Monday, November 8p in the Geneva Room:
Oh my God Jojo.
Taking a stand against objectification is a great idea. Women should be able to walk around the streets without being harassed. I never try to force an awkward conversation with a girl in the streets because I can remember that when I was younger, I would walk around with my sister, and men would whistle at her. She would always tell me that girls never pay attention to guys that beg for attention, it only scares them. Sadly, I think most men know this. They know that once they whistle at a girl or try and force a conversation, the chances of the girl paying them any mind is out the window. But it’s something guys do because it shows how masculine they are. If a man speaks to a woman, he shows that he isn’t gay. Even though, we all know that this isn’t true.
The video doesn’t tell me how exactly the plan to start this movement but good for you ladies.
When I was 14, one of my friends almost got arrested in a baseball tournament because he harassed a homosexual. At that time, I thought it was impossible for the kid to get arrested because in my mind, it was the homosexuals fault. This was obviously ignorance, and so what I want to say is that women can’t change anything unless men change.
So I went to this and I must say I did learn a thing or two from it…. I tend to give my friends cat calls joking around and what not so in turn when people I don’t know do it to me I never really thought of it as something other than a joke, since this is what I am used to doing. I guess I never really realized that I should say something back or take a stand against people who feel the need to hoot, holler, and whistle at me or my friends. I tend to just ignore it and carry on with my day or just smile and shake it off. I didn’t realize the things I was “saying” by not saying anything at all. You’re basically saying its okay to do these things and by letting it go it’ll just keep happening to you and to other people. From attending this event it kind of put cat calls or whatever into a reality for me. After the event one of my friends said that she was walking home and some kids yelled off of their porch “hey nice ass” and she didnt know what to do and just kept walking. She asked me what she should have done because she knows I went to this and I told her some things I picked up at the meeting… It felt good to be able to use this information to help someone… I personally haven’t had to put this into action but I feel the event accomplished what it was supposed to by raising awareness.
Speaking out against cat calls and objectification is a good thing.
I actually wonder where and why men do this to women, or why both male and females do it to their female friends. As Amaury pointed out, men who engage in this behavior KNOW they have no chance of engaging in a meaningful conversation with any women they cat call to, so why do it? Yet, as Brooke wrote, sometimes she does it to her own friends, so the question then is, is it okay when you know the person and you’re just doing it for “fun?” I actually think not, but then I thought where and when one would establish rules against such behavior, and I propose at childhood.
One of my favorite movies is, “I think I love my Wife,” because I always found one particular scene interesting: The wife of the protagonist, Chris Rock, scolds Chris for saying “nigga” in front of their child. The wife says, “one day, instead of asking where my Dad is, she [daughter] will ask, where’s my nigga? Meaning that the wife feared that the daughter would use “nigga” in her everyday language, especially in reference to her father and her mother. I bring this into the discussion because should parents be equally as mindful in perpetuating any gender stereotypes AT ALL when rearing children as they are about other stereotypes, like those regarding race? Do parents even consider such things?
I know Amaury.
Well first off, I want to explain that the whole “cat, mouse, animal” thing was on-the-spot by Gabby so I didn’t really get to think and articulate a response more thought out. The first occurrence that popped into my head was when my sister and I were in Rome, Italy. We literally were cat-called in every possible animal noise that you could think of. I know it was not just us either. The men had zero respect for any woman and I wanted to ask them so badly if they have a mother, sisters, or grandmother and would like it done to them. Sometimes I wonder if that is ever thought about.
Anyway, my sister and I made it a joke and would mimic the same noise to each other because it was the only way that we could get through our sight-seeing without wanting to go leave. Looking back on it, I know I could have said something or used one of the tactics that were discussed at the HollaBack workshop but for me, it was a question of safety. I was walking around in a foreign country with one of my younger sisters and it was my job to watch out for her. Granted, there were a couple times when I just gave them the death glare, I figured that ignoring was the best alternative. In fact, to this day I tend to just ignore men when they whistle, make noises, or lick their lips. I feel like I’m not giving in and showing them any type of power by acting completely unresponsive. Then again, that is another question for safety because sometimes it can escalate a situation if they know you hear them.
I remember when I was in high school and I was walking with my sister when a car drove by and whistled at us. My sister had whipped her head around to see who it was and said, “Oh my god, who was that, I wonder who that was?” And that was when I asked her, “Wait…so you’re a dog right? or a cat? I don’t know, both answer to whistling. I guess a bird could work too, which do you prefer?” My sister was like, “Wait, what are you talking about?” And I told her that responding to cat calls and wondering what these men have to say means that you are accepting how they asked for your attention. Then from that point on, she started to text me every time she ignored comments.
For me, cat-calling is interesting because I’ve experienced so many different types that it is almost second nature. I could not even begin to count how many times I’ve blatantly been disrespected in the streets. Most of the time, I feel like men will do it to any woman with “T-n-A”…and that’s a shame. I guess I just can’t understand how a person could feel so powerful and not think anything of it. Just to flat out yell at someone and even try to exchange numbers or something ridiculous.
