Oi you! Catcallers and street harassers – your time is nearly up November 27, 2017 Phoebe-Jane Boyd
It’s usually possible to tell when it’s about to happen. The signal could be a set of dull eyes staring out from the middle of a group of teenage boys. Or a brief smirk. Could be from a man in a suit, could be from someone looking like a grandad. Sometimes there’s no warning, just the prickling sixth sense of “I’m about to be told how my tits are looking today by a complete stranger”.
“Catcalling” is exasperating and humiliating, but something to be lived with if you’re female and you go outside a lot. Racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia often get mixed into the cocktail of abusive comments, too, and as Noa Jansma’s @dearcatcallers project showed, they come from all ages and all classes. We recipients live with it, because of course we do. There is far worse than words for us to live through out there – #MeToo can show you a sample (only from women of certain economic backgrounds lucky enough to have an internet connection of course). Yet, strangely, a peaceful acceptance of street harassment as “only words” is something I’m yet to feel.
Violence could follow any insult or sexual comment, yelled or whispered, from a stranger on the street