Sometimes all a gal really wants is to walk down the street without being whistled at, hollered at, or told to “smile more,” amirite?
Catcalling is the (obnoxious) practice of whistling, blowing air kisses, lip smacks, or sharing choice words to women walking down the street.
In the United States we call it street harassment, and it’s a big problem in places like New York City. In Buenos Aires, it’s thought of as harmless flattery.
This cultural practice is common in many countries where machismo reigns supreme and is generally harmless. But that doesn’t make it any less jarring when it happens to you.
So what’s the deal with Catcalling? And how do you handle it when you experience it?
Here are some tips on how to deal with catcalls.
1) Try to avoid eye contact
However frustrating, eye contact can sometimes give a person the idea that you want to be spoken to. It sucks to feel like you have to always keep your head down to thwart off attention from men, but that’s the general idea here.
Keep your head slightly down and pretend there’s a barrier between you and the outside world.
2) Keep your wrinkled nose hidden
I know, it’s hard to walk through a group of smelly men who are simply drooling as you approach them, but if you look extra annoyed about it, they might feed off of your reaction and bother you more.
Part of how to deal with catcalls is figuring out your boundaries, both emotional and physical. Sometimes the best way to deal is just to keep your head down and keep moving on!
After all, you’re a busy lady with places to be and things to do. Don’t give these jerks the pleasure of a reaction.
3) Keep things in perspective
Understand that things are simply different in different parts of the world, and nothing you do is causing that. You can try your best to blend in with the clothes you wear, and that might not also make any difference.
It isn’t you, it’s them.
4) Know how to retaliate
I know I just told you to keep walking, but when it comes to how to deal with catcalls sometimes you need to say something. In general, I allow each man one comment without any retaliation.
However, if they persist and simply will not leave me alone, I have a few scathing comments I like to whip out for the especially pushy men who need to be put in their place. For Spanish-speaking countries, try “no me toques” (don’t touch me) or “no me molestas,” (don’t bother me).
5) Be careful
If it’s late at night, dark and deserted, don’t take chances with offering a retort or even with engaging with the catcallers. Just speed walk past them and don’t say a word. Swallowing your pride is a small price to pay to keep yourself safe.
What is your advice for how to deal with catcalls? Have any crazy stories of encounters you’ve had with men abroad? Do share!