Saturday, March 29, 2014

Catcalling / Street Harassment


Like I’ve mentioned before, I live in Venezuela… and you have no idea how bad this problem is over here…

It’s IMPOSSIBLE to walk just ONE single block without getting a nasty comment from a guy. I’ve even been followed. And sometimes, if I don’t answer (because apparently you have to thank those guys for sexually harassing you!), I’ve been insulted. I would never walk on the streets here wearing a skirt or shorts, I’ve never done it, never will (although I've realized that what you're wearing doesn't make much of a difference in these cases).

The sad thing is, I’ve even gotten racist comments along with the nasty ones. I’m very pale and have light hair, this is not that common here, and there was a time when a guy on the street told me that I needed to go to the beach and get some color, because I was too white… Not racist, you think? Let’s put it the other way around: hey, go get your skin a bit lighter and get rid of your color, it’s too dark… Oh that one does sound racist, right? Add a nasty comment to that to make it even more special! :)

Most people in Venezuela go out in fear (this is one of the most dangerous countries in the world), so I bet most people are praying inside their heads when walking on the street sometimes. Well, a lot of women even forget about that, the first thing in their heads is praying that none of the guys saying all that actually does those things to them. I know I have thought like that pretty much every time, those are priorities, your body and safety are way more important than your money or cellphone.

I don’t even understand how there are women here who go jogging; I tried it once with a girlfriend (and in a pretty good neighborhood)… Oh never again, my friend! I now do yoga in the comfort of my own bedroom.


I’m not saying this isn’t a problem in other countries, oh it is!! That’s why I’m writing about it. I used to live in Germany, although I never got any comments there. I’ve been on vacation to other places too, even New York City, wearing little shorts and all; I did get some comments (mostly from construction workers for some reason). It was never as bad as it is here. BUT it does happen everywhere though, ALL the time. And it shouldn't.

And seriously, it’s like they’re making you feel like you’re just a piece of meat… like a little deer walking through a bunch of starving predators, waiting for the first one to jump at you and take a bite… It’s an awful feeling; NO-ONE has the right to make you feel like that, to make you feel so low, like you’re merchandise. I’m pretty sure most of the girls reading this know I’m not exaggerating; it’s scary and exasperating at the same time. Catcalls are NOT compliments, please remember that. And flirting and catcalling are not the same thing either, I've seen guys on the internet getting mad when women complain about street harassment, saying that now we're trying to take away a man's right to flirt with a woman he finds attractive... Flirting is one thing, street harassment is another. I don't get scared or feel insulted when a guy flirts with me on the street, it's very different from street harassment.

I was talking about this to a male friend of mine once and he said he had never realized this problem! That he started noticing how bad it was after I told him about it and I can’t tell you how sad it made me. Of course there are guys who don’t do this (catcalling), like my friend, but most of those aren’t even aware it’s happening.

I’ve noticed that, if I walk with my dad or some male friends, then I won’t get those comments… BUT I would get the awful stares; you know those, the ones you feel on you like they’re taking off your clothes. If I walk with my mom we would both get comments or she would even get called “mother-in-law”. Talk about respect and boundaries!


Most people seem to think that women and men nowadays are on the same page. Sadly, I don’t think that’s happened yet, because there are still problems like this, and it’s just one of them, one that’s not even that bad if you compare it to some others, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Sometimes I feel like asking these perverts if they have women they care about… a mother, sisters, daughters, a girlfriend/wife (which makes it even worse!) but maybe they don’t even care, they don’t realize how degrading and scary their behavior is to us women.

Again, I don’t know if some of you may think I’m exaggerating, I really don’t think I am, I consider this to be a huge issue. Society also plays a big role in this, I want to write about women in the media in the future, it’s not really that hard to find a commercial, TV show, etc. that portrays women as sex objects, it’s actually harder not finding at least one every single day.

Finally, I hope you take some time to watch this video if you haven’t already, it’s really amazing. I don’t know how many men would get the message, because you have no idea how many immature men I’ve heard saying that they would never worry about a woman sexually harassing them, that it would be awesome! I do hope the guys who watch this get the idea and understand the problem, because I think it does a good job at explaining it:


So what are your thoughts on catcalling / any form of street harassment?


Thank you very much for reading!

12 comments:

  1. Cool post!
    wonderfulworldoflilyrose.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. great post dear ! :) xx
    www.ambifashion.com

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  3. I didn't realise it was so bad over there! But tbh, I would have been like 'Thanks, Its not like I haven't heard that one before' or 'thanks a lot'- thats how we deal with it in Britain!
    Make sure to check out my blog:
    MAJOTRON.BLOGSPOT.COM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it is :/ although I know there are places where it's a lot worse, like Egypt, for example.
      I sometimes feel like saying things like that to them, but it hasn't worked that well in the past -.-

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  4. I really hope you do get a chance to write about issues like this in the media like this one day Carla, I can't believe that you are made to feel like that, I've never experienced anything like this living in Britain, it's so different to read something like this and of course very sad xx

    EmmiHearts

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    1. Sure, I really want to write about that topic, it's something that I find to be extremely important.
      Yes, it's very sad. And like I said, in other countries it's even worse. In Germany I didn't have to experience things like this either. It's mainly about culture, I guess.

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  5. Wow! That is a huge problem. How rude and disrespectful! You're the first blogger I've come across from Venezuela, so this was a huge eye opener. The women are so pretty there, but it doesn't give men the right to act so horribly. I wouldn't want to walk outside either. Is it a cultural thing? Is it just construction workers? To be totally disrespectful like that is horrid. Excellent post!
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! It's really frustrating because I don't understand how people can be so disrespectful. Sadly, the word 'respect' is not in most people's vocabularies here, it's a shame that I have to say this about the country I was born in, but I can't just pretend and lie about it. That's why I like writing in English, so I can reach more people :)
      It's totally a cultural thing, you get this sort of behavior from all kinds of men/guys.
      Thank you so much for you comment! :)

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  6. I think it's a shame that this is such a massive problem worldwide - and that particularly where you live it's so bad. I remember vividly being 12 years old and getting told how sexy I was by a 40 year old man on the street - it made me feel so uncomfortable, but he probably thought he was paying me a compliment. I wish as women, we could feel more comfortable but even in London I feel uneasy around men when I'm walking alone.

    vvnightingale.blogspot.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Exactly, most men think these are compliments when they're actually very far from being that. It's just scary.
      I also started getting this kind of behavior from men on the streets when I was around 12, I was just a kid.

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