Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Let's Talk About Catcalling.






Hey Guys,

I recently experienced a day like no other. Catcalling is something I believe a lot of women experience on a day to day basis. I am generally a fairly secure, street-smart, wise Londoner who knows how to handle myself in certain uncomfortable or intimidating situations. However a recent event (or entire day as it so happens) led me to feeling as if I had lost the control I once had. I felt extremely angry and frustrated, leading to this recent Instagram post on my personal account:
Disclaimer: I'm not going to leave an example of what I was wearing in this blog post as it is frankly irrelevant and I don't feel I need to include it as justification. If you are extremely curious, here is a link to the original post.

"This photo was taken at a moment when I felt pretty happy with myself. I’d styled up a vintage thrift skirt with this cute summery crop top, it was hot, sunny weather and I had a nice day and evening planned. 

It wasn’t until I left my house when I realised the world clearly couldn’t handle this outfit at all. I spent the entire day trying to “out-stare” creepy men who’s eyes were engrossed in the area south of my chin, shouting back at men who would shout sexually abusive things at me or just outright get in my face to do their letching. I would vocally call out the countless men who would feel the need to comment on my appearance. Most were shocked and surprised by the “Go f*ck yourself” response as I stared dead in their eyes. Some knew it was deserved. 
My mood went from bad to worse and by the afternoon I was fed up and went to Primark and bought a new outfit. But my friend @morgyncliff told me not to change, and to forget the dick head sexual predators, cat callers, assholes, pricks, brothers, uncles, sons, and just rock the outfit. So I did. But as soon as the weather cooled down, proceeded to put on my black leather jacket and zip it up to the neck to get home. 
I want to share this post to question, “why the f*ck do women STILL have to put up with this sh*t. Why do I feel TO BLAME for wearing the top in the first place? What can I do in future? What can WE DO to make women feel safe and free to feel good and express themselves and their style in 25 degree weather?"

This Instagram post was written in a moment of anger and frustration, but I feel that the sentiment and questions raised are still valid and important - Why did I feel to blame? Why is this a universal experience that women are still subjected to? What can I/we do to stop these interactions from occurring?

Wikipedia describes Street Harassment as:
"a form of sexual harassment that consists of unwanted comments, gestures, honking, wolf-whistlings, catcalling, exposure, following, persistent sexual advances, and touching by strangers in public areas.
According to the founder of the non-profit organization Stop Street Harassment, it can also consist of physically harmless behavior, such as 'kissing noises' and 'non-sexually explicit comments,' to "more threatening behavior" like stalking, flashing, sexual assault, and rape."

Not only is street harassment a matter of poor social decency, but in worst cases, catcalling is intimidating and terrifying to the receiver and can often lead to more serious forms of assault. 
I don't believe I have all of the answers to my questions, nor will I attempt to answer them through this blog post. I do, however, believe it is an extremely important subject matter that needs to be addressed, whether that creates a space for sharing experiences or a space for offering solutions. 

So now I would like to call for some action. Whether that's sharing an example of something that has happened to you, offering advice in dealing with these situations or advice in how we can tackle this.




All images shot on location at Casale Amati Country House, Italy by Morgyn Cliff.

I am wearing the "Tiggy" dress by Joanie Clothing.