~Taken by the Wind~

(A Journey of a Leap of Faith)

Dear NY Post, This is MY Catcall

My friend Emily,  teacher, singer, New Yorker, wrote a response to the NY Post’s click bat, infuriating, eye-rolling article on how women should basically “shut and enjoy” the catcalling on the New York City streets. I had seen this article, and as a former New Yorker who dealt with that nonsense on the daily, was strangled by my response. Thankfully Emily beautifully, intelligently and articulately illustrated  why we should not just shut up and enjoy it.

The offender and a construction worker.

The offender and a construction worker.

Once again…the NY Post Outdoes Itself.

In a recent “Bust” magazine interview I spoke of my frequent letters to editors and it appears we are here yet again.  The NY Post has released an article written by a female in which she insists cat calls, especially by construction workers, are flattering, uplifting, and ego boosting and women who feel otherwise need to “get over it”.  I won’t link the article because I don’t want to drive traffic to this completely idiotic excuse for a woman who’s self esteem is apparently so low she needs laugh at other women’s genuine fear of wearing a dress and walking down the street.  Here are some highlights from the article.

“And when I know I’m looking good, I brazenly walk past a construction site, anticipating that whistle and “Hey, mama!” catcall. Works every time — my ego and I can’t fit through the door!”

“I realize most women with healthy self-confidence don’t court unwanted male attention. In fact, most women seem to hate it.”

“…when a total stranger notices you, it’s validating.”

“I imagine the catcall stretches back to ancient construction times, when the Israelites were building the pyramids, with scores of single Jewish women hiking up their loincloths, hoping for a little attention.”

Below is my response.

Dear Complete Idiot,

My beautiful, confident, successful female friends recount stories in their Facebook statuses every day about being accosted with explicit and demeaning “compliments” from your beloved construction workers.  I have, actually, spoken to a supervisor of one such worker and was met with a smile, shrug, and not much else.  The exact statement was, “Hey sexy, let me put a baby in that tiny belly.”  What an honor, to have a 200 lb., 50 something year old man STOP ME ON MY WAY TO TEACH CHILDREN to inform me he would like me to mother his child.  I would love to know which construction sites you are frequenting so that I can direct my single friends out of bars and toward these well meaning, kind males.

At least 2 times a week, very frequently more, I am stopped, hit on, whistled at, cat called, and made to feel like I was put on this earth for men’s eye candy.  A piece of meat.  Trash.  A sex object.  Someone who could easily be taken advantage of.  A mouse you can easily chase and attack.  For a mere 5 seconds, a man can say something derogatory to me and then continue with his day; meanwhile, it stays with me for my life, building fear and defense mechanisms that make it utterly impossible for a well-intentioned gentleman to give a compliment without me scanning for hidden motives.  My poor husband flirts with me by patting my behind as I walk by, and I whirl on him, furious.  I have a brain.  I have a Master’s degree.  I am an excellent artist, singer, writer, teacher, wife, friend, and citizen of society. I am politically involved and active.  However, when my own HUSBAND flirts with me after certain days where I’ve been exploited by complete strangers, I turn into a monster that doesn’t want to be looked at, let alone touched.  Do you see why women with “healthy self confidence” hate “unwanted male attention” now??  The simple answer is this: because we didn’t ask for it.  Sound like a familiar sentence?  If you think rape culture is not attached to simple cat calls, you are sadly mistaken and need to take a feminist studies class.

I think it is highly appropriate, although I’m sure you didn’t intend it in this way, that you mentioned Belle Knox in your article (“Isn’t feminism all about self-empowerment, anyway — or am I just lifting from an impassioned speech by a college porn star named Belle Knox?”).  In a recent article in Huffington Post, Miss Knox states her entire life is like “living in hell every day” because of threats from both men and women against her (and her family’s) life.  The woman was kicked out of Duke University for having a completely legal job that she willfully did.  If Belle Knox was Beaux Knox and a male, do you think the same repercussions would happen to him?  He’d be the King of his fraternity and receive honors at graduation.  Self empowerment means you CHOOSE to live your life the way you see fit.  I never CHOOSE to be the subject of some asshole’s degrading rant.  I certainly don’t CHOOSE to ignore it out of fear I will be followed down the street if I stand up for myself.

If you choose to see a positive side to a stranger thinking he is so above you on the food chain of life he can say whatever he wants to you without any repercussion; that’s your business.  But, how dare you, to tell other, self-respecting women that they need to “get over” comments that continue to degrade our sex and breed fear of assault and rape if we respond negatively.  In fact, you continuing to respond positively continues to feed the problem itself.  So, thank you, for publicly setting women’s rights back several decades (including your extremely offensive and un-PC shout out to Jewish women!).  I sorely hope you gain some self esteem before you publish another article encouraging date rape as “the ultimate party compliment”.

If I saw you, I’d spit in your face,

Emily Nicholas

Writer. Singer. Wife.  Woman.

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2014 by in Other Writings, Rape Culture and tagged , , , .
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