Hi, hello and welcome to the second instalment of Dear Diary (A.K.A what’s happened this week in Jade’s little world). I had something totally different all planned out for my Tuesday/Wednesday/when the hell ever post, but 2 men changed my mind about that this morning, and it’s something too important not to talk about.
I think every girl remembers the first time they were cat called, usually in their early teenage years. The creepy men of the world letting you know that you are now, in their eyes, ‘a woman’. You go from being a child, to a woman who is being unwantedly sexualised in one foul action. And this sets the precedent for the rest of your life.
I remember my first experience vividly; I was 15 and walking from my dad’s house to the train station along a relatively busy road. Headphones in, listening to JoJo ‘Get Out’ on my iPod shuffle minding my own business when I heard a relentless car horn coming up the road in front of me. As I looked up a man in a white van (who else right?) was honking his horn, waving at me and screamed the phrase ‘lovely tits darlin’.
I was alone, I was in my school uniform and I had just been sexualised by a man who was old enough to be my dad. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Do I carry on walking? Do I call my dad to come and get me? I really was at a complete loss. And after this day, I’d say I get cat called at least 6 times a week, every week. Whether someone is undressing me with their eyes, honking their car horn at me, making a comment or on the rare occasion, actually harassing me.
Lovely tits. Shake what you’re Mumma gave ya. You can sit on my face. Crack a smile, love. I bet you give great blowjobs. I’d treat you right. And the classic; oioi. Are all common phrases that most girls have heard, and the fact it is common is fucking disgraceful.
The reason behind today’s rampage is due to the fact that as I was walking along the road to work, 2 builders were laying the pavement to some new flats at 8:50 and I got cat called. As I walked past one of them looked me up and down, blew me a kiss and hit his friend to join in in sexualising me. And I’ve just had e-fucking-nough.
Who raises these men? I know that no mother in her right mind would ever allow their son to speak to a woman that way, so where is this behaviour being taught? Without wanting to generalise, most of my cat calling culprits have been builders, van drivers or workmen of some variety. Is cat calling part of the job description when you apply for the role? Is there a training course that teaches the best phrases to use?
WHY DO THEY THINK THIS IS OKAY?
I think the time has come to take back to power. For too long I and so many other women have put our heads down and carried on walking when we’ve been sexualised. Pretending we don’t notice, thinking to ourselves ‘if I wasn’t wearing a skirt maybe they wouldn’t have done it’. And it is the same as rape culture, victim blaming is absolutely ludicrous. Men should be taught not to sexualise women, rather than women learning how to not be sexualised.
Don’t walk alone in quiet places, don’t walk alone after dark, don’t wear anything too revealing, carry around a rape alarm, make sure someone knows where you are at all times. NO. Why should women have to genuinely limit their freedom to accommodate not being potentially attacked verbally or physically by someone else.
We should be teaching everyone, men and women, that that kind of behaviour is not acceptable. That there needs to be mutual consent for anything to progress. And I for one will be reporting any cat callers I came across. For example I will be reporting the builders for the flats by my work. If a branded van man cat calls me, I’ll be reporting them to their company. There needs to be consequences for this behaviour and cat calling and all other unwanted sexual attention has to end.