My first initiation to womanhood was not a celebratory feast or squeals of excitement or an outpouring of congratulations. In fact, I ‘became’ a woman even before I got my period. The initiation, sadly, started when I experienced my first cat calls and flirty remarks from unknown men by the street as I walk pass them. I was puzzled by their sudden interest in me and little did I realized, those cat calls was just the beginning of many more (extremely unflattering and degrading) calls.
I was 11 when a group of men cat called me. My mom was holding my hand as we cross the road.
Going into adulthood is a beautiful thing, especially when you see yourself grow up from a child to a young lady with a deep feminine voice and a beautiful body. It does however, comes with a price. Not only do men now view and treat you differently, but you too constantly get reminded of your place in society. Despite the countless magazines and ‘toys’ (e.g., make-up, clothes etc…) created to celebrate women and womanhood, it’s not hard to acknowledge the fact that our bodies are heavily judged, caged, repressed (and lust for) by society. How ironic.
As I grew older and my body developed, men and women alike seemed to have a big interest on it. For the most part, my body is a problem for people, especially my breasts. My breasts are bigger than most girls my age and I can’t really hide them even if I want to. So whenever I go to out, people would stare at me with disgust, thinking that I am a slut for ‘showing off’ my breasts. How the fuck do I hide them, they’re just THERE!
Even when I am all covered up, people would still look. Men would obviously look too and I guess that’s alright, it’s a natural instinct to look at women’s breasts. What makes me extremely uncomfortable is when their stares go beyond the admiring zone and into the pervert and objectifying women zone where they would undress me with their eyes and think of all the nasty things they would do to me. Worse part is, they’re not even subtle about it. Some of them WANT me to know that they’re thinking that way because they get major kicks from it.
What’s sick is that men who go on pervert mode and start to cat call or give inappropriate remarks about your body feel incredibly powerful and supreme doing so, especially because they know that women in general do not fight back and choose to just ignore them. This makes these men feel good about themselves and laughed with each other because of it. It makes me so frustrated knowing that these men feel great seeing women uncomfortable and whenever I complain about it to friends or family, all I get is, “Just ignore them” and I personally think ignoring them is not the right way to deal with this issue.
Why should they get kicks for making women uncomfortable? That would only make them more powerful and in turn, believe in their heads that women are weak and so, they are easily messed with whenever these men want to. It’s not fair for us.
Note to all men out there…
Staring to admire is okay, but if you do more than just admiring and stare to fantasize about all the things you want to do to our body, we would have a little problem. Know your limit of staring. We can tell if you do more than just admiring. Stop before we scream and call you a pervert.
I am fucking sick of these types of men, they disgust me to the core, so I finally decide to do something about it. I decided to stop ignoring them and start fighting back. Here is what I conclude from it.
Social Experiment Outcome: Fighting back cat calls and sexual harassment
This social experiment was for myself to see whether fighting back disrespectful men would do anything to their pride and ego. Every time I feel there are eyes staring at me, I would stare at them back. What was interesting is that, men who stare at you and you staring at them back would always result to them staring elsewhere quickly, as if trying to cover the fact that they were staring at you in the first place.
Men would get freaked out that you, as a woman, fought back and this wasn’t the first time I’ve experience sudden cowardliness.
Whenever I look at a guy staring at my breasts and they realized that I was looking at them, they instantly looked embarrassed and walk elsewhere, trying to ignore me. I have gotten to a point where when men say hi, I’d say hi back and ask him what they want to which they replied, “Nothing, sorry.”
Sexual harassment is a horrible thing to happen to anyone, male or female. It’s sad that sexual harassment towards women can happen just about anywhere, like to these women who got harassed on public transport. What’s worse is that for all these women, no one bothered to stand up and fight for them. Everyone just stared as if nothing happened, despite knowing that a harassment is happening right in front of them, failing to understand that it is not an act of affection or harassment.
One women in particular talked about how she saw a man in the bus putting out his penis while having his eyes fixed onto her. Disgusted, she gained the courage to shout, “Put that thing away!” which made everyone stared at her and the man. The man who was ashamed, put his penis back in and cursed at her as he gets off the bus.
I cannot deny the fact that it does get a bit dangerous for women to fight back, especially if the woman is alone with a group of men around, cat calling and making inappropriate remark of her body. There was this one time where I was in a restaurant waiting for my food to be packed and two men (both waiters) were looking at me weird. I looked at them back hoping that they would be embarrassed that they are caught and would turn away, but they didn’t, they kept on staring. When I went out of the restaurant, I saw one of the waiter purposely waiting for me near the door and looked at me with his eyes shining and a big grin on him, as him telling me, “You know you want me”. No, I don’t.
It’s hard to fend of those men because they are too extreme and can be potentially dangerous if left alone with them. These men do not know fear and would go to the extremes of raping someone if given the opportunity. So if you decide to fight back by staring at them and they do not stare somewhere else, that should be a good warning for you to stop fighting and walk away for your own safety. It sucks to not be able to stand up for yourself, but if it will cost your own safety, then it’s not worth it.
What do you do to fend off cat callers and street harassers? Do you usually ignore them? Do you take it as a compliment and say thank you? Or do you do something about it? If you have any tips, do tell us!