catcalling, the place to look is men who engage in indecent exposure. I think those things have common motivations.

        (I have no numbers on any of this. This is just my impression, from someone who has not seen a man catcall a woman in at least 10 years.)

        To be fair, though, from the perspective of the person being catcalled, it can sure feel like a verbal assault. It doesn’t necessarily feel like someone who’s not going to touch you. It’s hard for someone who feels threatened to tell themselves, objectively, “those are just words and it’s the quite ones I have to watch out for.”

  31. Reading these comments is disgusting. I cannot believe that there are accusations of women LYING about being catcalled. Never once did Carlos ask you to decide whether or not street harassment was prevalent. He asked you to discuss how men could react better when they see a woman being catcalled.

    I’ve seen comments calling women liars about specific instances mentioned. And then the same commenter discuss his own problems with bullying. How would you feel if someone accused you of lying about being bullied in high school?

    I saw a commenter request that women wear hidden cameras because he couldn’t possibly imagine what catcalling was actually like. This same commenter later rates the pain of child birth and kidney stones, and admits that he has experienced neither and is just going on word-of-mouth. How come you can’t take someone’s word for it when they tell stories about their harassment?

    I’ve seen countless comments about the fact that Carlos writes “why do men catcall women?” instead of “why do SOME men catcall SOME women?” Even though, immediately afterward, Carlos writes “What can we do to stop it?” In this second question, WE=the men who DO NOT catcall. He is a man who does not catcall writing to an audience of men who, he presumes, do not catcall.

    I’ve even seen women on this site decide that, because they have only been street harassed a handful of times in their lives, this isn’t as big of a problem as Carlos would have us believe. You know something? Only once in my entire life have I not had enough money for food and had to ask a friend for some help. You know something else? Hunger is a major problem in this world even if it does not directly effect me.

    I do not live in NYC and I get street harassed, grabbed at, groped at, honked at, etc on a regular basis. I am not confused. I know the difference between a stumble on a crowded bus and a man grabbing my hand and pulling it toward his crotch. I know the difference between someone giving me a compliment (“hey! nice shoes!”) and someone making a lewd remark at me. I know the difference between someone looking back at me and someone driving his car around the block multiple times, slowing down when he nears me, and then cussing me out when I refuse to get in his car. This has nothing to do with the time of day or the areas I frequent or my behavior or mood. This has been happening to me since I was in middle school, in the multiple cities/towns/suburbs.

    This article was referenced on another website that I frequent and I had never heard of it before. I do not understand why a website titled “the Good Men Project” has attracted so many commenters who distrust women to relay their own experiences.

    It is vile to discount any person’s experience as a lie or an exaggeration or a misunderstanding if you were not there to experience it also. In what existence does the inability to empathize make you a “Good Man”? Or a good person at all?

    • First, she said she was groped every single day. I called her out on that. I didn’t call her out on being catcalled. Work on your reading comprehension.

      • Why is it hard to believe that she experiences unwanted sexual touches on a daily basis? Why do you think that is a lie? She has no reason to be lying to you.

        Please don’t attempt to insult my reading comprehension. You are just embarrassing yourself. I’m not sure why you chose to be rude to me but que sera, sera. I would be highly surprised if you read past the first few sentences I wrote. And, if you did, the Reading Comprehension Fail is evident. But, what should I expect from a man who missed an average of 50 school days a year? Tell me, how did you continue to miss so much school after your parents were arrested and you were placed in foster care? An average of 50 days a year is appalling and CPS would have been notified quickly. I feel obligated to point out that when using ordinal numbers, you are presenting a list. “First” is not just some fun way to begin a sentence. It should be followed by a “second” and possibly even a “third.”

        You have proven yourself to be a liar. Yet you accuse others of lying? For shame.

        • “And, if you did, the Reading Comprehension Fail is evident. But, what should I expect from a man who missed an average of 50 school days a year?”
          Wow really? You’re coming into a site for men and insulting a male survivor, and insulting their intelligence to boot? Great job. And yes you can miss 50 school days a year and still have a decent education, how do you know he didn’t goto university and do a degree in English?

          Seriously, you’re ignorance is disturbing. Now you do raise a point or two with regard to believing survivors experiences, but considering you fail to understand my comments I am questioning how much of a point you really have. Maybe you don’t realize this up on your mighty horse but not everyone can relate to text alone, and that video evidence is much more in your face and shows body language, vocal tones and other things you can’t pickup from text alone which can really send the message home. But hey continue on your crusade and misunderstand us all.

          • I insulted this man’s intelligence. This is correct. It seemed to me that taking shots at other people’s intelligence was acceptable, seeing as how two people have done it to me.

            And the part about me “insulting a male survivor”: I was doing the same exact thing that he did to the woman who stated she was harassed on a daily basis. In reality, I do believe that he skipped school in an effort to avoid bullying. I just wanted to make the point about how gross it is to discount someone else’s experience.

            Do you only watch movies and never read books? What are you doing reading a blog and not watching a vlog?

