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The Fear Behind Cat Calling

What Women Wish You Would Understand

There was an instance some years ago where I was leaving my mother's house late at night. Before heading home, I decided to head towards a fast food place and grab a quick bite. It was a Sunday night and, being a relatively small town, the streets were empty. As I crawled to a stop at a red light, I noticed a white car that was in the second lane to my left. Two men looked to be in their early 30s and, once I stopped right next to them, were staring dead in my direction.

Strangers staring makes me feel a little uncomfortable, so I turned away and silently waited for the light to turn green. However, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that they were rolling down their window and waving furiously at me. Wondering if something might be wrong, I peeked over. By their crude gestures, I realized nothing was wrong except that they probably were drinking while driving. Feeling even more uncomfortable and a little nervous at this point, I slammed on the gas pedal the second the light gave me the go ahead.

The two boys decided to have a little fun at this point. Maybe they thought I was playing around, or perhaps they liked the fact that I was scared. Either way, they matched my speed perfectly down the empty road. Being an overly used street, I started to speed in hopes I would get pulled over by a police officer. After a block and no sirens in sight, I decided to abruptly turn down a side street that leads toward our local grocery store.

I felt a little shaken but relieved as I neared the store with the bright lights. Unfortunately, I noticed the white car speeding into the next possible turn and looping around. They were coming towards me, and I felt the panic stick to the back of my throat. As quick as possible (and entirely illegally), I sped to the next turn out of the parking lot, went onto the next available street, and went far too fast until I reached the interstate that leads to my home.

At this point, I did lose them, but the fear stuck with me for days after that. While they did not technically catcall, I would say this is an appropriate example of why women fear it. If I had been walking when this entire scenario had gone down, I don't know what would have happened. The problem is that, while some people might have good intentions when they hoot and compliment a woman walking down the street, most people have minds that go to incredibly dark places.

So, why do women fear being cat called? Besides the annoyance of the entire situation, there is also the unknown of what will happen when we don't respond the right way. If we ignore that group of men, it might make them violent towards us. If we answer, that might provoke them even more. There is never a perfect way to handle these situations. Not only that, but it almost always comes from a group of men who are aiming the derogatory speech towards one single female.

I know most men don't understand why that could be scary. To them, this seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I also realize not all men do this (thank you to you guys). However, when you are walking down a street that doesn't have a lot of traffic and three large men are telling you how plump your ass is, you are incredibly aware of how easy it would be for them to overpower you.

Even without fear behind being catcalled, women still have plenty of reasons to hate you for participating in the act. I've never met a woman who appreciates a group of people derogatorily commenting on her body as she rushes to work. You are not trying to compliment her or take her out on a date; you are judging flesh as if you were at a butcher shop. Nothing is flattering about being compared to a piece of meat.

The question should not be of why women fear it but why men still do it? After all the years of yelling and laughing with your pals, how many of you have gotten an actual girlfriend? How many catcalls ended in consensual sex? When you yell at a woman like that, we already know where your mind is going. You aren't trying to flirt with us. You want us to take you to the nearest corner and let you have your way. Since no woman ever wants this, most of the time this ends with you playing out this fantasy while the woman is unable to make her own decisions.

So, next time you feel like telling a girl she has a nice ass, think about why you want to say it. Think about the fact that there is no genuine way for us to respond, that you have just instilled fear into our mind, and that we would rather have a weapon at that moment than a cup of coffee with you. If none of this matters to you, then I hope you have a fun and exciting time in the prison cell that you will eventually end up in one day.

Catcalling never has and will never be fun for a woman. If you want to get lucky, you would have a better chance of complimenting her mind, her ideas, and her heart. Not yelling on the side of the street where you have the upper hand with your group of sleazy pals. 

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The Fear Behind Cat Calling
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