THE CURE FOR CATCALLING

This article is written by GIULIA ROZZI at THE HUFFINGTON POST

Bravo to GIULIA. I agree wholeheartedly with everything that she says in this post.

This makes my Irish blood boil. It’s ridiculous that women are still being harassed in public like this. The century is well under way.

And yeah…I would definitely say the same thing if males were being taken advantage of in the same manner. On the street, guys generally get yelled at (in an entirely different way) and have the crap kicked out of them.

The dynamics are totally different.

I rarely get bothered by these cretins. I’m six feet in heels, 140 pounds and very intimidating for a fashionable ultrafeminine blonde. If anybody messes with me, they’re finished. No fooling around.

Almost all of them know better. I can talk my way in and out of anything. I don’t give a god damn about being polite if someone doesn’t extend the same courtesy to me.

If they try anything stupid, they’ll be sorry that their parents ever met. Damn straight.

It’s exactly as GIULIA said. The vast majority of men are caring, decent and responsible individuals who respect women and would never think of doing anything remotely like that.

But unfortunately there are also a number of lowlifes, scumbags and useless creeps that are an excellent argument for birth control.

I fervently believe that anyone – male or female – should be able to walk the streets where they live (at any time of day) and feel safe. I’m completely aware, depending on the area, that this is not a reality. In some circumstances, it’s highly unlikely that it will ever be.

Especially after dark.

But these mofos really do deserve some well placed debilitating knees in their respective crotches.

Repeatedly.

They should knock it off before they get more than they bargained for.

Two weeks ago – as I walked a short three blocks from the subway to my home in Brooklyn at 11 p.m. – I was harassed by seven men.

Sorry. I mean seven monsters. These horrid creatures don’t deserve the privilege of being called men.

This isn’t anything new. For as long as I can remember creeps have bothered me on the street. Creeps have bothered all women in the street forever. This type of harassment has been given the generic name of catcalling as though it were an act of love performed towards adorable kittens.

I’m not a fucking kitten…and catcalling is far from endearing or sweet. It’s degrading, disgusting and oftentimes terrifying. I vote we call it something more appropriate like cat vomit.

I suppose I deserved to be harassed.

After all, I was wearing a dress with boots and we all know only whores wear such outfits. (If you don’t recognize sarcasm, please stop reading now.)

But I love to wear dresses with boots and refuse to censor my style because too many guys learned about hooker uniforms by watching movies like Pretty Woman. It doesn’t even matter what I wear. I could have on a snow suit and a hockey mask and these losers would still yell things at me.

My love for dresses and boots began my junior year of college while studying a semester abroad in London. I traded in my upstate New York college uniform of bell bottom jeans and Tevas for a more chic city style.

During my second week in London I wore a black dress with tall black boots to the theatre. After the play I walked back to my flat around 10 p.m., which was only five blocks from the tube station and located on a normally busy street.

Half way home a van pulled up next to me and a voice called out: “Hey you in the boots. Come here!”

I was too scared to look at the man’s face so I kept walking. The van parked and he called again: “I said, come here!”

As I began to hear footsteps I started to run. I got to my building, went inside and never turned around to see if anyone was still behind me. When I entered my apartment I had tears in my eyes and blood running down my face. Apparently when I am petrified and running for my life my nose bleeds. My roommate asked what had happened.

I told her: “I wore a dress and boots.”

Last Thursday the first of the verbal attacks came from four men sitting in a parked van which of course set my internal memory alarms ringing. They sat with the back door open, hanging out as if the van was their living room.

“Hey Mami!” they called.

I HATE being called Mami by guys. If a woman calls me Mami it’s cute. If a guy does it’s condescending.

I know Mami is slang for baby but when i hear it, I hear Mommy.

What??? Are you an orphan? I’m not your Mami! And if I were, why do you want to bang your mommy? I kept walking.

“Where’s Papi tonight?” they yelled.

I responded, “He’s home and if you’d like I can call him down here to come kick your asses!”

They ooohed and ahhhed saying: “Damn. Mami is rough. I like that.”

Now had my Papi been by my side, no one would dare say a word to me. God forbid one of these jackasses upset my man. But upsetting a vulnerable woman walking home alone is no problem. Unless I’m spoken for, I’m fair game.

In fact, my nerve to walk home alone clearly indicates that I’m looking to get molested by a pack of total strangers. Why else would a lady, especially in a dress with boots, be out at night?

I write this as though this stuff only happens at night. Ha! If only predators worked after dark.

There are plenty of guys so pathetic, so shameless, so stupid, they will say vile things to women during broad daylight, in front of other people, even children…and no one does a damn thing.

Just yesterday I was walking down 6th Avenue at 1 p.m. when I sneezed. A man called out: “Bless you!”

Wow. Could it be that manners still exist? That was quite kind of this gentleman, so I said “Thanks!”

He apparently translated my politeness into something thoroughly disgusting. The idiot proceeded to lick his lips and say, “Got to take care of dat nice body of yours and not git sick.”

Terrific. Now I do feel sick. If only I had the special skills to have vomited all over his face. How dare he trick me with kindness and fool me into engaging him!

But let’s return to last Thursday, shall we? As I stormed away from the misogyny mobile two guys walked past me, looked me up and down, made teeth sucking noises and then one said “Can I go home with you?” and then the other chimed in with “Yeah. Me too.”

The idea of a threesome with two ugly 40 somethings both wearing wedding bands sounded like such a blast that I just kept walking. I wonder how these guys would feel if someone talked to their wives this way?