            • I insulted this man’s intelligence. This is correct. It seemed to me that taking shots at other people’s intelligence was acceptable, seeing as how two people have done it to me.

              And the part about me “insulting a male survivor”: I was doing the same exact thing that he did to the woman who stated she was harassed on a daily basis. In reality, I do believe that he skipped school in an effort to avoid bullying. I just wanted to make the point about how gross it is to discount someone else’s experience.
              Yeah but sinking to the same level isn’t good. I don’t agree with him ignoring her experience, hence why you’ll see a comment saying I believe her up there. I do wonder though if most women go through it to that extreme, not saying that it’s impossible but it’s shocking to me and makes me wonder who exactly is doing it.

              Hence why the video is important to me, I want to be able to hear the vocal tones and body language, is it a group of guys with a leader, is it one guy alone, text can only explain so far but seeing it as it happens I think is very very powerful. It’s like the school bullying videos, people can say their experience and yeah it’s shocking but seeing the video on the news for example of a kid getting belted up really puts it on your face and shocks people. I personally think there is a lot of power in the recorded events like that, I hate that they happen, but I think when recorded it can really show people exactly what it looks like, and couple that with a vlog later about how that person feels I think it’d be easier for the viewer to put themselves in that position or try to understand better.

              I notice in the news when there is video and people see something like an assault, or other negative experience, people tend to react more. I’m not asking people to use video to prove that it happened, I know it happens, but I am a 6’6 large male who these days doesn’t get harassed and I don’t think I’ll be in a position to see it happen to a lone woman for example, it’s clear that these guys cower away when others are around so it’s gonna be hard for me to understand how they’re acting. It’s possible their vocal tone and actions are similar to what I have seen guys do, but the negative response by women detailing it makes me think there is a lot of other behaviour that I don’t see.

              Take for example my friends I’ve asked about it, they’ve said they’ve been cat called and had people say stuff to them which they took as a compliment, but other times they’ve had the same as it’s been scary. What is the difference? Is there a tone of voice, is there body language showing aggression? I have seen people call out stuff to women before, recently when on a photoshoot I had a group of guys in a car driving past yelling somehting like hello beautiful, and wow, their tone of voice was positive although it was rude but the model I believe took that as a compliment. I thought of it as harassing, but they seemed to just be guys trying to pay a compliment in a stupid manner, their voices were positive, they seemed happy, not really aggressive cept calling out, they didn’t slow down.

              So it makes me curious is there a major difference in the tone of voice, body language n actions of those that make women feel threatened with catcalls? By the way nothing here justifies it, the only time a catcall is ever acceptable is between good friends who know they both are complimenting each other (which is the majority of catcalls I’ve personally seen, since I am a guy and not the target of the negative ones).

              And if it answers your question, I get far more out of movies than I do books as I am very visually orientated. Books have never been able to trigger me seeing 2 lovers embrace for example and kiss, or the raw n sheer fear of war, there’s no body language or vocal tones to hear which to me is so lacking. Text requires too much guesswork and use of ones own history and experience of the world to try visualize a scene, for example I could see a scene one way which is threatening as hell yet others are comfy. I find movies/video makes it much easier to understand the person when you can see their body language.

              You can probably guess I hate the news in newspaper form, I prefer video to see it. I dunno if you have ever seen it but seeing any of the Iraq war videos where a missile hits a nearby building really sends the message home of how fucking scary it is, whereas someone saying “I was afraid and heard a loud explosion” doesn’t really do too much to portray the level of fear. In movies if there is a rape scene, I can’t watch it, because it’s disturbing as fuck to me, it REALLY impacts me hard, but reading it in text form makes me disturbed not to the same level. I guess seeing something happen for me impacts me far more than a recount of it later. I dunno if you are the same but I think that a recorded incident would be a great tool to educate people about it, even an accurate portrayal by actors would be good to send the message home. I’m not sure how else to explain it but simply seeing it has much more impact to me than hearing about it, text just can’t accurately portray the body language or tone, and whilst it’s important to hear a survivors experience and how they felt, it’s also important for others to accurately see what the harassers are doing, be able to detect that threat in their tone of voice, body language, and then have the survivor tell us what they found threatening if we don’t at first notice it.

              It may not be a great idea, I dunno, it’s just something I wish I could see firsthand in the sense of trying to understand it better and feel it’s a great way to educate people. Although quite frankly, I wish it never ever happened. It’s the same as I kinda wish the bullying, harassment, n assaults I had against me were recorded so I could show people what it’s like, though I suspect that one is easier to understand as it happens to both men n women, whereas this harassment in the article seems mostly against women so it’s no surprise why men in particular are in shock over it. You gotta realize that I don’t think women are often telling men, or anyone that this happens, I surely have never heard women talk about it until I started reading online blogs, etc. I see the same shock and even disbelief when people are told about the rape stats for men and how high they are, denial sets in for a bit but then they seem to realize “Holy fuck this shit is bad”. So yeah we need more people to speak up about it, just as the author seemed shocked to hear it happen and it seems many women brush it off as nothing, wouldn’t you feel shocked if you had heard about it the first time if you had never seen it happen, or experienced it? The denial, etc is bad but I think that’ll go away with time and more people opening up about it, it’s hard to believe something so common if there is a huge silence about it.

