Imagine this: you are walking down the street and you hear whistling you turn to look for the dog that might have gone missing and you realize that… Wait… That whistle was directed at you! Sadly this is not a make believe situation and this is a reality for many women in Reunion. Catcalling: the term which is used to represent a whistle, a shout, or a comment of sexual nature to a woman passing by on the street, happens quite frequently and in my experience, I don’t know any women who enjoy this type of behaviour. It is degrading, disrespectful, annoying, creepy and the list goes on.
This leads me to ask the question, why has catcalling become a common practice? Do the men who whistle, shout at, or make sounds at passing women find this romantic? Better question, what might these men hope for in return, and has it ever actually worked?
Ok, so I am not an expert in this domain, but in my experience the most common response is that the woman continues walking (trying to ignore the comment) and the man waits for the next woman to try his feeble attempt at a romantic gesture. Best case scenario, the man realizes that this is not the best way to find a girlfriend and gives up on this technique. Worst case scenario, the man really believes that this is a compliment and that the lack of response represents a sort of speechless admiration on the part of the woman. Which I am sure this is almost never the case.
Instead of making this Valentine’s Day episode all about why sexual harassment is never romantic, because lets face it, unwanted comments to a passing female is plain and simple: sexual harassment. Let’s talk about how we can make this Valentine’s Day romantic!
Step one: before whistling at a woman passing by, stop and consider how you would want someone to treat your sister, or girlfriend who is walking down the street. (Chances are that whistle will disappear).
Step two: tell those who are close to you how much you love or appreciate them.
Step three: (The most important step) respect, there is nothing more romantic and beautiful than respect for everyone equally.
After all, we all want to feel comfortable walking down the street, so lets spread love and not fear and remember… if you’re still looking for that special person there’s always Freedom Radio’s Chaleur Tropicale!
whistling – siffler les filles
make-believe – fiction
annoying – énervant
creepy – louche
feeble – peu convaincant
to give up – renoncer
gesture – geste
speechless – sans voix
instead of – au lieu de
unwanted – non désiré
close – proche
spread – diffuser
fear – peur