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Dear Little Bobby,
I was recently in my car waiting at a red light and I saw three car loads of young men harass a young girl by yelling at her as they drove past the bus stop where she was patiently waiting. This cat calling happens to me too, when I’m walking down the street, driving my car, or just sitting somewhere minding my own damn business. Since you’re a guy, I would like to really know why men do this? Do these guys actually think yelling at a woman is a compliment?
—9 Lives Of Cat Calls
Dear 9 Lives Of Cat Calls,
I would say that cat calls are for pussies, but our recent political environment has ruined a word that I already was not comfortable with throwing around as a derogatory noun. Referring to guys by that word is an insult to the female anatomy. I also believe that these guys should not be referred as “men,” because a man would never yell at a woman from his car window, or from his friend’s car, or from the car they borrowed from their friends’s mother.
I remember being 16 years old. My friends and I would drive by and yell at people who were standing on street corners. Sometimes we just yelled nonsense at whoever, which was kind of funny as a teenager, like yelling “HIS FOOT IS STUCK ON THE GAS!!!” from the passenger window. But unfortunately, I am sure we also wolf-whistled and yelled inappropriate things to women of all ages on more than one occasion. If I remember right, it usually consisted of “HEY! WOW!” Nothing that rose to the level of a Republican president-elect, I mean, we were young stupid kids—NOT pigs. Although we did find it very funny to order sexually themed foods from the Jack In The Box drive-thru late at night. After placing the order, we would drive away laughing. Now that I think of it, we were almost exactly like a modern Republican president-elect except…we were stoned.
Yes, we did it because we were young, stupid and stoned, but most importantly, we were selfish. Most guys do not think that cat calling at women will actually result in any sex, much less friendship or true love. The truth is that when they are doing this, most guys are not thinking at all, no more or less than the birds are as they sing in the trees. Of course most of us find birdsong to be much more pleasant than “HEEEEY BAAABY!!!” These dumb guys (like me and my teenage friends) are acting on impulse. They want a reaction and they want attention. In fact they think they are entitled to female attention. “HOLLABACK GURL!” And they could not be more wrong.
For me, maybe it was because I often had a rotating male figure in my life, or a mother who was away working full-time and trying to raise two kids. On top of THAT, I was surrounded by a culture that glorified the objectification of women. I mean, how many times does a 10-year-old need to see Porky’s Revenge or American Pie 2: Sticky Fingers? Judging by the behavior I see from many guys these days, they are all watching crappy movies while their mothers work multiple jobs. I am absolutely not blaming Hollywood for my behavior, nor absent parents. When I was younger and more of a misogynist, my actions were entirely my own. But it is clear that when we, as a society, put garbage into children, we get garbage out.
Guys like the ones you witnessed need to do better. They need to learn empathy. But, LOOK AT OUR DAMN COUNTRY RIGHT NOW! Almost half of the American public approves of millionaires pretending to be billionaires while they laugh about mistreating women. Almost half of “us” support politicians that do NOT want women to have equal pay. Almost half of “us” do not think women should have the right to make medical decisions for themselves. Garbage in, garbage out. Hollywood obviously sucks. It is about money, mostly for old white men. Our government is also about money—again, mostly for old white men.
Society needs to raise our fucking bar about what we will tolerate. When we deny families and schools the resources needed for properly raising the new generation, we shouldn’t be surprised to find ourselves living among an uneducated populace screaming at each other from passing vehicles. Step one is making ourselves better, step two is working together.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“So it’s not just gonna happen like that, ’Cause I ain’t no hollaback girl.” —Gwen Stefani, “Hollaback Girl” 2005