You need to stop. Immediately, if not sooner.
Last week was a rough one. As a Los Angeles native — where most people are isolated in their cars — street harassment is something I’ve always been aware of, but a discomfort that has never played a role in my daily life.
Spring time in New York brings with it all the most amazing things — sunshine, patio seating at restaurants, the general feeling of rebirth, sandals, Vitamin D. But on the flip side, with women swapping their snow jackets for skinny jeans, street harassment is everywhere.
This segment from Buzz60 perfectly depicts this epidemic, as a New York City resident tries to teach the show’s host how to properly catcall a woman during the show’s anti-catcalling segment.
In these moments, there are millions of thought and questions I want to share with these men, but usually choose stick with the hand gesture Alex Sargeant helped me perfect at YouTube Nation. But if I could, this is what I would say:
To the Men Who Catcall,
What do you think is actually going to happen in this moment? That your yells from your car or marriage proposals from across the street are going to make me approach you? Want to date you? Do you think I’m going to swoon at your uncomfortable compliments? Or that I’ve just been walking up and down this street all day waiting for a 40-year-old balding man to comment on my appearance?
This might shock you but I don’t need or want to hear your thoughts on my body. I didn’t put myself together today to impress you. Actually, no woman in New York City, or the universe in fact, got ready this morning hoping to run into you and hear your review of their breasts/outfit/body/ass. Almost everyday, you make my walk to work, to lunch, to my apartment, to yoga, to any New York adventure incredibly uncomfortable. I’m not a pole in the subway you can lean on or trying to flirt with you because I stood next to you.
But the thing I hate — as a woman who prides herself on being strong, independent, and unflappable — is the times you make me feel so small. It’s not your comments, but your impending size that you use to your advantage. You hurl terms like “emotional” or “dramatic” or “bitch” with the hope of making me second guess my discomfort or think I should be appreciative of this attention. Well sir, there are much worse things in life than having a perfect stranger think I’m a dramatic troll for leaving a subway car. Life will go on, hopefully your barbaric manners will not.
So ladies, I wish I could do more to help, but always ALWAYS, know you can leave any situation that makes you uncomfortable. We’re often so scared of being rude that we allow our discomfort to be overruled by our concern for what people will think of us.
My advice is this: Leave a situation, ask someone for help, or if you need, out crazy the crazies. It’s New York City, if you need to yell and scream and flail your arms to get someone away from you, do it! Cause a scene that would make an Oscar winning director want to cast you in her next movie! You don’t owe anyone anything.
So cat callers fuck off. Your mother would be very disappointed in your life decisions right now.
Best from your friendly NYC neighbor,