            • I would suggest you google “sexual harassment caught on tape/camera” because there are vids out there. ihollaback also has stories. Also, if you have friends ask them about the tone etc.

            • I didn’t even think to google for videos, hah. Brainfart moment.
              I found one but it’s in a different language which makes it a lil more difficult to understand. ht tp://media.smh.com.au/technology/digital-life/sex-harassment-caught-on-camera-3569205.html
              Need to find one for Australia or the U.S, something close to my society (English based). The vocal tone sounds mostly the same as people giving genuine compliments I hear randomly in life in that video though cept nearly all I hear are friends saying it to each other, not strangers. Sounds like a mix of people, some trying to give compliments, and some simply seeing the women as meat as the guy later describes in the video. Either way it’s aggravating that it happens.
              ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESdZDwcA5iM Trailer for the film in Brussels, is that similar harassment to how women in Aus, the U.S experience or is there a culture difference?

            • Archy, I think you are falling ito a mistake of thinking that street harassment may be okay if it is a “compliment.” I do not like it when strange guys yell things at me about my appearance. It feels belittling and reduces me to a set of body parts. Yes, a compliment is better than if they say something crude, but I don’t want some stranger interrupting my day and startling me by yelling anything at me. It’s embarassing. It’s rude. It makes me feel a little vulnerable and upset. Maybe your friend really took it as a compliment or maybe she just frames it that way to herself so she can deal with it without getting upset.

            • I NEVER think it’s ok, even if I think it’s from a point of being a compliment. I think my friends mostly take it as compliments depending on the other actions, eg a whistle alone might be ok to them but if they start following etc then it’s crossing a big line. I can merely see that some are trying to compliment in a silly way, I don’t ever think it’s acceptable though.

              Reason I asked about the tone is curiosity of how many are trying to compliment in a dumb way, vs how many are trying to make the woman feel bad.

              If they say it politely, not yelling out, does it ruin your day or bug you? If so is it worse if they yell out from afar? Are there certain things that are ok, like saying Nice dress? I’m not gonna try any of these of course, just trying to get a better understanding of it all. Do they ever say something like hello beautiful n ask you out from it?

            • Thank you, Sarah…for your support…

              Archy: It’s not a compliment…some random guy said to me as I was in my usual rush to go to work: “I love you, Beautiful!” …it made me feel icky, NOT beautiful, because you some random comment from some random guy in the street is not a compliment….he probably says the same line to at least a dozen females on the street…the assumption is that females are idiots who would believe such nonsense from a stranger or that we are easy or that we are street walkers…..He looked like he was drunk or maybe high (or maybe out on the street all night long)….YUCK! Sometimes with these street people, if you say something back, they retaliate with cursing or get insanely angry….it’s scary sometimes because you don’t know what they are capable of…or if they just came out of a homeless shelter or out of a bar or out of some correctional facility….

            • Check out “Femme de la Rue” on ihollaback.com….it’s a documentary by a woman in Brussels who wears a hidden camera..she also does other videos with an open camera and, interestingly, interviews some of her harassers….some of it may be due to cultural/societal factors (some of her harassers are non-natives of Brussels = Arab? in origin; some of them are un-employed and perhaps feeling powerless in their adopted land)…it has English subtitles, but if you can understand Belgian French, then all the better!

            • Thank-you, Yeah I stumbled across that the other day, I am hoping there is an Australian or U.S.A version, something english with a very similar culture to here. Where I live I don’t think I’ve actually met an Arab sadly. But it is interesting and aggravating to see it happen even in different cultures. I hope more people see it so they can be more mindful of their behaviour and others.

        • If you want to insult my grammar, you should be certain your grammar is perfect. You should go back and read “The Elements of Style” to remind yourself that you cannot start a sentence with a conjunction.

          Why is it hard to believe? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Making the claim that you are the victim of sexual assault every single day is a truly extraordinary claim. Not just sexual assault, mind you, but sexual assault in a public place by a different stranger every single day. The notion that this is possible is preposterous and clearly a lie.

          You can complain about my use of colloquial English all you like; however, I know without any shred of doubt that my IQ is at least two standard deviations above yours and probably more than three.

          You greatly overestimate the systems designed to protect children if you believe a child will be taken away for missing a great deal of school.

          Thanks for playing and feel free to try again!

          • Yeah, you really can’t have a reasonable discussion about this stuff on the internet. It always turns into a show of one-upsmanship and Opression Olympics.

            First its “Men catcall sometimes”. Then a few women respond with “It’s happened to me a few times”. The next batch is “It happens to me a lot.” And then “I get harassed on a daily basis! Everywhere I go all the time!”

