No, it’s not a compliment.

An aspirational guide to eradicating the catcall once and for all.

I wrote this piece last year when I was feeling particularly resentful of male entitlement and the patriarchy. Enjoy!

Boys. ‘Men’. Listen up. I am about to hollaback.

cr: The New York Times —

Way back in March, I was (literally) running late to work, looking a complete mess. But apparently, I was still looking ‘good’ enough to warrant a truck full of tradies winding down their windows and hollering crude things at me. Oh, and to top it all off, it was International Women’s Day. Depressingly ironic, but I let it go.

The other day however, my fury was reignited. My 15-year-old sister came home and told me that a man in his car honked at her when she was walking to the bus stop. Really? At 7:30 in the morning? She was in school uniform. She was clearly a CHILD. That was the final straw.

It’s 2021. You should all be aware by now that there is NOTHING complimentary about loudly and publicly ‘hitting on’ a stranger in the street. We are sick of you honking at us, yelling at us from the top of a construction site, and approaching us when we are alone. Enough is enough.

Right now, the collective conscience about misogyny and rape culture is at an all-time high. We are seeing a nation-wide reckoning of male power and entitlement, which has infected our biggest industries and institutions. Yet we still haven’t figured out how to stop misogyny at its most basic level: catcalling.

In 2018, a survey by Plan Australia found that almost 1 in 4 women in Sydney experience street harassment at least once a month. To make matters worse, 4 out of 5 Sydney women say they first experienced street harassment when they were under 18.

If we want to change the culture on the big scale, we need to work on the ‘small’ stuff first. It’s time to figure out how.

Welcome to my step-by-step guide to finally getting rid of catcalling.

1. Make the scumbag squirm: whip out your phone and start recording them.

Name and shame catcallers on social media. It worked with anti-masking Karen’s, so why wouldn’t it work with a catcaller? Every major city in the country needs an Instagram account that people can anonymously submit documentation of their catcalling incidents to. Check out New York’s account for my inspiration (@catcallsofnyc).

You share a photo, video, or quote of what happened, and the exact location of where the incident took place. It would be a triple whammy: alerting women to places that could be unsafe, raising awareness about local street harassment, and publicly shaming scummy men!

2. Nip shitty behaviour in the bud.

We need to incorporate education about respecting women in schools. We could start with making young men listen to this awesome podcast by Eleanor Gordon-Smith. She pulls two guys aside after they’ve catcalled her in King’s Cross, confronts them and then tries to convince them not to do it anymore. It’s an incredible insight into the catcalling male’s psyche. It could really change a young man’s mind about the actual impact of catcalling women.

3. Make them feel our fear.

Create a Virtual Reality simulation to put catcallers in our shoes. They would ‘walk’ down a dingey street, with women accosting them in all directions. Yelling lewd phrases at them, whistling at them, following them, honking car horns at them… I feel like a vengeful genius thinking about it.

Plus, we wouldn’t have to worry about the ethics of ‘giving them some perspective’ because it’s not even real!

4. Criminalise street harassment. For real.

On par with theft or drink driving, make it an enforceable offence, with fines or community service, even jail time for some.

We need to hold men accountable with real consequences for their actions. It’s already been done in countries like France, and it works. So we need to do the same.

5. Mass brainwashing.

If all else fails, we erase catcalling from the collective memory of society. Easy peasy.

Paul Kelly once said, “from little things, big things grow”. We trivialised the ‘little’ things like catcalling and groping and now, we’re faced with the big, misogynistic monster it grew into: Rape Culture.

By that same logic, if we start by fixing the ‘little’ things, we’ll see some much bigger and better changes in the future. Let’s eradicate catcalling now, so that the girls and women of the future have a chance to finally take down the patriarchy.



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