Once upon a time catcalling and men honking as they drove by women were commonplace. Back then, most women had to develop a thick skin and/or were conditioned to believe that wearing revealing clothing was asking for it.
But just in case you were unaware, unsolicited comments either complementary or derogatory are still unwanted.
Strangely enough, I have never seen a woman yell out from her car to a man walking down the street (minding his own business) “Shake your balls for me cutie” or “You are too fat and bald to be wearing that!”
So why do some men and boys feel the need to remark on girls’ or women’s appearances? Do you not realize that it jeopardizes their sense of safety and makes them feel vulnerable? Body shaming and over-sexualizing women and girls affects their mental health, body image and confidence.
So why are my (non-sexy) panties in a bunch suddenly? My daughter.
For the past two years, my daughter has frequently told me that she was walking through Wakefield and men have made sexualized comments towards her. To be clear, she is 12 years old. Rarely a day goes by when a boy at school does not shout something rude about her or one of her friend’s appearances.
Recently, after picking my daughter up from school, she told me about a car that drove by at her school. They honked and shouted from the car. She quickly put her hoodie on over her t-shirt.
Let me mention again that she is 12 years old and is being made to feel self-conscious, vulnerable and unsafe by catcalling in the Hills. What if this was your daughter?
Talk to the boys and men in your life. Help them understand that this is unacceptable behaviour for anyone, no matter their gender. This is harassment. This needs to stop.
So, the next time someone catcalls you or makes a derogatory comment, confront them about it for the sake of our daughters. Ignoring this issue will not make it go away.
By the way, if I catch you making those comments to my daughter — well, let’s just say you won’t be able to honk, let alone drive for a while.
Tina Eckerlin is a resident of Lac-des-Loups and a strong advocate for empowering women and girls.