            Its been proven that people misremember things all the time. So when a whole group of people (in this case, women, specifically) start mining their memories for times they were ‘harassed’, as another female commenter mentioned, the memories are likely to be exagerated (a guy turning his head and smiling becomes a man threateningly leering and openly drooling while making suggestive faces).

            So “some men catcall sometimes – we can all agree it’s wrong, and maybe theres something we, as a collective, can do about it” becomes “men sexually assault every woman every day”. There’s no point in even considering the latter because it does not reflect reality.

            And then the blatant misandry: as I said before, every possible explanation HAS TO come down to “men are evil”. “Men think they’re entitled to women!” “Men slutshame and claim they cant help themselves!” “Men are scared little boys and need to oppress obviously superior women by making them afraid!”
            and my current favorite

            “Non-catcalling men who aren’t willing to be physically assaulted by a group of catcalling men are weak cowards and just as bad as the catcallers!”

        • Disturbed:
          Regarding Collin’s denying your experience and calling you a liar, I understand his sentiment but not what his tactics.

          When you say that you are groped, grabbed, insultingly slurred *daily* you do realize you are an extreme statistical outlier? From what I have surmised reading these forums women having this issue 2-4 times a year is about the norm.

          I understand your rage at Collin denying your experience, but I don’t think it’s exactly kosher of you to represent your highly abnormal situation as average either.

          I think what Collin is railing against is how articles like this seems to draw *many* women out of the woodwork who have highly unusual problems with aggressive men in their area.

          I feel bad for you, but from speaking with my female friends and family and reading comments here, your experience seems to be an aberration.

          The last time I saw somebody come on here and state that this was her experience she turned out to be a deeply disturbed person. When Eric M (who I believe works in health care or some kind of advocacy) said he knew 100’s of women who didn’t have this experience this poster (I think her name was “Oh No”) started vociferously attacking him, even wishing that somebody would murder him.

          Then when pressed, she would state things like “I’m tired of being attacked on this thread”. She was very passive aggressive.

          In my experience women who come on here and tell stories like this, the purpose isn’t to voice their concern about the issue, but to make it seem like *extreme daily* harassment is common among women.

          It’s not.

          • It was a different woman, and she didn’t say she got harassed every day which, while bordering on unbelievable, I would give the benefit of the doubt; she said she got GROPED every day. That is a lie.

          • I wasn’t the person who said I was groped daily. She didn’t seem to be presenting her situation as the norm. Many commenters were discussing how they NEVER see street harassment and she was just presnting her experience as the opposite of that. Some women never get catcalled, some women get catcalled dail. I agree that the majority of women arevictims of this a few times a year, at most. But if someone experiences it more often, that doesn’t make her a liar.

            I didn’t know that these pages had a history of people making false claims. I can see how that would make some readers take any statement with a grain of salt. It is really unfortunate that commenters here were made so jaded because of interactions with that woman you mentioned. I still think Collin is extremely rude and hypocritical but I really appreciate you (John D) for helping me understand this mindset.

            • I guess I had a misunderstanding about what was said and who was stating it.

            • Well, we can’t know they are false claims. I would say they were absurd claims. And a fair amount of the time these posters bringing these absurd claims are later revealed to be somewhat unhinged.

              I remember fairly well the poster “oh no” getting insanely angry and throwing all sorts of smears and insults at Eric M for simply stating that her experiences (with daily harassment) were not the experiences of the dozens/hundreds of women he dealt with for work.

              However, when Lisa and Julie stated this wasn’t their experience she was all unicorns and rainbows in her reaction.

              Additionally, she posted a link from a blog called ballbusters4ever (or something) that “proves” patriarchy is alive and well and harming women. When I looked a few other threads I found one that said essentially that manhating was a noble endeavor.

              These kinds of articles really seems to draw out people (mostly women, but not always) with an agenda to increase the idea of male perfidy.

              @ Collin: I wouldn’t have stated she was lying, but I would have stated that her case was beyond belief and that if true it was far far outside the statistical norm for the vast majority of women.

              Here is the thread if you’re interested in reading it. This thread is back before the mods were doing a good job of striking comments w/personal insults, so it’s very interesting.

              http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/bash-patriarchy-not-men/

            • This thread is back before the mods were doing a good job of striking comments w/personal insults, so it’s very interesting.
              ah yes, the wildwestian, gunslinging days of GMP.

    • “I saw a commenter request that women wear hidden cameras because he couldn’t possibly imagine what catcalling was actually like. This same commenter later rates the pain of child birth and kidney stones, and admits that he has experienced neither and is just going on word-of-mouth. How come you can’t take someone’s word for it when they tell stories about their harassment?”

      You’re reading comprehension is pitiful. I have experienced kidney stone pain, but hey misread it some more. I’ve also seen harassment happen, if you bothered to read my comment you might realize that I find it hard to truly grasp the exact nature of it as usually I can only read text. It’s hard to pickup on their vocal tone, body language from the survivors experience alone, I never once doubted that it happens. If you think asking for video as evidence FOR OTHERS TO SEE is somehow doubting the survivors story then you really are reading things in my comments that are not there. And by the way, I had a woman tell me in HER experience that a kidney stone was worth than childbirth, and I said that pain is also subjective and not everyone feels the same pain. Childbirth for some could be far worse, for others kidney stones can be the worst.

