Where is real flattery? Certainly not in catcalling

Catcalling isn’t anything new, and almost every woman at some point has had to face the uncomfortable and unwanted attention or the degrading comments brought when walking down the street.

What some may think is innocent like, “hey sexy” (followed by that awful whistle associated with a desirable appearance), may be flattering, but in reality these remarks make people, like myself, feel uneasy and anything but complimented. 

In reality, a simple holler could potentially turn into something more dangerous, and for this reason, that aggressive assertion of dominance, often thought of as harmless, is actually quite threatening.

Real flattery is a humanizing behavior requiring a conversation between two people, not just sexual remarks spit at a person from a complete stranger. What is worse than face-to-face experiences revolving around sexual comments from strangers are the sneaky statements coming out of buildings, car windows or anywhere the harasser can go unidentified. 

Because they position themselves to be unrecognizable, this makes one think they know their behavior is unacceptable and they probably wouldn’t have the nerve to say it in person.

If you want to genuinely flatter a person, first start by initiating a conversation about the weather, current news or a book that person happens to be holding–anything but physical appearance.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and although street harassment has become somewhat normalized in our society, it shouldn’t be looked upon as anything less than sexual harassment. 

Whistling, honking or shouting sexual comments is not innocent and shouldn’t be something people have to just put up with when they leave their homes.  

Bringing awareness to this issue will improve our dignity as humans and our society as a whole.

Hanna Peterson is a graphic design major and can be reached at [email protected]