Street harassment is an unfortunate reality that most women have had to endure for decades, but in recent years there has been a concerted effort through various projects, hashtags, and dialogues, to bring this issue front and center and raise awareness about its negative effects on both women and men. With projects like, Stop Telling Women To Smile, there have been a serious efforts to educate men in particular about the uneasiness and fear that women feel when they are aggressively catcalled and approached on the street.
All that work may be for naught because today Doree Lewark penned an article titled “Hey, Ladies — Cat Calls are Flattering! Deal With It.” The article originally appeared in the New York Post where Lewark expressed being flattered about being catcalled on the streets of New York. Lewark wrote:
I’ll never forget my first time: At age 20, interning at MTV in Times Square and taking advantage of the company’s liberal summer dress policy, I was wearing a tightly molded pink tank top and black capris when I strolled by two construction guys on a lunch break.
“You’re hot!” they shouted, high-fiving one another.
I was over the moon. What a contrast from those coy college boys who never expressed how they felt. This was a brave new world, where guys tell it like they see it.
Now, a decade later, I still get that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling whenever I walk past a construction stronghold. I’ve learned that it’s not what you wear — the skimpy sundresses, the sky-high heels — but how. Walking confidently past a mass of men, making eye contact and flashing a smile shows you as you are: self-possessed and playful. The wolf whistles that follow will send your ego soaring.
As can be expected, the article was met with negative responses from readers who explained that street harassment often begins for girls in their teens and explained that the behavior is offensive and degrading. Jezebel has now provided the world with a “revised” version of Lewark’s article that replaces men doing the catcalling with actual cats. It’s pretty hilarious.