Every ‘classic line’ yelled out on the street is heard differently by different people – it can come across as one thing to someone seeing it or saying it, but be taken very differently by the person it’s directed at.
Every ‘classic line’ yelled out on the street is heard differently by different people – it can come across as one thing to someone seeing it or saying it, but be taken very differently by the person it’s directed at. We know that most women prefer not tobe approached by strangers seeking sexual attention, and that this is often experienced as threatening, disrespectful or aggressive.
If you want to talk to someone, think about how to do it in a respectful way, because too often people think they have a right to say or yell things at someone without considering how that makes the other person feel. Maybe you've yelled this stuff out, maybe you've heard other people yell it, maybe you've had it yelled at you... Let’s check out these common catcalls and how they're usually perceived...
1. “Hey girl, you wanna meet up?"
Sounds more like: 'Hey, feel like going to a semi-secluded place and putting your safety at risk with a total stranger?'
2. *Wolf whistle*
Is basically: 'I’m going to get your attention in the same way I would a domesticated animal because I respect you that much.'
3. “C’mon sweetie, give me a smile!”
Means: 'Pleeeease respond positively to me harassing you!'
4. “Hey baby, can I get your number?”
Can be translated as: 'Um, can I ring you later when I don't feel so vulnerable in front of all these other people?'
5. “Hey sexy, why don’t you want to talk to me? I’m a good guy.”
Can also say: 'Hey, I am lying about being a good guy. If I was a good guy I wouldn’t be following you down the street yelling stuff at you right now.'
6. “Awww baby, you running away? Whatever, you couldn't handle all this anyway!”
Is actually: 'Yeah you made the right decision getting away from me, but now I feel stupid so I'm making excuses.'
7. “Hey, have you got a boyfriend?”
Says: 'Hey, just checking I'M not in any danger from another man before I harass and intimidate YOU...'
8. “So, where do you work/live/go to school?”
Screams of: 'Where can I find you later so I can take this horror to a whole new level?'
9. “Nice ass!”
Comes across as: 'Because you’re a woman I think about your body like a piece of meat that I can comment on.'
10. “Aww c’mon, why you getting all offended? I’m paying you a compliment!”
Comes across as: 'I have no empathy for others so don’t really think about how insulting and/or threatening it is to have some random scream stuff at you.'
- Next time you want to yell something out at a stranger on the street, think about how it's going to be perceived - by them. Ask yourself who you’re trying to impress… her? Your mates?
- Next time you see someone getting yelled at on the street, make sure they're ok.
- Next time you get yelled at on the street... yeah sorry, there are some real di(kheads out there, huh? Remember, it’s not you who’s doing anything wrong – it’s definitely them – and you shouldn’t have to put up with sexual or gender-based harassment.