Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tweeting catcalls

Recently here at Female Impersonator we've been talking about street harassment, walking as rebellion and potential action we can take. Here's one more thing we can do to raise awareness (mostly for men who don't understand the pervasiveness of the problem) about street harassment and catcalling.

If you're on Twitter, when someone harasses you, tweet it to @catcalled. Often she'll retweet it, but it's important to show just how often, how universal and how consistent it is, regardless of woman, city, or outfit.

Street harassment is just one manifestation of the idea that women's bodies are public property. If society starts to take street harassment seriously, we're one step closer to taking other offenses on women's bodies and lives seriously too.

via The Undomestic Goddess and thanks to rude_not_ginger


Anonymous said...

What can you "take seriously"?

You aren't having bodily harm inflicted on you, and frankly, the government doesn't police your "feelings".

"Street harassment" is feminist nonsense-talk.

Catcalling is not harassment, by any definition of the word.


1. to disturb persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; bother continually; pester; persecute.

2. to trouble by repeated attacks, incursions, etc., as in war or hostilities; harry; raid.

Be honest. When one random person yells one random comment, are they persistently disturbing you? No. It was once. Are they tormenting you? No. Are they *continually* bothering you? No. It's once. Are they persecuting you? No.

Repeated attacks? Nope again.

I know it's a feminist tactic to play with language to prove a point, but don't. Everyone knows the feminist obsession with the power of language, as you talk about it a lot. Therefore, it makes it pretty obvious when you do exactly what you speak against, and twist words to mean things they don't, in order to make something minor sound like something major.

They call it making a mountain out of a molehill. If you were more honest, and less underhanded in your tactics, people might be more inclined to listen to your conclusions.

lindsay said...

Harassment from Merriam and Webster

Harassment can be one time; it can be many. If someone continually bothers you at home and at work, that's called stalking.

You aren't having bodily harm inflicted on you, and frankly, the government doesn't police your "feelings".

Maybe verbal street harassment doesn't inflict bodily harm, but it sure inflicts mental harm. And sometimes, frankly, I can see where women would feel like someone moving into their personal space, maybe following their steps a bit, telling that woman how they're going to fuck her can feel like an imminent threat to bodily harm. Especially if that woman has been victimized by sexual assault before.

Tell me where I said to get the government involved. Oh wait, I didn't. That's because it needs to be stopped on a person-to-person level. While police and government involvement is essential if it threatens a person's safety, being nice, cordial - hell, I'll take non-threatening - is a issue that needs to be changed socially.

And as for making mountains out of molehills, I'll direct you to this lovely post at Shakesville.

As for your comment, you're lucky I wanted to respond, otherwise you'd have gotten nowhere with Amelia. Consider yourself warned.

Amelia said...

I love the idea of tweeting catcalls. Sooo much. I do that on my personal Twitter all the time: text an update about catcalls I hear, because it is amazing how often it happens and sometimes you need a record to see just how often and how messed up it is.

And I agree with Lindsay, some of the catcalls I heard described in the comments on this post sounded a lot like there was the possibility of bodily harm. Even if a woman hasn't been sexually assaulted, having a male with the sense of entitlement to say things like "suck my dick!" and talk about fucking you, well, who really knows what people like that are willing to do or capable of?

Also, Lindsay's right. That kind of comment didn't pass my moderating standards. I actually think I (at least tried to) delete that comment earlier. You're lucky, Anon.

Amelia said...

hehe. Just rejected Anonymous's comment because they couldn't seem to get their act together. But they did leave some good advice, and I have this to say to Anonymous (not my words):

You have no power over me. Say it with me. I am not offended or frightened by the things you say. You are powerless to me. You are words on a screen.

Amy said...

Thank you for the mention.



Anonymous said...

The problem is that for every one woman that hates it, there's another that claims it boosts their self esteem. It is a mistake to assume women are monolithic.

Amelia said...


No one claimed that women were monolithic. But if you cared to read the past posts (linked in this post) about this topic, it is clearly something that a large number of women are vocally against/mad about.

Ms. J said...

I know that this isn't necessarily an issue this blog deals with, but I think there should be a twitter page for gays and lesbians who are verbally harassed on the street to tweet when it happens, because it happens to me weekly.

Amelia said...

@Ms. J:

That, actually, is an issue that this blog deals with (although not exclusively). And I also think that the idea of having specialized Twitter accounts for different types of street harassment (for example, homophobic street harassment) is a great idea. It would draw greater attention to the various reasons for being harassed on the street. That's something we should look into...

Christopher said...

This is such an awesome idea! i will spread the word to my friends!

Actually, "anonymous" your cherry-picking defintions is playing with language. These incidents are NOT isolated. They happen to my female friends CONSTANTLY and it quite bothersome and quite continual. Women should have the right to walk down the street without being continuously exposed to the unwelcome comments of (mostly) men. As a man I know THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN TO ME OR MY MALE FRIENDS. As a man, I can wear whatever I want and not worry about the unwelcome attention it might garner while my female friends cannot, which is manifestly unfair. Let's hope this project does much to expose how "continuous" and "bothersome" street harrasment is and help bring an end to it!

Belle said...

amen to that christopher. I had a guy pretty much follow me home on his bike harassing me about my name and number. It was scary and it happens to me all the time.