No More Catcalls?

If you’re a construction worker in Manhattan or you live in the Bronx, you might have to keep you mouth shut. Lawmakers in New York are considering banning catcalls from the city’s streets.

While it may be a citywide tradition, numerous groups are fed up. Hollaback, a group fighting against street harassment, is pushing for the city to commission a study, public-awareness campaigns, and, possibly, legislation creating “no-harassment” zones.

Holly Kearl, a national street-harassment expert (yes, such a title actually exists), believes that catcalls have deep-seated negative effects on a woman’s psyche:

Kearl, author of Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women, said she informally surveyed more than 800 women from 23 countries and 43 states, and 99 percent of them had been harassed by strangers.

“Because of street harassment, from a young age women learn that public spaces are male territory,” Kearl said. “They learn to limit the places they go, they try not to be in public alone—especially at night—and when they are alone, they stay on guard.”

Hollaback also contends that some women have broken leases, quit jobs, and skipped school because of the “incessant unwelcome advances from strange men they pass on their commutes.”

Maybe if more guys were like Todd, we wouldn’t be having this problem:

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About Ryan O'Hanlon

Ryan O'Hanlon is the managing editor of the Good Men Project. He used to play soccer and go to college. He's still trying to get over it. You can follow him on Twitter @rwohan.

Comments

  1. Thanks for doing this piece!

  2. Go for the throat says:

    Make a law and enforce it. I have been sick of this crap since I first entered college in 1965. I was walking with a friend, think 6’2″ bull dyke, and a bunch of construction workers pissed her off so bad she picked up a 2 by 4 and headed for them.

    No one has any right to infringe on anyone else’s space, illegitimately.

  3. PeteMoylan says:

    Is there going to be a law against the women sexually harassing men by wearing skirts that go 3 feet above their knees?

    • Well, wearing revealing clothing does not fall into the same category as hate speech, so…that doesn’t actually fall under sexual harassment….

  4. As long as the law is written and enforced equally, then that’s fine.

    I have seen men harassed by drunken women out on a night on the town more times that I can count. Are those women going to be held to the law too, or will this be another example of gender-bias in law enforcement?

    • Sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder – here’s to hoping that you weren’t one of the people harassed by drunken women.

      You raise a valid point, although I fear that too many men will be socialized against standing up for themselves if (when) women harass them.

  5. One thing men seem to be missing when comparing wolf-whistles by women directed at men is that, according to research by Carol Gardner, there is not the same feeling of absolute FEAR felt by men that women feel.

    I know this feel intimately, for I feel it several times a day.

    Thank you.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] York City lawmakers are considering an official catcalling ban, but I’m not sure how successful that could be. Is it really possible [...]

  2. [...] York City lawmakers are considering an official catcalling ban, but I’m not sure how successful that could be. Is it really possible [...]

  3. [...] York City lawmakers are considering an official catcalling ban, but I’m not sure how successful that could be. Is it really possible [...]

  4. [...] catcalling, citing numerous studies and attempts at curbing the problem—including a post I wrote about New York City’s proposed ban on [...]

  5. [...] York City lawmakers are considering an official catcalling ban, but I’m not sure how successful that could be. Is it really possible [...]

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