      I am disturbed by your sheer lack of understanding in these comments and major projecting. You seem to absolutely fail on reading comprehension.

      “It is vile to discount any person’s experience as a lie or an exaggeration or a misunderstanding if you were not there to experience it also. In what existence does the inability to empathize make you a “Good Man”? Or a good person at all?”
      It’s called shock, they are shocked to learn of that and yeah probably some denial as well. That specific commenter was questioning whether it was a daily occurrence, and from what I gather, didn’t think most women got it daily. It’s a far cry from simply denying it ever happens.

      • He specifically called HER a liar. Her experience doesn’t have to be average or typical. It is her own experience.

        Stop accusing me of poor reading comprehension and of projecting. It makes me laugh. See….it’s funny because you are the one who can’t understand something unless it is in video form. This is a serious issue. NOT A LAUGHING MATTER.

        But seriously. Keep the ad hominem out of this.

        • Who says I can’t understand it at all? I seek better understanding, text never ever can give the full understanding of a situation. I know full well it’s a serious matter, and yes you fail at reading comprehension if you think I can’t understand something unless it’s in video. I’ll make it very clear. Text offers one form of knowledge, doesn’t account for body language, vocal tone, it relies on the subjective experience of the person detailing the situation. I wanted to see additional info on what the harassers are doing, how they say it, what they look like when saying it, none of this you can get from text.

          “Stop accusing me of poor reading comprehension and of projecting. It makes me laugh. See….it’s funny because you are the one who can’t understand something unless it is in video form. This is a serious issue. NOT A LAUGHING MATTER.”
          “But seriously. Keep the ad hominem out of this.”
          Do you want them kept out, or do you want to continue making them? I still think you do have a point to some degree but you’re either your reading comprehension is lacking, or I completely suck at making my point known. Either is possible and I will admit I may be hard to understand and if so I apologize.

          I said pain was subjective and that one pain to one person, a kidney stone, could be far worse than their own childbirth, but others may not experience that much pain with that particular condition. I think kidney stones rank a bit higher on the pain scale, but of course that really depends on the stone itself, the time in pain, size of stone, how that person reacts to that form of pain in comparison to the labour experienced by someone, is it a quick or long labour, are their complications etc. If you google kidneystone vs labour worse pain well for me it shows a lot of women who’ve had both saying kidney stone was worse, hence I rank it 2 unless someone convinces me otherwise. It was a reply to a comment which was offtopic and I prob shouldn’t have even said it.

          I think part of the reason there is denial or people assuming it isn’t as bad as others do is their perception of it, their experience, how they handle the situation. Just as some get through labour quick and don’t feel too much pain, others can be flattened by it. Just like street harassment I believe, some seem to be bothered heaps by it, degraded, scared, others seem to brush it off. This is my guess as to why there is a lot of denial, or at least questioning of how prevalent and bad it is. I probably failed at explaining the pain analogy better.

          • In my experience, reading allows me a better understanding of a situation than watching. I guess we are just different in that aspect. I failed to realize that and I sincerely apologize. I value empathy and I’m disappointed in myself foor not realizing that different people respond to different mediums in different ways.

            I do understand your point about perception leading to denial. But that doesn’t mean tht the denial is warranted.

            • No problems, we all learn in different ways and I’m glad you realize it. I find hands on and video based learning better than textbook based, which is annoying for the schools we have here:P. Hence why I like recorded video vs text.

              There’s no justification for it, just giving my view of why I think there is denial.

    • Stinks to me of slutshaming and blaming women for being so damn irresistible that men can’t help but treat them like they’re objects. I agree; it’s disgusting and offensive, and it happens in all cities. I grew up in the southwest, have traveled to NYC, have been in cities in nine different countries, and now live in Boston. It happens everywhere.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ Disturbed

      I’m sorry you had to experience that harassment. People look at Good Men Project and just see Good Men. People don’t get that men come here to discuss how to be a good man. I know that I’m still trying to figure it out. I even had one commenter criticize me for having the temerity and honesty to question my motivations. It’s not helpful to shame men who are making a good faith effort to become better people. Remember this is a project. It hasn’t been completed.

      I admitted that I feel good when I protect my female friends, but I think that because they know I got their back, they are more willing to open up to me. I don’t know that every man here has a relationship like that with the women they know. It makes it easier when a woman tells you 50 times over the course of a year that she’s being harassed rather than telling you at the end of the year that guys have been harassing her every week. I’m not saying it’s right. It’s just being human. People do need to get over their initial shock. You can only use it as an excuse so long.