What needs to be realized is that, this is not girls in groups on the streets cat-calling men. I’m not saying that a girl “has never done it before and solely men do this” but lets be honest and accept that fact that its an overwhelming majority of males.
The streets are a public domain…and there’s still a gender power dynamic? Tell me again that women are equal to men.
I am so glad that I attended this workshop. As Brooke says, I definitely learned a few things about how to respond to cat calls and what to think of them in general. When I was younger (early high school yrs) I certainly didn’t understand the true meaning of cat calls. As I become more aware of the ways in which women are sexually harassed I have become disgusted with the concept. I have had men drive by me on the street and yell things out the window. To be honest, all I felt was embarrassment because I didn’t know how to respond. I think the hardest thing about that situation is that the car is gone within seconds and the women is left feeling objectified while the men are long gone, possibly feeling satisfied with what they have done. I think learning about the meanings of the cat calls and the ways in which women can stand up to them are very important. Just as Amaury says, things for women will not change until men also change. Educating men about the power of their words and actions is important. I was so glad to hear one male audience member ask how he can help to stop cat calls. This demonstrated to me the fact that men certainly care about the well-being of women and want to help us feel empowered and safe.
While I am absolutely in support of this movement, I am left thinking… will I actually hollaback? They warned the girls before we went to Rome that men were going to hiss, like literally hiss like we were pussycats at every corner, at every hour of every day. At first I ignored it because I was a stranger to their culture, but eventually, after far too many drink I’m sure, I felt comfortable enough to yell back at them something along the lines of “mangia un cazzo” (eat a dick) among several other profanitities I had picked up along the way. And while I felt comfortable enough doing this because physical violence is so rare there, it has not been happening since my return to the states. I stay quiet. I avert my eyes. I walk faster. I don’t say anything. I don’t know if this is protecting myself or further objectifying myself. If I don’t say anything I’m telling them it’s okay and perhaps eventually they’ll quit it, if I do say something (which trust me I have thought of many cunning remarks on my walks through Geneva Gardens) I fear they’ll just call me a stupid bitch (among other stereotypical put-downs) and/or chase after me. In our culture, girls fighting back from this sort of disrespect are not seen as empowered and autonomous but as uneducated, classless “bitches” when they take a stand — how many times did your mother tell you not to sound so “vile” and to “speak like a lady?” It seems that speaking like a lady really just means speaking so as to sound delicate and respectful of men. If we defend ourselves we’re merely calling more attention to ourselves but not in the way we want. They aren’t going to think, “wow that was really rude of me to yell at that nice young women, how responsible of her for taking control and telling me to buzz-off!” but rather, “who does that stupid bitch think she is telling me off like that? i’ll show her… [que continued harassment and/or physical altercation].
That being said, while I am totally in support of this movement, I am curious how it is women ought to respond to verbal assault in a way that educates and enlightens ignorant perpetrators and not in a way that will warrant further haranguing.
My best friend and I used to walk around downtown in the middle of the day as middle school and high school aged students and not only be cat called by men but also followed when we didn’t respond. “What’s the matter? You don’t like me? Don’t wanna talk?” street after street until we’d have to go into stores and wait for them to leave. Unfortunately this has happened more than once and I noticed that it happened a lot more when we were younger than it does now.
It’s scary at any age to be followed and yelled at by someone when you just want to be left alone. I would never respond to cat call because I feel like I would be egging them on even though that would not be my intention. Cat calls are embarrassing and they make me nervous because I don’t know how to respond.
Holla Back is a great movement and I fully support it!
This reminds me of when my team went to Brazil last year I cant even count how many times men would make noises because we were american girls just roaming the streets. This was not a normal sound that we hear men giving to women thought. Its like Brazil had its own special noise that they would express to women because literally it was the only noise we heard out of them. This shows that this is a issue all around the world and probably wont end up stopping any time ( not to me pessimistic). After hearing Jojo’s story about her sister and the man who walked by I really had to sit back and think. Im pretty sure when I heard the Brazilians making those noises I would look and laugh. But how is it funny? Its more like degrading. I was kind of ashamed after reading this and thinking about how I used to respond. Girls everywhere need this message to get across to them because I do not want them to feel like I do and as most girls do on this campus. Somewhere along the line everyone has probably responded to these remarks. And like Amaury and Chris were wondering, if guys know they are not going to get anything out of us then why do they do it? I guess we will never know.
