This morning on my walk back from taking Little Bit to school there were two separate incidences that made me think about street harassment and catcalling - more specifically, how people respond so dismissively to complaints about it.
“Jeez, just take a compliment” and “What were you wearing? If it was at all revealing then you know you wanted that attention so stop complaining.” Like really wtf? Here are the two things I encountered today:
#1 - One man was walking past me and he said, “Good morning beautiful!” while smiling pleasantly. He glanced up and down, but there was no leer or lingering. Now that is a compliment - BUT there are some people who would be uncomfortable, I’VE even been made uncomfortable by this before - if you can’t read a person by their expression, err on the side of a polite nod.
#2 - The second was a man in a car who, while at a red light, yelled to me “Hey baby, come here and suck my dick!” THAT IS STREET HARASSMENT. THAT IS GROSS AND THAT IS NOT A COMPLIMENT. It doesn’t matter what a person is wearing (not for nothing, it’s under 30 degrees F out there, I was bundled) and that is NEVER appropriate. That does more than make a person uncomfortable - it can make them feel unsafe.
The only thing you should ever say is #1 and, as I said, you should be considerate about it - it’s not hard to tell when someone just wants to be left alone to reach their destination in peace. And if you do say it to a stranger and they respond negatively, don’t be a fucking asshole and call them a bitch - YOU were the one whose behaviour was unwelcomed, YOU need to apologize and/or move the fuck on.
If you ever do anything like scenario #2…well, you are a horrible human being.
Stop telling people to just accept street harassment or calling it a compliment.