Does A Catcall Make You Purr or Hiss?

Jessica Hoppe

With the streets acting as the new runway, we city dwellers find daily opportunities to strut our stuff. Often this earns us unwanted comments and commentary about how we look, what we supposedly want or better yet — what we’re missing out on.

Welcome to Catcalling 101.

Most women are split on the subject. Somefind it unnerving and an invasion of their space, while others ignore it or are even flattered by it.

CNN contributorHolly Kearl conducted an anonymous, informal e-mail survey of 225 women on the subject whileresearching her master’s thesis on street harassment. She found that 98% of respondents experienced some form of street harassment at least a few times, and about 30% reported being harassed on a regular basis.

While we all find it completely normal to stare and clap at a model walking down the runway, an ignorant remark on the street makes us upset and angry. But what if that random and unsolicited attention was COMPLETELY taken away? Think about it.While I do NOT condone objectifying women, I will be honest — there are some compliments that will make you smile or laugh and others that definitely will make you want to vomit.

But, catcalling is not something I feel should be taken to heart whether in a positive or negative way. Thus my strategy is usually “ignore, ignore, ignore.”

Case in point: This morning as I clicked up 6th Avenue in my trusty Yves Saint Laurent booties (which I have had since 2007) balancing paper and coffee whilst reaching for my phone to check emails. Straight out of the subway I hear, “Hello, gorgeous! Hi, how are you today?” Which I ignore. He continues, “Hey, can I talk to you for a second?” I ignore.

Finally it occurs to him that OBVIOUSLY I don’t speak English (why else wouldn’t I jump at the opportunity to chat up a complete stranger?) so he politely says in a distinct Long Island accent, “HOLA!” And that was it — he officially crossed the line to which I responded, “I speak English you &sshole!” Looking embarrassed and a bit frightened at being yelled at in English, he apologized profusely and I huffed off.

Read below for more stories from the lovely ladies (i.e. a catcaller’s catnip) of StyleCaster:

Rachel Adler, Beauty Director for Beauty High

Catcall: Guys always think calling me “Blondie” will make me stop and talk to them. I can’t tell you how many times I get “Hey Blondie” or “Lookin’ good, Blondie” and really I just want to yell back and tell them to be more creative.

Catnip: Red pants obviously- bright colors are a target, and heels!!

Megan Branch, Executive Assistant/Office Manager for StyleCaster

Catcall: Last Thursday, E. 3rd: “Mygoodness, you look good for a white girl. Come here, white girl.”

My favorite, from two guys on a fire escape three floors up on 3rd avenue: “WE LOVE GIRLS WHO DRINK COFFEE! COME HAVE A BEER WITH US!”

Catnip: Literally, anything makes you fair game in my neighborhood. Jeans, sweats, dresses (long or short), coats. Avenue C is a catcaller’s paradise. Oh, and boobs too.

Summer Krecke, Content Director for StyleCaster and Beauty High

I know it’s spring when the first “Hey mami!” of the season fills my ears.

Cat Nip: Any time I wear tight pants. I have a booty and they’re not afraid to comment on it…LOUDLY.

Alexa Altman, Writer for StyleCaster

Catcall: It’s more about what is said. Sometimes guys are actually trying to be nice and pay you a sweet complement. Other times it’s just creepy. See: A guy outside a bar telling my friend that she is “fat in all the right places.” Weird!

Now tell us your story!

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