The Catcalling Debate

catcalling

I saw a Youtube video about some guy and some woman debating whether or not men should catcall. I found it really fascinating that there was ‘another’ side to the debate. This all started when a short video showing a woman walking through New York City getting verbally abused by sexually charged compliments throughout her walk.

I wasn’t impressed by the finding because I thought it showed the weakness of the result rather than the strength. If she was walking through New York City for 10 hours, which is 600 minutes, and they were able to capture less than 2 minutes of catcalling, it doesn’t seem to me to be all that impressive or groundbreaking. The conditions were far from experimentally sound, and there are a lot of important details we don’t know about.

Going back to the video where there was a debate…

The guy made some embarrassing and highly unintelligent comments. My favorite was near the end when he suggested women should buy guns. That was nothing short of genius. I’m not really sure why there’s even an argument to begin with. If some women are bothered by this, then don’t do it. Even if it were true that some women do enjoy it, the fact that other women don’t and feel very uncomfortable means that men should not continue doing it.

There are even arguments about whether or not the compliments were sexually motivated. It doesn’t matter. Even if the comments had no sexual motivations whatsoever, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to do it. It is the act of harassing other human beings who feel embarrassed, threatened, and vulnerable that is the problem. The reason men catcall can come from several factors, all of which are completely irrelevant.

If I went up to a stranger and punched him in the face, me telling him that I only punched him because I was angry about my divorce and just needed to take it out on someone isn’t going to merit a kind response.

What shocked me was that a lot of men spoke up about this and defended their right to catcall. I used to think men who did these kinds of things were well aware that their actions weren’t highly esteemed by most women, but they chose to do it anyway because it was fun, and it could get them a cheap laugh. The positives outweighed the negatives, and I could understand why they would want to do it. I wouldn’t personally do it because for me, I don’t get much out of it and even if I did I’d rather not bother people for my own amusement.

Bullying is universally recognized as a serious problem, and a very few people would defend it. In fact, the only people I’d expect to hear defending bullying would be stand up comedians. The motivation is that it would shock people. It’s similar to how comedians joke about other heavy subjects like rape, death, and relationships. I think it’s entertaining when they do that, and I’m never offended by anything they say, and I think no one ever should be.

But these people are comedians, it is their job to entertain you, and they use this kind of material so that they’ll able to enhance your entertainment in some way. But in that video, that guy, although he was a comedian, wasn’t trying to entertain anyone, he was seriously presenting an argument that essentially supported bullying. I say ‘bullying’ because bothering people for your own amusement is bullying.

When you catcall, you aren’t trying to make girls happy, or boost their ego. You do it to make yourself feel better, entertained, empowered, or amused. The argument in the end of the video when he was calling for women to fight back was very ill thought out. Women don’t react because they’re terrified, because they know that if they talk back to the wrong person they can get raped or murdered. They know it’s a small chance, but they’re not willing to risk their lives over it, and I’d say that’s pretty reasonable. Women who do defend themselves should be congratulated and supported.

But to try to suggest that women who don’t respond should be more aggressive and/or ‘get a gun’ is completely ridiculous and moronic.