Cat calls not how to compliment women

By Hayley Devitt

You know the old cartoon stereotype of the construction workers heckling attractive ladies as they walk by minding their own business?

Now, instead of construction workers, young men in DeKalb like to harass female students as they walk home at night.

Perhaps not everyone realizes this is a problem we women face fairly regularly, but it really is.

I asked senior psychology major Rebecca Hooper if she’s ever experienced men shouting at women from their cars.

“Yes,” Hooper said. “Especially in Eco Park.”

Theodore Cwik, senior political science major, said he advocates cat calling “only if they look really good.” Cwik conceded that “if there’s any derogatory slang, it’s probably not advisable.”

Probably not. I don’t think that’d be a good idea.

“If some guy said something and it wasn’t derogatory, I would take it as a compliment,” said senior psychology major Alexandra Meyers.

Derogatory or not, I do not take any cat calls as a compliment. I find it annoying, disrespectful and cowardly when a group of men shout anything at someone from the safety of their cars.

Most of the time, I cannot hear what is being shouted to me and I don’t care; the tone is always one of intimidation.

It’s not about men wanting to compliment a woman or try to make her feel confident; it’s about trying to prove their manliness to their friends.

Also, there’s something about being in a car and separate from the target that makes people feel excused from usual consequences. Proper social decorum is tossed to the wind.

There are a few ways to deal with street harassment, though.

One artist in New York, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, took to drawing posters and putting them up in her neighborhood with slogans like “Women do not owe you their time or conversation” and “Stop telling women to smile.”

In a web comic I found on The Toast, a humor and blogging website, the artists suggest we “surgically alter men’s vocal chords” so when they harass women, all that comes out of their mouths are nice compliments like, “I like your shoes….”

The comic also suggests every time a man says something rude to a woman he does not know, he has to wear a piece of black jewelry from the “Pretty Pretty Princess” board game.

Those ideas would only come to fruition in an ideal world. If you’re truly dedicated, you can take down the cat-caller’s license plate numbers, find out where he lives and commence your merciless pranking.

If you and your cat-callers are both walking, you can pretend you’re so flattered by his advances you scare him away with your affection. Freak him out; maybe grab his leg and cry as he tries to escape.

In all seriousness, guys at NIU need to stop yelling at women for sport. It won’t make the women want to sleep with them; instead, it makes them feel verbally attacked.

It’s sad that usually the best we can do in that situation is just ignore these guys. I think more than anything the men shouting just want to get a reaction out of a girl to ridicule her.

You may be in control of refusing that goal, but you can still feel shaken up by an encounter like that.

If you think cat calling is harmless or a good way to get a woman’s attention, you should know it’s not wanted. Nighttime in a college town is already scary enough without being heckled by strangers as we try to move from one place to another safely.

There is a polite way to tell a girl she looks nice, and yelling “Hey baby, nice tits!” is not the way.