I apologize for excluding some of the gentlemen with the subject of this post, though I’m sure some of you may be able to sympathize. And just to clarify: I am not man-bashing here, because I know none of my fellow (literally) classmates partake in such obscene behavior…
You all know what I’m talking about: the cat-calls, come-ons and eyes that peel you like a banana. The overwhelming presence of this unfortunate aspect of New York has taken me by utter surprise. And I don’t want to hear about clothing choice; it seems a woman could walk down the street in a potato sack and certain men would still deem it necessary to tell her that her ass looks great in it while they cackle and grin. I see this happen with other women on a daily basis, and none of the women I see look in the least bit flattered.
According to this report, 98 percent of women have dealt with this type of objectification at least a few times, and 30 percent reported being harassed on a regular basis, especially in areas with regular sidewalk traffic (i.e. New York). And here’s another fun fact for New York women: if you get angry enough at a specific eye-ballin,’ name-callin’ perpetrator, you can report this especially obnoxious cat-caller and have him charged with disorderly conduct, although who of us wants to jot down the info of the dudes making us feel uncomfortable?
Now, my mother’s words from long ago come to mind, just like she said they would: when my older brother used to pester me and pick a fight, what she always advise me to do? To ignore him, of course. He only wanted a reaction out of me so he could reap satisfaction. Well, as I have learned and as a friend of mine who has lived here for a while reinforced, the same lesson applies here. If the cat-calls and grimy looks go unanswered, then you can (somewhat) keep your dignity, whereas a pointedly angry middle finger will only arouse more of a response, which I’ve learned the hard way.
So alas, potato sack or not, I simply suggest investing in a superior pair of ear plugs; I actually saw a woman use this method the other day, and she seemed (almost) impervious and unaffected by those who tried to buy her attention with the usual demeaning banter. It’s definitely worth a try.