***WARNING: This post may contain themes and/or content that is triggering to some readers. Use caution when reading.***
Catcalling is a problem in a lot of countries, especially the U.S. For anyone who doesn’t know, catcalling is defined by The Oxford Dictionary as “A loud whistle or comment of a sexual nature made by a man to a passing woman.” It’s more than just a whistle or comment though, it’s a symbol of male entitlement toward women.
A comic shown in MIC (which you can see here) perfectly sums up what it’s like to be a woman catcalled. Catcalling isn’t so much about wanting to date or sleep with the woman being catcalled (well, it is, but no guy expects a woman to turn around and give him her number after he whistles at her and calls her a fox). Catcalling is a power move; it shows women that men are in charge and
I found an interesting YouTube video on catcalling, called “Male Actor Dresses As Woman to Experience Sexual Harassment” by CNN. In this video (shown below), an Egyptian male actor was disguised as a woman and sent out to walk around Cairo to experience the objectification women in the city face.
There’s also a racial element to catcalling. You may be familiar with the video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” by Rob Bliss Creative in partnership with Hollaback (attached below in case you forgot), which is a staged performance of what many women experience when walking around large cities or public places.
Many critics of the video, who do agree with its overall message, have called out the video for using a white woman and showing the majority of the catcallers as black and Latino. Slate is one of these critics. (You can see a tweet below from a critic, Roxane Gay, quoted in the article.)
When asked to respond to the accusations of “racial blindness” (as Slate has named it), Bliss wrote:
“We got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera,” or was ruined by a siren or other noise. The final product, he [Bliss] writes, “is not a perfect representation of everything that happened.” (Taken from the Slate article)
It isn’t fair to show catcallers as predominantly PoC and nonwhite, when in reality there are no statistics available (as of now) to support this notion. In my personal experience (and from what I’ve read about) the racial and ethnic identity of the catcaller depends on where a woman is (ex. what neighborhoods she is walking in, what country, what city, etc.). But it appears that all races are just as likely to be catcallers.
If you’re interested in reading more about the video above, I suggest reading these articles from Brooklyn Magazine, CNN, and another post from Slate.
Catcalling is problematic not only because it is used to show women that men deserve their time (regardless of whether they want to give it to them), but it can also lead to violence. Catcalling may seem “innocent” at first (I use that term very loosely here), but it can quickly turn into a physical occurrence that more often than not ends with the woman being the victim of not only catcalling, but sexual assault. Look at the Buzzfeed video below, entitled “What Catcalling Feels Like.”
Holly Kearl, a write for Ms. Magazine, the literary child of renowned feminist Gloria Steinem, describes one of these scenarios in her article “When Street Harassment Is More Deadly Than Catcalls.”
“Recently in Florida, a 14-year-old girl was walking down the street when a man in an SUV pulled up beside her and offered her $200 to have sex with him.
Unfortunately this isn’t the only incident of catcalling turning violent that Kearl writes about. Whether we would like to admit it or not, it’s dangerous to be a woman in the world, regardless of where you live. Catcalling is only one of the many obstacles women face when out in public, even in the U.S.
To any men reading this, don’t catcall women. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to compliment her or trying to start a conversation. If she wants to talk to you, she will on her own. She doesn’t owe you her time, just like you don’t owe her yours. Recognize that catcalling can make women feel uncomfortable, even if you mean no harm by it.
And, lastly, don’t be THIS guy!
NOTE: We are not affiliated with the YouTube channels or videos featured in this post. We are also not affiliated with any of the articles or writers mentioned, and all quotes were taken from their corresponding links.
The fight against Planned Parenthood continues as Congress (mainly the conservatives) continue to investigate the organization in an effort to end its federal funding. In the wake of the investigation, a clinic in Colorado Springs was targeted by an extremist, leaving three dead and nine injured. You can read more about that from CNN or from the New York Times.
In response to the shooting, Planned Parenthood stated that it would be keeping its doors open. You can read more below via the link tweeted from the organization’s account.
Fortunately, one state has already relinquished its fight with Planned Parenthood. According to an article from The Huffington Post/Reuters, the governor of Alabama has already given up his court case for defunding the organization on the state level. What does this mean for Planned Parenthood in Alabama? Women and men can continue to use PP’s services under Medicaid, and PP will continue to use state funds to help finance the poorer population.
There are a lot of different events transpiring now that have to do with Planned Parenthood and abortion. One is that Planned Parenthood will no longer accept reimbursements from companies that are sent fetal tissues from the clinic. This is where a lot of the controversy comes from; Planned Parenthood was not selling the aborted fetuses for profit, but was asking for $30-$100 reimbursements from researches to cover the costs of processing and transporting it. You can read about that here, as it is outlined toward the end of the article.
Another is the Supreme Court’s acceptance of a case challenging Texas abortion laws. The fate of abortion, and the organizations like Planned Parenthood that help provide them, in the U.S. is about to drastically change. As a result of the ruling of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992), the most recent landmark abortion case, states are allowed to regulate abortions as long as they do not impose an “undue burden” on the women trying to get them. You can read more about the case here if you are interested.
Since this case reaffirmed the findings of Roe v. Wade (1973) (which you read about here if you’re interested), many conservative states have changed tactics to target clinics, as opposed to women. The Texas laws in question require clinics providing the abortions “to have costly hospital-grade facilities” and require clinic physicians to have “admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles” (quotes taken from this Huffington Post article).
Why is this upcoming hearing going to be so important? If the Court votes in favor of the laws, claiming that they are constitutional and they are not an “undue burden,” other states will be able to implement similar laws. This is threatening to clinics because it will likely force many to close, as the costs (both financial from having to upgrade their facilities, and social from having to work with other hospitals that do not wish to associate with their poor reputations) will be too great. Women will have an even harder time finding access to safe and legal abortions.
If the Court rules against the laws, clinics will have a greater chance of staying open to continue servicing women in need. Planned Parenthood, and other abortion providers, will be able to continue the life-changing work they are already doing. If you are interested in reading more about the case, you can read this article from the Huffington Post.
Abortion is a complicated topic in American politics. Many Americans, as men and women and as Democrats and Republicans, are still split on the legality of the procedure. This upcoming case will be one to watch in the news, as Roe v. Wade (1973) will either be enforced for weakened.
If you’re a woman, regardless of whether you agree with the idea of abortion, you should be reading into the current events of Planned Parenthood and this upcoming case. Your healthcare choices are at stake.
Personally I believe all women should have access to safe and legal abortions, if they feel that is their best option. That’s why I will continue to stand with Planned Parenthood, even as it is investigated and may become defunded. Planned Parenthood provides many basic healthcare services to millions of men and women around the country, and abortion is only one of these services. Women have the right to access abortions and information about abortions.
Remember to check out the #StandWithPP trend on Twitter if you haven’t already.
If your feminism isn't intersectional we don't want to talk to you.