And every other industry for that matter… including the fashion and beauty industry.
If you haven’t seen it already (which most of you have), there’s a video that’s gone viral that shows a woman being videotaped while she walks all around New York City for a day. In the video she walks around silently as she’s being catcalled, approached, or addressed in one way or another by men on the street as she walks by. You hear everything from the obviously sexual remark, to “Hello” or a “Good morning”. The point of the video is to showcase the harassment of women and what we can be subjected to. It is raising awareness, raising eyebrows, and flaring some interesting debates.
The thing that gets me are all the comments on Facebook or YouTube attached to this video. Most of which are some variation of disgust with men, and how women are so sick of being treated like this, or that the men that say these things are perverts or something. Here’s the thing: The men in this video… the men some of us women encounter who make comments that make us feel uncomfortable… they are all just one piece of a very big puzzle. A puzzle that is made up of music, social media, culture, and dare I say… Women.
Oh Lordt… I can feel the hater rays from some people already! Do me a favor… put on some shades and hear me out before you rule me out.
Music is full of lyrics that make the female body seem as if it is something to be made a spectacle of, not necessarily appreciated in the more respectable sense of the word. You have Nicki Minaj who has turned butts into something like an episode of Animaniacs! You’re like “Okay… This is hilarious, and weird, and awkward, yet way too entertaining to stop watching!” You have Meghan Trainor who, with good intentions, may be sending the message that women with “Bass” are better because they got that “Boom boom that all the boys chase.” Then you’ve got hip-hop and R&B, of which 90% refers to women’s ASSests in numerous NSFW ways. Well… I hate to break it to you but these artists didn’t make themselves popular… We made them popular! You may say that you don’t approve of women’s bodies being objectified, but yet when some of you hear “Wiggle” by Jason Derulo, you ask your friend to hold your drink because THIS IS YOUR JAM! Curse those tricky beats with their seductive bass! Gets even respectable people every time!
Social media would all but almost shut down if girls would stop posting videos of themselves twerking, and if we’d stop sharing them… Even if just for the shock value. Again, we are reinforcing that bodies aren’t interesting in and of themselves… Not unless we wiggle, jiggle, and gyrate! This only contributes to what some men see when they look at us. Projections of music videos and YouTube videos that were made by men AND women, and then shared by men AND women, are being played out in their minds toward us. If we are not part of the solution, then we’re part of the problem.
Lastly there’s culture. You’ve got pop culture all over magazine covers, billboards, and ideas are being shared through commercials that say that a woman IS her body or the way she looks. There are products that touch a woman’s insecurities, and are advertised as something that will make her more visually appealing. So we buy into it because we feel unattractive, or we’re trying to snag a man, or because we need our ego boosted. Then we go out into the world looking and smelling good, and then we feel uncomfortable if we are noticed for all the OUTWARD things we just paid a lot to have in order to look attractive. ATTRACTIVE. As in to attract others by appealing to their senses. I’ll just give you a minute to let that sink in.
This world is full of extremes and everything in between. It may not be fair and it may not be right, but it’s a fact. It always has been and it will be long after we’re gone. Catcalling is not a new concept. There have been women long before us that it made to feel uncomfortable as well. The differences between then and now is the extreme frequency and broad types of platforms in which women can be made to feel harassed or objectified. The other difference is in the way in which women view themselves. If a woman was called a “Bitch” then, it was viewed as offensive and disrespectful. Today many women say a “Bitch” is just a term for an independent woman who knows what they want, so they don’t shy away from that word anymore. We are also owning our sexuality more. We are allowing ourselves to be more sexually assertive and not letting ourselves be defined by “Male” or “Female” sexual roles. Women are even making pregnancy sexy! The red carpet is full of pregnant women in down-to-there v-neck dresses while flaunting their baby bumps. So many women view their bodies less gingerly then before, which changes the way others view their body too.
There are so many messages about the female body, and many of them are telling us that a woman’s body is a spectacle. That it’s something with visual impact… like art… Which it really is! Yet what we forget is that what we the artist intended in creation, the observer takes by way of interpretation.
Men need to be reprogrammed on how to be appreciative, but respectful of a woman’s body… And to be respectful of even the women who don’t respect themselves. Ladies, we need to be respectful of our bodies, as well as the bodies of other women… even if they don’t respect it themselves. People, we need to stop participating in the very thing that we hate. Catcalling is catcalling. PERIOD. I’ve seen women do it to men. I’ve seen men do it to men, and women do it to women. I’ve seen a “hot” person catcall to someone and get a MUCH LESS disgusted reaction then “Other” types of people that catcall within the same stretch of sidewalk. Let’s call it like we see it: Most times there are conditions and exceptions based on… based on whatever! Who really knows except the person that’s being approached by men. Or women.
So can we really say we hate it? ALL catcalling across the board? Do we only hate it when it’s the wrong person, or when we aren’t entertained by it, or if we’re not in the right mood for it? Does it depend on if it serves us in the moment, or if WE are the aggressor?
I guess these are questions only you can really answer for yourself.
Yours Truly, Andrea