Last week over at the magazine we featured “A Good Man’s Guide to Catcalling” by Katie Baker. She breaks down the problems with catcalling, citing numerous studies and attempts at curbing the problem—including a post I wrote about New York City’s proposed ban on catcalls.
Katie wrote that woman need to confront their harassers. Men can tell women they’re beautiful, they just need to do it respectfully. Women need to tell men why certain things—however obvious they may be—shouldn’t be said. There is a less threatening way of saying “Goddamn, I’d love a piece of that.”
But is she unfairly grouping all men together here? And what about the male victims of catcalls? Can that even happen?
Demosthenes XXI wrote:
By all means, stand up for yourselves if you feel that some man has gotten out of pocket with you (but please be street-savvy enough to know how to pick your battles). But to come here and place the burden for “defending your honor,” on us collectively does not sit well with me or many other men and being a liberated woman, shouldn’t you be able to stand up for yourself?
Back in November, he also commented on my post about the possible ban on catcalling:
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?
To that, Laur responded:
One thing men seem to be missing when comparing wolf-whistles by women directed at men is that, according to research by Carol Gardner (link), there is not the same feeling of absolute fear felt by men that women feel.
I know this feeling intimately, for I feel it several times a day.
Thanks to Laur and Demostenes XX for commenting.
But what do you guys think? Is there a double standard here? Are men just expected to easily shrug off a degrading comment? Or, as Laur suggests, is it a valid double standard? And do all men get unfairly lumped in with the catcalling harassers? Let us know what you think.
—Photo Ed Yourdon/Flickr