Catcalling. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. And fortunately, there are countless women (like The Daily Show‘s Jessica Williams, for example) out there who have spoken out against it for some time now, because no, having someone random guy yell, “SWEET ASS” at me during my morning commute is neither welcome nor complimentary. However, despite the fact that women have been saying for years, nay, EONS now that catcalling is inappropriate, unacceptable, and measures should be taken to stop it, those anointed with the all-powerful testicles have mansplained our fears away for just as long.
That is, until Cosmopolitan put out a video in which men react to video footage of their girlfriends being catcalled, and now, magically, everyone is supposed to realize how bad catcalling is. Check out the video in all its condescending glory:
As you can see, these men now realize how horrible catcalling is, and as a result, so should we all. They say things (with stupid grins on their faces throughout, I might add) like, “He looked at your ass, whatever. All right, I’m getting pissed off. I’m not happy with this,” and, “[Catcalling] sucks, I’m glad people are making it an issue and not standing for it anymore.” Yeah, we know how much it sucks. We deal with it every day. And we’re not making it an issue just now that it’s a hot-button topic, we’ve been making it an issue long before men started to take notice.
Because here’s the thing about this video in particular: Having men react to footage of their girlfriends being catcalled makes it seem like the only time people should be outraged is if the woman is in a committed relationship and has a man to be furious for her. And, on top of that, having men react at all makes it seem like the only people who are allowed to express their rage at peoples’ disgusting catcalling habits are those brave men who are prepared to stand up for the little, meek woman.
Which, if you missed the memo, isn’t the case. Catcalling doesn’t exist just because men are now openly acknowledging it is a legitimate reality in our everyday lives. Catcalling exists because women say it does. We are the ones who are forced to endured leering stares, inappropriate comments, and, sometimes, even fear for our own safety in the presence of men who can take catcalling just a touch too far, and yet when we expressed our concerns long before men took notice, we were simply brushed off. I don’t need a guy to come to my defense and explain why catcalling is bad in words that the public’s brain can understand. Believe it or not, women aren’t such ~*delicate flowers*~ incapable of understanding when something is a serious problem.
To be honest, it seems silly that this conversation is something that even needs to be had at this point. Silly, but not surprising, I suppose, especially when you consider the fact that many men (and women, really) don’t quite understand what the word “feminism” means. Whether we like it or want to believe it or not, we still live in a world controlled by male ideals and male figureheads, and it’s not until the man says something is wrong that something is really wrong. Don’t listen to the women and their pesky little over-emotional reactions. Let the big boys figure it out.
The long and short of it is as follows: While it’s ultimately a good thing that more people are realizing just how bad the catcalling problem has gotten, it’s not enough that people are only just catching on now that men are getting involved. This is a problem that essentially affects only women, and as such, women should be the authoritative voice on all things anti-catcalling. Our voices shouldn’t just be brushed aside as snap emotional reactions to “nice catcalling” comments that are delivered with the “best intentions.” Intent doesn’t matter, and our voices do, and quite frankly, this issue ties in to the larger issue of society looking around desperately for more and more reasons to not listen to what women have to say. Catcalling existed before men paid attention, and unfortunately, it’ll probably live on long after they stop.
So, really, what does Cosmo‘s video achieve? Not all that much, when you think about how many women have stood up against catcalling before their even conceptualized the clip. Do better Cosmo. You too, world.