Oh wait…

They’re trying to have sex with someone outside of their marriages. I don’t think respecting their wives is something they’re into. Then again I don’t think most catcallers are actually trying to get laid when they harass women. I think for these sickos it’s a power thing. They get off on getting away with saying whatever they want to us.

So then how would they feel if someone spoke this way to their mothers? Their sisters? Their daughters? How would they feel? Do they even know how to feel?

Do they know how it feels to be gawked at, bothered, threatened, followed, terrified?

No, they don’t know how that feels. They will never know how that feels.

Oh…But boys will be boys! Right?

Well then, it’s about time these boys started acting like men respectable, compassionate, intelligent men.

Once I finally reached my block last Thursday, a car pulled up to me.

“Mmm mmm mmmm. I like what I see. Want a ride sweetie?”

I had had it!!!

Without flinching I turned toward the car and at the top of my lungs screamed: “SUCK MY DICK!”

The car rode off, leaving me standing alone on the corner of my block, across the street from a Hasidic Jewish family walking home from a Sukkot celebration staring at me yelling about an oral encounter with my non existent penis.

They were – understandably – horrified.

And I was – understandably – horrified.

I looked like a crazy person. Meanwhile it had been the guy in the car, the guys on the sidewalk and then the guys in the van who were crazy and disgusting and horrible. I live in a very conservative Jewish area and all ready feel looks of disapproval from my neighbours when exposing my bare ankles in public.

Now I was screaming profanities while wearing an unkosher dress and boots combo. This must have been like committing murder to them. All the terrible guys I had encountered that night had really succeeded in shaming me, even when they weren’t there.

I don’t even know why I’m writing this. I’m assuming the men who read The Huffington Post aren’t the ones calling me “Mami,” asking to come home with me or chasing me. I’m assuming the men who do that can’t even read.

But if they are reading this, I am asking you on behalf of all women to please leave us alone. I am also asking you on behalf of other men to please leave us alone. It because of this (small…I hope) demographic of creepy guys that males get bad reputations, when the truth is lots of guys are respectable, wonderful men.

Real men.

Men women actually want to sleep with. When I got home Thursday night and told my boyfriend what happened he put his arms around me and said: “On behalf of men, I’m so sorry.”

That broke my heart.

My boyfriend, who I know loves and respects women, does not need to apologize for the actions of these animals.

According to a study by the University of Connecticut: “In addition to feeling upset, women were more likely to take the sexist remark as an insult to their gender and feel greater anger and motivation to take direct action toward men in general.”

So basically, these jerkoffs are ruining things for everyone!

Let me make myself clear.

I love men…and I love women. I do not like threatening, disrespectful people. That’s a whole other issue in and of itself: the predators that prey on women with a web presence. Rarely am I able to enjoy an opinionated article or video created by a woman without noticing at least one – if not one hundred – anonymous irrelevant comments about her body or her bedroom habits.

I guess the guys who harass women in the street are more brave than ones who do it on line. At least the street predators don’t hide their identity behind lame avatars and screen names.

But I digress.

So what do we do?

I’m not going to stop walking my city streets. I’m not going to stop wearing dresses and boots and I’m not going to stop being a woman. It’s frustrating when you don’t know the solution, but you are extremely aware of the problem.

There are some small things we can do to help. We can join forces to take back our streets, organizations such as Holla Back (a site where you can submit photos and videos of street harassers) and Stop Street Harassment (where you can share your harassment stories and find news stories about harassment) are working to raise awareness about this atrocious situation.

We can stop turning a blind eye.

If you see a woman being bothered, say something. Especially if it’s one of your buddies who’s the culprit.

Look, I’m not suggesting guys never try to talk to women. But there’s a huge difference between talking or complimenting someone and harassing them. We’re all adults here. We damn well know the difference between what’s appropriate and what’s not.

If you’re the victim of harassment, don’t be afraid to say something. I’d like to suggest you say what I said and scream “Suck my dick!” to a guy trying to lure you into his car because the confused and disgusted reaction on his face is priceless, but that’s probably not the safest thing to do.

For all I know, that guy could have gotten out his car and beaten the crap out of me. Luckily, my aggressive reactions have yet to be met with any physicality (and luckily I learned self defense from the amazing women at GIRLS FIGHT BACK).

I do suggest you simply say “Leave me alone!” Hell, scream it if you’d like.

As women we are taught to be polite. But you don’t have to be polite to someone who is being anything but. If you’re afraid to yell then tell a nearby police officer. The harrasser probably won’t be arrested but at the very least, he may be scared straight.

We can be nicer to each other. I’m a big believer that being nice is contagious. The nicer you are the nicer the world will be.

Call me an idealist. I don’t care. I have to believe that underneath all the hate in this world is good energy. It may be buried, but it’s there.

And if you’re one of the guys who is guilty of being a total jerk, I’m surprised and happy you read this entire piece. I hope it makes you think before you act.

It’s 60 degrees today in New York City.

For me that means perfect boot and dress weather.

2 Responses to “THE CURE FOR CATCALLING”

  1. that was epic. thanks for bringing this article to our attention. 🙂

  2. Thank you for that, my adorable little southern man.

    Of course nearly all of the credit should go to the author GIULIA ROZZI.

    But she certainly reflects my feelings and particular point of view regarding this travesty. So I thought I would find a place for her post here.

    I’m glad you loved it, glim.

    Some women are not afraid to speak their minds freely. Any female that has the balls to take a stand like that gets my full support.

    Absolutely and unequivocally.

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