      To the guys, I’ll say this. Let’s say that she is over reacting and only 10% of what she thinks is harassment was actually intended that way. If she’s saying that she being harassed almost every day, that’s at least once every two weeks. That’s a major problem. Being harassed was hard for me and I was only tormented for three days although it was a bit more constant as even our rooms and bathrooms weren’t safe. Still three days is a lot different than a lifetime and would I have been happier if one of the girls spoke up and retrieved our clothes. I think that’s what the women are saying. Think back to when you were harassed. Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone spoke up for you?

  32. wellokaythen says:

    One day a few years ago I was on a university campus at a bus stop right across from a construction site. I happened to be there in between classes, when a lot of students, including many young women, were walking on the sidewalk in front of the construction site. I noticed two or three construction workers behaving somewhat oddly. They were taking a break, sitting side-by-side in chairs next to their trailer, facing the sidewalk. I’m guessing they had been warned about catcalling or being a nuisance to young women, because they sat absolutely still, their hands on their legs, with expressionless faces, never spoke to each other, and never turned their heads. They just sort of passively took in the sights without calling attention to themselves. (Well, except for the zombie-like stillness.) Once there were no more young women crossing in front of them, they got up and put their chairs away and went back inside. I thought the whole thing was really funny. Give human beings any rule and they’ll find some loopholes.

    Now, were these men to be chastised for what they were probably thinking? Were they gawking, or were they just sitting there?

    • I feel the same/similar way at times where it is so bad that for a long time I wouldn’t even talk to strangers. But now I’m like fuckit, as long as I remain respectful and friendly then it’s all good, people are in public, people should expect to be talked to. I usually find people are fine, there is that sense I get when people are ok with talking and when they aren’t. Don’t be a pest with it though, just be a friendly happy-go-lucky person, but maybe that’s my small town’ness coming back in to play.

      I find it sad that people are now so worried about harassment that they’re just shutting down, all that’s gonna do is make for a cold cold society. Looking away, delaying their own life (sitting when they were finished instead of going back to work or talking, whatever) is bad too, reminds me of abused people who don’t look some people in the eye and look away out of fear.

  33. I just published a post on this, because I was a little skeptical myself, coming from the UK, about the scale of the issue here. To all the guys above who think it’s not really a big problem, I’ve spent the last couple of months travelling the US and have experienced roughly 5 incidences of harassment a day. I know, because I started logging them on my phone.

    And yes, these cover everything from calls, to hisses, to whistles to hellos. Most have been disgusting and rude, some seemingly polite, but the point is, all assumed that they had some right to interrupt my day and most reacted unpleasantly if I had the audacity to, for instance, finish my run in peace.

    Please don’t derail a necessary conversation about the power play of SH and men’s attitudes about it with other ‘issues’, especially if the derailment takes the form of telling us all women are exaggerating and it’s not really a problem after all. It rather means you missed the point of the article entirely.

    • Did it happen as often in the UK or is it the U.S that has a much bigger problem? I think the exaggeration comments come more from thinking it happens everywhere at a high-rate, when it might be more common in the cities. The exaggeration comments I saw came from women though.

      • Much bigger in the US. If you want to read why it’s more of a problem than an irritation, click on my name here. It’s he most recent post. It’s long, so I can’t paraphrase accurately here.

        My point above was simply that we need to start this discussion where the OP does, with SH being actually in existence and damaging to women/equality, not by back tracking, apologising or questioning people’s experiences.

        • I read your piece, and I don’t think the experiences you described were imagined, and many of the specific examples you gave are unlikely to be regarded as anything but harassment by the commenters here. It’s possible to empathize with that and decry your harassers while still questioning some of the perceptions it led to, such as:

          Not one ‘hello’ or ‘excuse me’ has been anything other than a phoney segueway to lecherousness, so why would I even bother now to respond?

          That sounds like an understandable reaction of someone subjected to a very negative or even traumatic experience, but it sort of defies belief that *every* “hello” or “excuse me” you encountered was nothing but a lecherous come-on, because it’s in such stark contrast to what so many men who say those things know they mean by them. Either you’ve had a terrible run of bad luck, or such exaggerations are just that – exaggerations – albeit unintentional ones.

          I don’t think you’re intentionally man-bashing at all, but it’s a little like some guy who’s been cheated on a couple times saying all women will cheat as soon as they find someone they like more. Understandable, yes, but still wrong despite his “confirming” experience.

          So yeah, maybe this discussion has to start with acknowledging the existence and damaging effects of harassment, but it won’t get very far by treating every “hello” or “excuse me” as a precursor to harassment, or asserting that any time a woman feels threatened, there’s a bona fide external threat, never just some distorted thinking happen based on prior experience.

          • Btw, Katy, I liked your harassment piece and the others I sampled. I didn’t like what you suffered through, of course, but you write with an engaging style and good flow, so I encourage others to go have a look, especially if you’re into travel and/or running. :)

          • Amen to that. It makes me not even want to be friendly for fear she will be uncomfy, can men even say hello anymore? I dunno about women but I feel more comfy on an elevator for example when people start talking about random stuff, I had a 30 second talk with someone in hospital about our illnesses and it made me feel safer. I went to an airshow n talked to a guy about the planes, he was a mechanic in the army in vietnam and had quite a lot of knowledge. I’d hope I could talk to a woman like that and ask about random shit, if she’s in a pilots outfit I’d ask about flying for instance.

