Imagine a 13-year-old girl: awkward and uncomfortable, walking with her friend on the sidewalk. Suddenly, a 30-year-old man speeds past, flashes a creepy grin, and shouts, “Hey baby!”
If something similar has happened to you, you’re not alone. Over 99% of American women say they have been street harassed in some manner*. Most girls are barely a teenager the first time they get catcalled, and they’re far from hearing it for the last time.
Street harassment is unacceptable. No girl or woman should have to feel ashamed, embarrassed, or self conscious walking down the street. If she’s wearing shorts, she should not have to listen to men making comments about her legs. There is a big difference between complimenting someone and shouting at a woman on the street that she should smile more.
Ashton Mares, a sophomore at All Saints’, has had her fair share of catcalling experiences.
“I was at Paschal watching the baseball game, when a car slowed down, and the guy inside shouted explicit things about my body. I felt upset and violated,” Mares said.
When women are catcalled, not only do they feel afraid, but they feel self conscious. A woman might feel as if she cannot express herself through fashion because she is too worried about looking “hot” and getting excessive comments about her body. Women have the right to dress as they please, but it becomes difficult for them when men are making them feel like they need to cover up more in order to receive less creepy stares or comments.
Around the globe, most women say they have been street harassed before the age of 17. In Tokyo, 64% of women ages 20-30 say they have been groped while commuting, and in France, 100% of women who use public transportation say they have been sexually harassed in some manner.*
Street harassment should not be a norm. It is time to take action against it. A woman should be able to feel confident and happy when walking outside, not scared to be walking alone or wearing that cute new workout tank top.