How (Not) To Catcall A Man
I’m not quite sure how it came about; most likely, we had just been catcalled. Then one of us, I don’t remember who, asked, “What would happen if we catcalled a man?” This is how I found myself yelling from the window of my friend's 5th floor apartment, “Hey you! Nice calves!”
The unassuming man in the street looked up and gave me a confused smile, followed by a thumbs up. No damn it! You’re not supposed to like it. You’re supposed to feel uncomfortable.
Sadly this was better than our first attempts which included, “Hey handsome, nice hat,” or, “Oooo baby, I like the way you walk!” Rather than feel intimidated or annoyed the men thanked us and continued on their way. One even stopped to try and pick us up; whereupon we nervously ducked behind the window and waited for him to leave.
The whole process seemed unnatural. If anything we felt more uncomfortable than the men. Perhaps it was our technique. Maybe we weren’t close enough or saying the right things. But what does one say in order to make a man feel sexually harassed?
I know it’s possible. In the movie Horrible Bosses Jennifer Aniston sexually harasses her employee Charlie Day, who would quit his job if it weren’t for his upcoming nuptials and that pesky child sex offender list he was “accidently” placed on. Under such pretenses it’s easier for audiences to conceive how a woman could sexually harass a man.
Since the movie is a comedy we laugh at the man’s plight, acknowledging that the situation is as outrageous as it is ironic. If the roles were reversed and Jennifer Aniston was the harassed, the storyline wouldn’t be funny. It would be uncomfortable, because it hits too close to what we know to be real life. Rather than laugh, we'd pity Aniston.
Understandably, this is why the random men in the street weren’t offended by our catcalls. This wasn’t their daily life but an exception. In fact our “catcalls” must have come as a nice surprise. I imagine they walked away thinking, awesome, someone likes my legs.
Though men aren't objectified nearly as much as women, it does happen. Take Jon Ham for example. Apparently, ever since his Rolling Stone article all people seem to care about is his penis. Frankly, he's tired of being seen as a sex symbol.
As a feminist I believe in the equal treatment in men and women, however in this case I'd argue that equal does not necessarily mean better. Part of me wonders, are we creating a society in which it's okay to objectify men?
What do you think? Tweet me.
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