My friend messaged me on Facebook last night and told me that the video about a women getting catcalls in New York was driving her insane and oh how she wished she could switch the roles so that men could understand the discomfort of getting hit on ever moment while in the public. My instant response to this was that, “Yeah but men would love it.”
I think that the whole catcall thing and the significance of it is often over analyzed and discussed (which is exactly why I’m doing it here… might as well beat a dead horse senseless…). I get hit on constantly when I’m in the public. That’s not a brag. It’s just a fact. Yes it is annoying but then at the same time it is flattering. It took me awhile to come to the conclusion that it is flattering but it finally hit me that it was because every time I complain to my guy friends about it they all always say, “yeah but don’t you feel flattered? At least a little?” I now finally consent that yes, it is flattering to have my body affirmed by other, particularly men.
I also begin to wonder what is it about our society that has set it up so that men are constantly hitting on women and women stereotypically don’t do the same to men. This goes back to the whole thing that men are supposed to “pursue.” So women get mad when men cat call yet they also get mad when their boyfriends don’t pursue them enough; this clearly sends a mixed message to males. Pursue and be punished or don’t pursue and lose your lover.
These stereotypical roles of men feeling the need to pursue and women feeling the need to be silent and wait hurts both men and women. Women feel objectified when their bodies are constantly bringing them apparently unwanted attention and men never get their bodies affirmed and have to face constant rejection. In an ideal world it would be safe a appropriate to give someone a nice complement about their body without any implications or uncomfortableness (of course if implications were desired it could go there… my place… tonight? etc.) This issue of the roles of men and women when it comes to wooing is just one more example of the work yet to be accomplished by feminist to benefit both women and men.