Callie Vs Daily Mail on: Wolf Whistling & Sexual Harassment

Sunday, 10 July 2016

I read an article the other day about a woman who complained when she was jeered & wolf whistled at by a large group of men when she was alone, late at night, in an empty train station. This is not the first time I've read an article of this nature, and I want to discuss not only my issue with wolf-whistling behaviour but the general stance of commenters on theses types of articles. Below is a sample of a few of the comments:

Ruby88, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 6 minutes ago
They whistled at her, that's hardly assault - political correctness gone mad once again!

Working Man, Lamneth, Canada, 7 minutes ago
Many women would be flattered by a wolf whistle.

null, 9 minutes ago
Ooo the nerve of these men. Jail them !!! How dare they whistle at an attractive but stuck up woman. If some guys did that to me I'd just smile and take the compliment. What has this world come to. I bet she's been out with her friends on the drink and checked out a few hot blokes !!!!

Ian_B, Northampton, 9 minutes ago She needs to learn to appreciate a harmless compliment. This kind of complaint is effectively a form of humblebragging.

azrdwill, Prescott, United States, 9 minutes ago
They were complementing her.

RonsGirl, Notts, 10 minutes ago
Oh get a grip. It was a compliment.

codotuk, leeds, United Kingdom, 17 minutes ago
If a woman whistled at a man he would laugh it of, whats wrong with women doing the same.

There is so much wrong with this type of outlook.

London is a very busy place, and I myself have been approached a few times now by men who have complimented me. It's lovely when you're on your commute and someone (it doesn't  have to be a man!) takes the time to stop you and pay you a compliment on your outfit, your hair, whatever. If you find someone attractive, this is a wonderful and non-threatening way to go about it. Just pay a sincere compliment. 

You know what is a gross way to let someone know you look attractive? Shouting, jeering, whistling and making lewd comments with your friends when someone walks past without actually treating her like a fellow human being. When you do this you are essentially belittling her, treating her like some trophy without regard for her feelings and just taking her as something to be looked at and even shouted at. You are living proof of The Male Gaze.

My next point is that wolf whistling is arguably entirely sexual. If it isn't, that's what it feels like when you're a woman and a big group of men are shouting at you. You automatically reach to pull your skirt down a bit longer or to hoist your top up higher - you feel like they are sexually undressing you with their eyes and it makes you feel uncomfortable. Was this skirt too short? No - we can wear what we want and shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable about it.
Now a lot of people are arguing that wolf-whistling is just banter and to call it sexual harassment is going too far. I disagree. If it is making a woman feel uncomfortable - which often you can tell we are because we either cross the road, look visibly uncomfortable or ignore it completely in the hopes that they will stop - then it is sexual harassment. You are making someone feel uncomfortable, why do you think it is okay to do that?

At times like in this article it actually goes further than being offensive and crosses over into being actually frightening in circumstances when we may be alone or it's late at night. Wolf whistling and jeering nearly always occurs when men are in big groups, trying to act Billy Big Dick in front of their pals,which is also incredibly intimidating. I'm not just talking about the whistling, but the jeering that comes with it, the lary behaviour, the inappropriate comments. 
The dictionary definition of harassment is aggressive pressure or intimidation. For many women, as I've discussed, being shouted at and having lewd comments thrown at us when we're innocently going about our way does very much amount to making us feel intimidated - and often is aggressive. 
You are making unsolicited and often unwanted  comments about our appearance - who are you to do that? You can see it makes us uncomfortable by our reactions surely, so it's disrespectful to continue - end of story.

If you don't personally get offended or feel threatened or harassed by this behaviour, then great. That's fine. You do you. But we are on a very slippery slope if society begins to try to embarass, belittle or shame anyone who does speak out when they feel harassed. You may not agree with our opinions, but you should damn well respect them.

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