Female Dopers: How Do You Feel About Catcalls?

This has come up in conversations a few times with other women. Some don’t care, some find it flattering, some think it’s utterly demeaning and a form of harassment…what do you think?

I usually find it a bit flattering…though on occasion, it can be kind of creepy. When I was living up in Harlem, and it was the same people nearly every time I left my house, for example.

Do you draw a line between catcalls and just general remarks (like, “You look so sexy,” etc)?

Well, they don’t bother me, for two reasons. One, if I heard one, I would never think it was directed at me(though my husband makes a point of commenting every time it is), and Two, possibly as a result of One, I pretty much never hear them. I’m a very focused person most of the time, and if I’m walking down a street, especially by myself, it’s almost like I have blinders on, and I don’t hear or pay attention to anything not directly affecting me.

I’m all for them as long as they’re appreciative rather than intimidating/threatening. A smile back from me and both of us can go about our day a with a little ego boost.

Is this different from a wolf whistle? When I hear somebody say “cat call” I think of the rrrrowl that guys do whenever they think a cat fight might be a-brewin’

Well, I just meant general things that guys call out when they see a sexy lady. Anything from a wolf whistle to a “How YOU doin’?” pretty much. Not the catfight thing.

Harassment. I feel like I’m being objectified and I don’t appreciate it.

I don’t care so long as the guys doesn’t start following me and doesn’t use obsene language. Like Delphine said, there’s a difference between boldness and aggression. Don’t get me wrong, if someone I knew did this often would make me think less of them, but from a stranger on the street, whatever, its just part of city life. There are worse sins against society, I’d rather be around cat-callers than litter-bugs. If its a non-sexual comment (“nice smile”, etc), they’ll get a smile back.

My SO says it’s annoying.

I usually just put glass bottles on my fingertips and clank them together while moaning, “Warriors, come out to play-i-ay.”

Or maybe that was just in a dream I had when I fell asleep on the couch while watching USA “Up All Night”.


Depends, is he cute? :smiley:

Seriously though, it completely depends on the specific comment, and the tone. An appreciative “how YOU doin’?” will probably get a wink from me. “Nice tits”, on the other hand, will prompt me to embarrass you in front of your friends by asking if that has ever, even once, actually gotten you laid, and since I assume the answer is no, then are you simply trying to impress your friends here, or are you actually taking your revenge on that chick who wouldn’t go to the prom with you by attempting to humiliate attractive women? Because revenge by proxy is seriously lame, dude. Seek help with your issues.

Such bitterness :smiley:


Its intended to be humiliating to the woman. If a guy truly thought a woman was attractive he wouldn’t act like an ape yelling and making rude noises at her. The only possible reason for doing so is to show off to those around him that he’s some sort of “big man”. :rolleyes: Though why any realy man would think it appropriate to make comments about the way a woman looks is unclear.

Quiet, non-crude comment that sounds like it was honestly inspired = Fine.
Loud comments, especially with friends egging him on = Please, shut up already.
Crude comments, or acting insulted that I don’t fall down in gratitude for the previous yelled-out comments = I start thinking about bodily harm (worried about to me if I’m alone; fantasized about to him if I’m in a populated area).

In the novel ‘Silence of the Lambs’, FBI section chief Jack Crawford’s wife was dubbed ‘Bella’ when they were on their honeymoon in Venice, and a boatman called out “Bella!” (Italian for ‘beautiful’) across a canal. Jack only called her Phyllis when they argued.

I always thought was one classy catcall.

I frequently don’t notice them. Usually I’ve sent directions to our destination down to my feet, and after that I just sort of trust them to know where we’re going. Between my own thoughts and my MP3 player I pretty much ignore any noises that don’t signal “hey, you’re about to be run over!”

When I do hear them, if they sound not-creepy and the guy (or girl – I get calls sometimes from other girls about my long, long hair) just keeps going without waiting for a response, I figure they’re harmless. It’s uber-creepy if whoever’s calling starts slowing down and trying to talk to me, though, and I pretty much power-walk away from anyone calling “Hey, baby, wanna ride?”

This is strange. I don’t think that I have ever heard anyone give a catcall or wolf whistle other than on TV or movies (usually set somewhere in the North East). You guys are talking about groups of construction workers or whatever yelling stuff out to women as they pass by? I just haven’t seen it. What I do see is guys stare, and maybe laugh and joke amongst themselves or maybe one of the group goes up and tries to talk to the girl, but not just yelling when the girl is 20 yards away or whatever. That doesn’t even make sense. Oh yeah, I do see homeless people yelling out at women, but then again they yell at everyone (last week, I learned from a ranting guy that I was his cousin and that I knew where grandma’s coffee was).

I find them frightening and threatening. But perhaps if men tried going through life at 4’10" and 130 lbs, they’d find it frightening and threatening if people more than a foot taller, and twice their mass… bellowed uninvited and generally crude sexual comments at them, too.

I used to get it a lot in Mexico, where I was an exchange student. The only times I’ve encountered it since returning to the US were from Spanish-speaking men in groups, nationality unknown. They were calling in Spanish. I’m sure they thought I didn’t understand. I wish I hadn’t.

I got it a lot when I was younger, and I hated it every time. It seemed to happen with great frequency, to the point that I dreaded a mere walk to the mailbox to mail a letter.
Now that I’m older and more inured to poor behavior, nobody does it to me anymore. I imagine they prefer more vulnerable, young-looking ladies.

This thread reminded me of a craigslist best-of. This actually isn’t the one I was looking for, but the premise is the same.

Thank you, vagrants, for the self-esteem boost. - w4m

I’m Hispanic - so,

“look guys, in this town monuments walk!” is good
wolfwhistle and appreciative-but-not-leering smile is good
“hey gorgeous, my partner here wants a date with you, I can’t cos I’m married!” and he’s alone in the truck is good

wiggling your tongue at me makes me want to get some red-hot tongs and pull on said organ until I can insert it up your own anus
honking and then trying to look as if it was someone else when yours is the only occupied car on the street deserves a beating with a wet trout.