You don’t have to live on the streets of New York City to experience being a victim of catcalling. Although the inappropriate comments, the shouts, the whistles, and the honking of car horns seem prevalent in the bustling city that never sleeps, location does not equal being a victim. Many times, the only requirement for being a victim is the act of existing. It’s that simple.
Females are subject to catcalling on a daily basis. As we walk to our cars from the supermarket, gym, or a restaurant, we encounter cat-callers. As we walk our dogs, we encounter cat-callers. As we walk to the park with children, we encounter cat-callers. Female joggers practically have heart attacks from cat-callers blaring horns as they run. Cat-callers seem to be everywhere, preying on each and every woman that steps outside. I ignore cat-callers, but one fierce feminist responds to her cat-callers. Her name is Jessica Valenti.
Jessica Valenti was my gateway into feminism. Since my very first Women’s and Gender Studies class in college, she has been a part of my life. I have read all of Valenti’s published work, analyzed theories, and included her in many of my papers during my time in college. Regardless of all that, the fact is this: Jessica Valenti is awesome for the way she lives her feminist life; she’s a wife, a mother, and she tackles predators one cat-caller at a time.
Valenti lives in Brooklyn, New York. When cat-called, she simply holds up her phone, snaps a picture of her cat-caller, and posts it on social media for all to see. Her captions to the photos include what each cat-caller said to her. Brutal honesty and the spread of social media have become Valenti’s weapons.
Valenti’s responses are bold, quite funny, and pretty awesome, but they are also very important. By posting each catcalling incident on social media, Valenti calls (for lack of a better word) attention to street harassment of females. She shows the seriousness of this issue and what women face on a daily basis. She demonstrates that catcalling isn’t a compliment, but rather, an action that makes many women uncomfortable. So thank you, Jessica Valenti, for responding to your cat-callers (in an awesome way) as opposed to ignoring them (like many women do). You have shown that catcalling is a serious issue that females experience everywhere. You have given another voice to this issue. Are you a female who experiences catcalling? Let us know how you respond in the comments.