These are comments by Archy, Mori and Salvice on the post “Working-Class Beasts and Rape Culture“.
“I have a serious question. If the whistling was only followed with ‘polite’ compliments, you look good instead of nice tits, and there wasn’t the additional layer of fear from the other street harassment … Would whistling and how do I say, nice compliments? Feel as negative as they do to many women? Could women take it as a compliment if they weren’t assuming (and rightly so) that they’re doing it whilst thinking of them in a negative manner?
“My understanding is that wolf whistles usually come with sexual comments and other negative attention which make it near impossible for them to be taken as a real compliment? (And the hyperfocus on female looks in media doesn’t help either with how many women feel it’s all they are valued for so compliments on beauty become too much compared to compliments on other aspects of her life/mind/etc.)”
“Street harassment is, by definition, different from a compliment. If someone wants to compliment another, they don’t usually do it at full volume or in front of many sniggering other people, as street harassment often occurs. Even if the street harassers are only saying things that would sound fine in a different context, it is very annoying for someone who appears female to constantly have to ignore these shouted, humiliating ‘compliments’ when they are merely walking around.
“Someone yelling ANYTHING at you can be intimidating. For example, when I was at school I had a close friend who got harassed a lot in our neighbourhood for being quite eccentric. When she walked around in our area groups of kids who spotted her would start yelling out her name in an intimidating way. It is fine to yell someone’s name if you know them and need to get their attention, but that is a world away from what they were doing, which was taunting and provoking her. It was not WHAT they were saying, but how they were saying it. Not only that, but like a lot of street harassers they already knew perfectly well she didn’t want their attention.”
“As a Western cultural norm, whistling at someone is disrespectful, period. Whistle for a server, you’re getting spit (or worse) hidden in your food. Whistle at a woman, your actions will immediately be interpreted as predatory. If one can’t take the time or lacks the social skills to grasp another person’s attention using words, that person is more than likely not worth the trouble.”
Photo credit: Flickr / waferboard