Whether you’re on your way to work, strolling at the mall or just buying something at a nearby sari-sari store, you're not safe from catcalling. By informal definition, catcalling means “to make a whistle, shout, or comment of a sexual nature to a woman passing by.” Now how can us women not just deal with, but triumph over, this?
Reese Belarmino, 29, gets catcalled half of the time she commutes. How does she go about it? “Bilang napakatapang ko, I walk back and confront. I ask them, ako ba sinasabihan mo ng (insert catcalling here)? Sigurado kayong ako tinatawag niyo? Bakit? Anung meron? Yang ginagawa niyo, di ba kayo nakakabastos? Paki-check niyo mga sarili niyo baka kase nakakapambastos na kayo ‘e. Alam niyo yun? Bastos?”
Now, most of us may not have the outright courage to do as Reese does. Here are other ways on how you can go about defending yourself, no matter your courage level:
Stop and stare. We’ve all heard this line before, “Makuha ka sa tingin.” So yes, when a guy comments on your body or makes you uncomfortable one bit with unnecessary remarks, try to make a full stop, and stare. Stare with all your visual might, give them hell when you give them the look, the kind that doesn’t need further speaking to let them know what they’re doing isn’t right.
Call them out. If the look doesn’t do it, then call them out. Tell them that while they probably mean well, their unsolicited remarks aren’t welcome and that you would rather not have them. Tell them you hope they don’t do it again. And while it’s challenging, still try to tell them nicely.
Speed walk past them. Okay, normally, we wouldn’t suggest for anyone to shy away from any chance to stand against issues such as this. But you know how these times can be really dangerous for people to live in, so if the guy is hostile, drunk, and really creepy, fight the battle another day and just get the hell out of there.
Walk the talk. Catcalling, in reality, doesn’t just involve women. If you hate being catcalled, just check yourself and make sure you don’t do it either when an irresistibly hot guy walks on by. It’s really that simple.
The repercussions on a woman being catcalled go far beyond more than any of the catcallers can imagine—that is if they’d even consider to think about it in the first place. Catcalling is not in any way a form of flattery; it’s a form of sexual harassment. Catcalling will never be okay, and it’s high time we ladies proactively and consciously make a stand against this every single day.
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Photograph screencapped from the film Clueless