Tag Archives: Catcalling

Come Correct! The Right Way to Approach a Woman

25 Nov

HOW TO APPROACH A WOMAN

Yesterday I found this on the internet:

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And it made me start to think about the way we approach people when we want to ask them out.

Some men go straight for the rude approach and catcall. And for those street harassers, two awesome artists,  Photographer Hannah Price and street artist/illustrator Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, found a new way to call out their catcallers. Whenever someone catcalled at Price, she turned her camera on the guy and snapped his photo, which she published in a project called “City of Brotherly Love.”  Fazlalizadeh illustrated several posters to put up around cities with messages that read, “Women are not outside for your entertainment” and “Stop telling women to smile,” among other things.

In previous posts, I’ve talked about the wrong ways to approach women and my horrific encounters with guys who felt entitled to touch my body as if it were public property. Yet, I’ve never talked about the correct way to approach a woman. And with all the stories I’ve heard from friends who tell me about awful experiences they’ve had with guys who violated their personal space, clearly, some people need to learn.

I recently met a guy who had been taught how to respectfully (and smoothly) approach a woman. Male readers, take note:

I was sitting on a bench on campus reading a boring book for class when this guy walks by and asks what I’m reading. (LESSON 1- Comment on something other than my body).

He sits down on another bench nearby (LESSON 2- Respect personal space). We chat briefly about the book and then talk about our majors. (LESSON 3- Have a nice and brief conversation). After about 4 minutes, he asked for my number. And when I told him no, he responded, “Well I hope you have a nice day and that your book gets better,” and then he was on his way (LESSON 4- Walk away respectfully).

As he left, I felt the need to give him a round of applause. Sadly, no strange man had been that respectful to me in a long time. I so appreciated his approach: simple and respectful. But it’s pretty sad that I felt the need to thank him. It’s sad that I have to tell strangers not to touch my body or that I don’t appreciate the way they talk to me. But because it’s such an issue, I’m going to make a point to thank the guys that approach me respectfully. Hopefully, that encourages them and others to continue to do so.

And since I didn’t get a chance to thank that guy:

Dear Dwaine,

Thank you for treating me like a human being.

Related Posts: “Aye Sexy” is NOT How I Like to be Approached

There Won’t be a Second Date If…

You Can Find Me in Da Club—but Don’t Touch Me!

“Aye Sexy” is NOT How I Like to be Approached

7 May

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I’ve wanted to write a post on how to reject a guy who disrespectfully approaches women with ignorant comments like, “Damn sexy!,” “Aye shawty,” and “Where yo boyfriend at?” like the guy from the Mad TV sketch, “Can I Have Yo Number?” I wrote that post several months ago but never published it because I felt like it was missing something.

After recently watching the video “Take Back the Night – Catcalling” by students at USC, I realized the seriousness of all those rude comments catcallers say.

First of all, let’s call it what it is: street harassment. When guys on the street rudely approach or speak to women in demeaning ways that are unwanted, it’s harassment. However, many people are under the false impression that catcalling isn’t a big deal.

There’s a serious problem when people feel they can’t be who they are out of fear that they may be harassed. Many of the students in the USC video talked about how they felt the need to change their behavior. Some women said they changed their walking route so they would feel safer. Others talked about the need to change their clothing so guys don’t think they are “asking for it,” as many rape culture promoters like to say. One student in the video talked about how she went to great lengths to avoid her harassers, saying she was “active in creating [her] own invisibility and really adamant about being invisible to all men around [her].”

What kind of society do we create when people feel they have to somehow make themselves unseen in order to safely walk down the street?

Catcalling creates a power structure. Usually, it belittles a woman and reduces her to a sexual object in order for a man to feel he has a certain power. Street harassment is intimidating, it creates fear, and it’s embarrassing.

Yet, some people have this distorted idea that catcalling is a complement. One ignorant blogger, who must’ve somehow crowned himself an expert on how women think, said that women only pretend not to like catcalling. He wrote:

“…are you women so delicate that you can’t take a construction worker giving you a compliment…Grow up already! Though you’ll never admit it, even to yourself, you enjoy the attention.”

All I could think while reading his bullshit was, “Oh yes, please tell me more about how I crave my own commodification through rude comments from guys who were never taught manners!”

And yes, I’ll admit it: I do love attention. I do like complements. However, I prefer to be approached respectfully. Tell me I’m beautiful. Introduce yourself. Tell me you would like to take me to dinner. Offer me your number. Maybe I’ll give you mine. If I decline, don’t get mad—move right along.

If you can’t do that you’re not worth my time.

As blogger Anna Nettie Hanson of Girl Who Fought Back says, “Catcalls function as asshole identifiers.”

Now ladies, there are a few things we can do about street harassment. Some people say just ignore it—but really, we need to speak up. Ignoring the guy doesn’t teach him anything. He might speak the same way to the next woman he sees.

So here’s the best approach I can offer:

Step 1: Reject him. You don’t need a fool who talks to you like that (but of course you know that already).

Step 2: Call him out! Reeducate him. If you don’t do it nobody will, and he’ll just keep talking to women the old kind of same way. Break the Cycle!

Step 3: Confidently, with your head held high walk right on out of there. Show him that if he wants a woman of your sophistication, beauty, creativity, and intelligence, he’s gonna have to do better. Also, be proud that you were brave enough to speak up. Consider it your small form of  activism for the day.

I’m beyond tired of hearing “Aye Sexy,” “Where yo boyfriend at,” and all the variations. It’s time we put a stop to it.

To view the USC students’ video, click here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I only suggest speaking up if you feel physically safe to do so. I know some guys do invade physical and personal space, in which case you know get out of there as fast as you can.

 

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