My turn to dish out some harassment

Samantha Krotzer wrote a great street harassment opinion piece for The Temple News Online. She discusses how much she dislikes men’s “catcalls.”

“It was at that moment I decided this: I have had it. I am a female, not a feline, and the “catcalls” men make are offensive and a form of sexual harassment.”

She talks about what’s behind their actions.

“What they say is meaningless,” said Laura Levitt, director of the women’s studies program at Temple. “They use the power of the anonymous guy to make comments to you.”

Of course, not all men disrespect women in this manner, but Levitt said some men feel they have a heterosexual masculinity privilege that gives them the right to say offensive things to women.

“It is some sort of entitlement for men,” Levitt said. “It is really not OK.”

Krotzer experiments with catcalling at men to show how stupid it is.

“As men walked by, I held nothing back. I whistled at a middle-aged man, made indecent grunts at teenage boys and even snuck in a “nice butt” to a man in a business suit.

Guess how many positive reactions I received. Zero. Instead, I received looks that screamed, “Are you insane?” And a couple of men even told me I was being rude and immature.”

And she shares some ideas for how women can take back some of the power harassing men try to take from them.

For example, after a man catcalled her, she asked him where he was going to take her for dinner (since he must just be simply enamored with her to harass her on the street). He was surprised, stuttered for a few minutes, then said “Olive Garden.” He clearly wasn’t expecting to take her anywhere.

One of Krotzer’s friends says it’s safer to stand up to harassers by ignoring them. Levitt suggests whistling in the faces of men who harass you. Krotzer closes by saying, “Maybe blowing a whistle in these guys’ faces will help them realize how annoying their comments are.”

Have you tried any unusual tactics to challenge harassing men?


2 Responses to My turn to dish out some harassment

  1. Margaret says:

    I used to smile sweetly and say “God bless,” “Jesus loves you,” or “I’ll pray for your soul.” That would always get them to back off. I’m not religious, but it’s so unexpected a response, and it played with the idea of the ‘nice girl’. Other times I’d laugh in their faces, or give them the glare.

    Once, I was followed for a couple of blocks by an aggressive harasser in his car. He kept motioning for me to get in. I turned around and said in a loud voice “Look, buddy. I’m walking home. I’m not working, I’m not for sale. I don’t want company. Go away!”

    Since I lived in a bad neighborhood, there were a lot of johns walking around. The neighborhood was cracking down on johns, so I’d flip out my cell phone and pretend to record the license plate (I couldn’t afford a cell phone plan, but I carried my not in service phone with me for that purpose). They’d take off every time because they didn’t want to deal with a fine or to have to go to john school.

  2. val says:

    I have zero tolerance for that sort of behavior. I am a 43 year old woman and I can’t believe I still get this sort of thing.
    What I usually do when a guy makes a comment at me is stop, look them in the eye and say, “Would you like someone talking to your mother or your sister that way?”

    I have never gotten a verbal response from doing that, only a look of disbelief and sometimes they just look away in shame.

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