Cat calls: When they do and when they don’t bother me
How many of you have ever been cat called, ladies? Gentlemen? (Yes gentlemen or did you think it was impossible for men to be approached in this same manner.)
What is a “cat call?” No not the urban dictionary definition. Almost everyone knows it’s an uninvited comment or question directed at someone (usually but not always) regarding their physical appearance in an effort to get that person’s attention, even if they don’t give a verbal response.
Some have called it harassment, others flirtation. Some say it makes women feel unsafe or that they must be on guard when in public.
But what IS cat calling?
Cat calling I believe is an extension of mating rituals
Where does it come from? What function does it serve in a social structure? Because whether we want to admit it or not, all human behavior is a product of the society it exists within, whether or not it is an intentional creation.
Cat calling I believe is an extension of mating rituals that exist in all human societies, as well as animal groups. It’s an effort of any person, male or female, heterosexual or homosexual, to get the temporary attention of a mate they are unlikely to ever “get” to touch. It’s a way of getting the minimal interaction at least while maintaining some of their perceived self-dignity.
But what I don’t get is: the sheer amount of human flirtation that is today thrown under the label of “cat calling” or “harassment.” When a man tells a woman she is beautiful in passing or says, “how you doing?” several people have called this “cat calls” or harassment even if it’s done in a natural, conventional way.
Is there flirtation intended? Possibly. But … why should this be considered harassment the same way a comment about my ass is?
It seems as though we are seeking a society devoid of seduction and flirtation, both of which have a long history within humanity.
ART OF SEDUCTION
There is a huge difference between the man who warmly smiles at me and says that I’m beautiful and the man who says “damn bring that ass back over here.
In her TedTalk on the “art of seduction” Chen Lizra explains that seduction isn’t lewd, and it rarely leads to anything sexual, especially in societies that enjoy the art in several settings. She specifically notes how seduction exists in the Cuban culture.
Then she goes on to discuss how the art can be used in business, any organization, friendship, and of course, romantic encounters. And that’s the real point of this post. “Seduction” is NOT a dirty word, and playful flirtation is NOT harassment.
There is a huge difference between the man who warmly smiles at me and says that I’m beautiful and the man who says “damn bring that ass back over here.” One is warm and inviting, while the other is aggressive and disrespectful.
why the hell would we then nag the rest of mankind about the actions of this smaller group of men
We should be cautious about our approaches to attacking a practice such as “cat calling” and be sure that we don’t sever the loving interactions and the world of seduction in our attempt to create an illusion of control on the abusive cat caller, who by the way doesn’t give a damn what we say on social media, TV, blogs, etc. The abusive cat caller doesn’t care so why even bother lashing out at him, and why the hell would we then nag the rest of mankind about the actions of this smaller group of men.
an illusion of control on the abusive cat caller
It’s insane to me that most men DO NOT cat call, but most men are hit daily with comments and complaints about the “things men do.”
I like men. I like interacting with them, and I think most women do. Ladies, this curvy girl understands how annoying it can be when some man who’s down on his luck, obviously has very little money, and few prospects passes by on the street and says something like, “ooooh look at them curves,” or “let me get it just one time.” I know that is detestable, but MY DAYS are not bound to this “once in a while” occurrence, so I DEVOTE MY ENERGY to the things that impact my day regularly.
Our men don’t approve of this behavior any more than we do
I devote my time to battles that can be won, WITHOUT alienating OUR MEN. Our men don’t approve of this behavior any more than we do. But if we recognize that we can’t completely win the battle against abusive cat calls, we realize that there are FAR MORE URGENT matters at hand that CAN be impacted: police brutality, education reform, voter suppression, military spending, coastline restoration, etc.
All I’m asking is that we choose our battles wisely and ENCOURAGE the great men around us more often than we lash out at the few who do wrong.
In the interest of peace and successful alliances across humanity.