            Luckily pretty much everyone I say hello to says Hi back and seems ok. But I guess I am also able to see when they are angry, nervous, etc and I don’t talk to them if they look like they wanna keep to themselves.

            • “can men even say hello anymore?”

              From what you’ve said, it seems you don’t live a large city, right? I live in a really large one now, and I grew up in a smaller city that likes to convince itself it’s a small town, but in my mind, it’s still never all that okay or necessary to say hi anyway. For one, I think that’s how many people validate their harassment (“I’m just being nice and saying hi and giving you a compliment!”). And for two, what is the point of saying hello to someone you don’t know, when you are not in a situation that prompts random, friendly conversations (i.e. standing in line together at the bank, at an airshow)? I guess I’m just confused about the “anymore,” since even though the place where I grew up had the kind of social norms when you always nodded to your neighbor even if you had no idea of their name, I’ve never found it anything but off-putting and weird for someone (especially a man, because as time goes on and catcalling and following increases, you tend to get wary and nervous) to go out of their way to say hello when courtesy doesn’t say you have to.

            • Maybe I live in a friendlier society? We’re humans, humans are social creatures, we say hello n talk to strangers at times. I was at the airshow and wanted to know what the aircraft’s identifying name was so I asked someone I figured would know, wearing what looked like attire the mechanics, pilots n others involved wore (had various emblems on it relating to flying). I had my big camera there too and had a random teenage boy ask me about cameras which I was happy to talk about. The mechanic I n had quite a long talk and as far as I can tell he was 100% happy with chatting, very friendly.

              Do you talk to the checkout workers when they are pricing off your groceries? They are strangers, and I constantly see people striking up conversations and even they themselves strike up convos.

              Why do I get this feeling that many women commenting here truly want to make a society that is very unfriendly, is it because you mostly get harassment? Can you see no benefit in random friendly talk (I don’t mean sexual, or catcalling, which I think is very bad). I’ve asked women and men where an item is in a shop before, the other day I had a woman ask me, should I be thinking OMG harassment?

              I think it’s sad that some women are harassed so much that they appear to be on edge, maybe I am wrong but I get this sense from you that random small talk is now very negative, I’ll guess that is because you mostly get sleezy bastards creeping on you? I could be wrong.

              I don’t like the current unfriendliness in society, it sometimes feels like people are too damn scared to talk to each other. I have quite a severe social anxiety disorder and part of my therapy is to also strike up random convos and I’ve found them all to be quite friendly and decent which is good, it’s making me far less afraid on the streets and I think that others could benefit from that too. Doesn’t have to be a 5 minute convo, but 10 seconds, 20 seconds is fine (eg asking where something is, complimenting their handbang, I’ve had plenty of women tell me how beautiful my puppy was when walking him, etc).

            • Archy, you are BOSS at selective reading. I said very clearly WHEN YOU ARE NOT IN A SITUATION THAT PROMPTS RANDOM, FRIENDLY CONVERSATIONS. What part of that was so difficult to understand that you had to come up with a bunch of examples that are SITUATIONS THAT PROMPT RANDOM, FRIENDLY CONVERSATIONS and tell me I was crazy? Of course talking to a cashier is fine. What is not normal is going out of your way to talk to someone when you have no cause to interact with them. PLEASE stop trying to prove everyone wrong by only reading parts of sentences that appeal to your need to be argumentative. And for the love of all that’s good, get thee to an Elements of Style and learn not to comma splice!

            • You suggested the airshow wasn’t a place for random convos, and I disagreed. Situations that prompt random convos to one person can be different person to person. Where did I say you were crazy? I dunno where I have implied it but it isn’t what I thought at all. I think we may have different ideas of what prompts random convos possibly but that’s about it. You’re not the only woman I am talking about here you know?

            • [MOD NOTE: Edited to remove personal insults that violate the comment policy. Cut it out.]

              I suggested that airshows ARE a place for random conversations.

            • [MOD NOTE: That goes for you, too.]

              Ah, the sentence reads both ways.

            • I also thought you intended standing in line and airshows as examples of places that are NOT appropriate for random conversations, coming as they did after “…not in a situation…”. Now that I understand, it’s nice to see you and Archy found some common ground. Maybe you can talk about it more some day in line for tickets to an airshow. 😀

            • Sorry, yeah I live in a small town. Guess that could be why it seems different.

        • I had a read, good blog post you wrote. :)
          Maybe because I live in Australia in a rural town I haven’t seen it much or heard women talk about it much, never heard of it being once a week or daily, it’s making me think it’s far more common in the U.S or maybe just more in the cities?

    • Hear hear! derailing for dummies dot com, please.

  34. @Marcus Williams – thanks for the vote of confidence :) I’m a complete n00b at blogging, so all compliments are welcome!