I feel if you get hollered how then you should take it as a flattering comment. There are obvious lines that people should not cross but do and that when it becomes a problem. I’m talking about lines of sexual harrassment or physical abuse. Sometimes it is best to just ignore them. Keep walking strutting your stuff and dont mind the heclers. People get “hollered” at all the time. Professionals, actors, actresses, and for what i have seen a lot they handle it well. Some like the attention and some just ignore the attention. Whether the attention is positive or negative, you do have the choice to avoid or recognize it. I dont think hollering at girls in a jokingly manner is all too bad like this blog post is making it seem. I mean a lot of time some girls just play along with it and the situation is ended after 4 sexonds of being walked by. I have holla’d at girls a few times and it worked. Met some nice people actually. Other times i got rejected. But i have never used a discomforting context with my communication of “hollering” at a girl. To me, the hollaback girl thing is just part of the society. If you dont like it, ignore them, if you have a open mind and maybe are courageous enough to take a risk and listen to someone calling your name cause they find you attractive, then take a risk. Just be smart. Show some love sometimes ladies damn. Not all men are bad.
The hollaback girl thing is a good topic. I mean to me it is just something part of our society. I have seen men holler at girls and they play along with it. They feel recognized and appreciated sometimes and that makes them feel good. So whats wrong with that? Of course there are lines that are crossed sometimes and that is terrible. People who harass verbally and sexually after just a “holla” should definitely get dealt with. However, to be hollered at is normal for a lot of people. Acrotrs, actresses, pro players, get hollered at all the time. They have a choice. Avoid or recognize it. This blog seems to say that being hollered at is a total horrible thing and does not need to happen. I disagree entirely. Some women love it and some men as well. Some people meet each other through it! I know and met some people that just walk by and give a shout out. There is nothing wrong with expressing yourself verbally to people but when it takes it to the next level of harass in any certain way then it is a problem. But for the most part, I’ll admit it, I holler at girls and if they dont take it then i leave it and so do they. Everyone has a choice. Some people enjoy the attention and will work with it. Sometimes they will totally avoid and move on and the situation will end right there. In my opinion, it;s part of our society and will always remain. I dont mind it. I mean, i have alwasy approached a girl in a respectful manner and if i call her pretty from across the street and she decides to lash back at me with some rude responses then so be it. But for the most part, I was just trying to be a nice guy and maybe meet someone new. Someone who i found attractive. If she busts my balls for that, then well thats your decision, I’ll keep it moving. In the other hand, some girls like to take risks and are courageous enough to meet guys. Let them handle themselves from there. But for as far as this blog goes i feel that it is sayin all men need to stop hollerin at women and i disagree with that statement. Maybe i think some women need to just be open minded and appreciate the fact that their beauty interests us sometimes. And we want to put you on notice, so that is why we Holla atchu! Take a risk sometime ladies. Show the men some love once in awhile with a cute smile back or something. Damn. Not all men are evil and pervs.
This sounds like an interesting movement and I wish I could have attended the awareness raising event. Previously, I never thought about the harmfulness of cat-calling, and I certainly never thought about responding to these calls. Hearing about this movement I recalled a time when my older sister and I were subject to cat-calls at a gas station. My sister boldly responded to the perpetrator, while I stood by quietly. At the time I thought my sister was out of her mind because I was clearly intimidated. Looking back I now see that she handled the situation very well and I wish that I could have supported her in her efforts. Anyway I’m glad to finally learn how to handle a situation like this, and hopefully when it happens to me again in the future I will take a stand.
I like the video. Seeing a females perspective on this issue is very important. It allows for the best education for other females and especially men. There is a right and a wrong way to speak to a female, or anyone in that matter. I understand the cat calls are harrassing and annoying. But why do people still do this? I feel up close conversation is more effective anyway. I would not want a girl who would answer to a cat call. This still may be continuing because men feel that women are on this earth for their pleasure. It is the common notion, women are suppossed to get hit on by men, especially if she looks good. I understand a beautiful women makes some men weak. I would much rather take the time and effort to conversate with a beautiful women then take my chances yelling down the street hoping she finds my shouting irresistible and drops everything to run into my arms.
I definitely agree that women should start speaking up for themselves in general. It might be hard because women are always seen as objects in society, but I strongly feel that if more people were to talk up both men and women and defended themselves that women might have a chance of being heard.
Frequently, when I walk the streets and long blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue in Brooklyn, Nw York I always heard from a distance a black old male trying to hit on me. “Aye yo ma! Can I have your number,” “Can you have my kids, because you are gorgeous,” or they actually have the audacity to touch me or grab my hand! That is disrespectful and degrading especially if I am with one of my parents. However, I have to say that when I was younger I expected men to do that because that is what I had seen growing up. I would see my older sisters getting hit on as they walked me to school and as we went to the corner store down the block. As a result, when I was older I kind of looked forward to men trying to hit on me, since I thought it made me seem “prettier,” but in reality it’s not. I now felt like one of the girls that men wanted to use and I felt that I was not valuable because a man, not even someone my age was trying to court me. I do not know who these men were is and they do not know me. That shows you that men do not even care about who a woman is and her personality, they only judge you from your sex appeal and appearance.
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