Fighting Street Harassment with Twitter

1 Comment 27 July 2009

Regardless of what city you live in or what types of clothes you wear, chances are that if you are a woman who has ever walked down the street for any reason, you have been the recipient of catcalls. Catcalling is a form of street harassment; it includes being the target of leering, whistles, honks, sexually charged comments, and vulgar gestures.

Every person has the right to walk down a street without having to be whistled at, leered at, honked at, or have unnecessary comments made in bad taste directed at them, so the next time you’re harassed tweet it to @catcalled, a “moderately attractive young lady just tryin to walk around without getting hassled.”


I love the idea of tweeting catcalls that are directed towards you or that you hear on the street directed towards other people. Oftentimes your tweet will get retweeted and it will continue to show others who pay attention just how often and just how consistent catcalling is, regardless of where a woman is located or what she is wearing.

Unfortunately, many people do not take street harassment as seriously as they should. When a woman comes forth with information about being bothered by street harassers and being catcalled, women are often told to get over it; that it wasn’t that bad or to stop complaining because at least she didn’t get hurt, and looking at the silver lining, at least someone thought she was so attractive that they just had to say something about it. The pervasiveness and complete terror that comes with this problem is often completely ignored; that is, unless you’ve been walking home from work one night and just about jumped three feet in the air and swore your heart exploded right out of your chest because a car drove by and honked at you and then went speeding down the road; or instead of speeding down the road, the people in that car rolled their windows down and while driving slowly alongside of you, yelled obscenities and hurled sexually charged comments at you.

Hopefully, as more and more people start taking street harassment more seriously, it will not be something that women must merely tolerate or be told to get used to.

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1 comment

  1. Gail Keith says:

    Interesting topic.

    I don’t think the men who make catcalls really understand the implications of that behavior. Let’s assume the average catcaller is basically a nice guy who just believes they are engaging in some fun, frat boy behavior.

    When a woman has to “tolerate” the harassment, her power to stand her ground against anything more aggressive is compromised because the lines become blurred.

    Where does harassment end and real threat begin?

    In the example of the car driving slowly beside you – that is a real threat and you should call 911 immediately.

    I think this issue is two fold, one men need to just stop it and show respect by keeping their mouths shut. And Two women need to report this behavior to employers. If you are being catcalled by a bunch of construction workers – you need to march into the construction office, file a complaint and let them know if it doesn’t stop the police will be called.

    I could go on – there is so much more to this topic then what we can cover here. Bottom line – we live in a society where this type of behavior should no longer be tolerated.

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