    As for your point, yes I do understand how angry that sentence sounds, but as I go on to say in the post, I’m really sad about how defensive I feel. I’m a pretty easy going person, I’m travelling solo so random interactions are my lifeblood right now and my natural inclination is to be polite and friendly. Believe me no one was more disappointed than me to find that most of the innocuous hellos or requests for directions were actually bad come ons.

    Do you have those charity chuggers on the street who try to get you to give them money where you’re from? Imagine that whenever you go out one of them tries to stop you at least once a dayevery day. You’d probably be pretty irritated, right? Now imagine someone else approaches you who isn’t a chugger, but they do it in the same way. What’s your first reaction likely to be? I’d guess, leave me alone, I don’t want to give you my money etc. Lastly, to get where I feel I am now, imagine that person doesn’t seem like a chugger at all, in fact they seem fine, then suddenly the conversation turns and you realise they’ve just asked you for money. How would you feel? Betrayed? Annoyed at being duped?

    I’m tired of being disappointed, but *I* didn’t do this, *they* did and that’s what upsets me about the tenor of some of the above comments. @Archie when you think ‘can’t I even talk to girls anymore?’ your exasperation should be directed at all the other men who eroded our trust.

    Seth Godin did a recent blog post about this http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/09/the-people-who-came-before-you.html

    As for tone etc, I was at breakfast yesterday and the guy next to me at the bar gave me a suggestion for the diner’s best orders. He was polite, friendly and when I smiled and said thank you he didn’t push it. I took a deep breath and realised that my initial trepidation had nothing to do with him and asked him about his favourites. We had a nice breakfast and he got double points for not instantly exiting the conversation at mention of my boyfriend.

    Had he decided to shout about his favourite sandwich at me in the street, however, I might not have been so receptive.

  35. “@Archie when you think ‘can’t I even talk to girls anymore?’ your exasperation should be directed at all the other men who eroded our trust.”
    Be careful not to end up with a bigoted view towards men though, otherwise you’ll be similar to those guys that think all women are gold-diggers and just cheat due to their experience.

    To me it seems only a few women are being bothered so much by random small talk (not sexual harassment, etc) since I’m not finding women are getting angry at me or showing any negative signs when I talk to them. I am from a small town so maybe that is why it seems to be more rare with me and my friends. I’m also in Australia if that makes a big difference.

  36. An equally important question might be why don’t women catcall?

    Actually I’ve heard them do it a few times, but the circumstances do seem to be different……they tend to be a little more discreet, although to be honest I wish they weren’t. It’d be nice to know that someone out there finds me appealing physically but I guess no one does. Anyway, asking this question is a little like asking why do we yell ‘OW’ when we burn ourselves. It is part culture of course (maybe foreigners say something different?) but also largely human, I think to have sudden strong feelings, and to vocalize them. Whether or not the receiver finds that act rude or complimentary might be bedside the point, even if we’d rather not admit that to be the case.

    I find myself commenting on women’s appearances when I see them through a closed window, and I am ALONE in a room. On that note, if I am wise enough to think before I speak, I try to be considerate.

  37. A bully is a bully is a bully. Men harass women because they can get away with it. The woman is “easy prey.” And she’s not easy prey because she’s smaller—there’s ways around that. She’s easy prey because for a long time nobody has given a damn if a woman was harassed, just like people in my quaint Southern town didn’t really care if the “white trash” went around calling black people the n-word to their faces. Cause what else can you expect from lowlife rednecks? Blacks should know not to walk through those neighborhoods. Society says what it thinks about a group of people not just by what it does to a group of people, what what it ALLOWS others to do to them. A bully is a bully is a bully. The weak and the mean and the bitter will always pick on those that society doesn’t protect. The imbalance of power between men and women in society and especially in the public sphere has had everything to do with catcalling, sexual harassment being accepted as normal toward women. Men will always notice women. Men call women bitches and sluts when they know they can get away with it. And it’s not all men, it’s mainly the weak, insecure ones. But they do it because they can. Because we let them.

    It will take more than laws to change it. It will take a continuing shift in how men are taught to think about women and how society itself respects its female citizens.

  38. Definitely imagine that which you stated. Your favourite reason seemed to be on the internet the simplest thing to be mindful of. I say to you, I certainly get irked even as other people consider concerns that they just do not know about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as neatly as outlined out the entire thing without having side-effects , other people can take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thank you

  39. To answer your question Carlos – Men do not cat call. Boys cat call. Immature, insecure, little boys who do not understand what respect is and probably should have been removed from the gene pool boys cat call. A Man does not engage in this kind of disrespect towards anyone, especially women. A Man understands that his purpose on this Earth is to protect and preserve women and to ensure they walk the Earth freely. I have never, nor ever shall, cat call or make any other rude gesture, comment, or intimidation toward women. I have even gone so far as to ensure my eyes are looking straight to my shoes if I pass by a woman who I feel might think I’m taking advantage of her in that way. We change it by changing the male culture. We create the definition of a man to mean what it should mean – and we enforce it.

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