No less than four women on Fox News believe that catcalling is okay. Media Matters for America reported that on the August 28 edition of Outnumbered, the hosts discussed an op-ed in the New York Post about whether women should just deal with catcalling.
Catcalling is a form of sexual harassment, and many women feel uncomfortable when it happens. But still, there’s a very pervasive mentality out there that this behavior is perfectly okay, and that men are actually entitled to do it.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, one of Outnumbered‘s regular hosts, said that women should “let men be men.”
“You know, look, men are going to be that way. What can you do? They mean it in a nice way, I think. Like they find you attractive, or they want to just pay a compliment.”
Then they talk about how, as long as men aren’t coming within arms’ length, it’s okay. It’s not harassment. It’s men being nice. And the implication is that women shouldn’t allow it to hurt, or obsess over it. One has to wonder what they’d say about a man fat-shaming an overweight woman on the street. Both come down to the same thing: The idea that it’s okay for total strangers to comment on other people’s bodies.
This attitude was also present in the New York Post, where author Doree Lawak (a woman) bragged about how catcalls inflate her ego to the point where she can’t fit through a door. To her, catcalls like “Hey mama!” and “You’re hot!” are men expressing how they feel openly and honestly. It’s not harassment, and women should feel flattered when this happens. Perhaps women should be flattered by sexual harassment in the workplace, too?
Unfortunately, her whole article is about her own need to be eye candy for men — before she’s anything else. It highlights the pervasive and sickening idea that a woman is only as good as her looks in our society. Intelligence, talent, parenting skills, other skills, none of that matters if she’s not pretty and sexy, too. Lawak says this is validating. What she fails to understand is that she’s fallen into a trap, instead of finding liberation and empowerment. That’s demonstrated with this paragraph here:
“Besides, hard hats need something to look at while they’re on their lunch break. I can be that objectified sex thing for them! What’s so wrong about a ‘You are sexy!’ comment from any observant man?”
“Objectified sex thing?” Is that all she thinks women are, and should be? It appears so. How is that validating? It’s dehumanizing. It’s damaging. It reduces women to exactly what she says women should be: “An objectified sex thing.” Suddenly, a woman is no longer a person, she’s mere eye candy.
The saddest part about her article is this paragraph here:
“I imagine the catcall stretches back to ancient construction times, when the Israelites were building the pyramids, with scores of single Jewish women hiking up their loincloths, hoping for a little attention.”
Really? Seriously? Yes, seriously, although that’s offensive for more reasons than just rampant sexism. And then she drove home the point that this behavior is not empowering for women with this gem:
“Before I know it, winter will be upon us again. And it’s not easy turning heads when you’re up to your neck in Gore-Tex.
Maybe I’ll find self-worth and validation somewhere else — say, at an ice-hockey rink. Maybe I’ll try a body-clinging Lycra figure-skating suit on for size.”
There it is: She gets her validation and self-worth from how sweet a piece of eye candy she is, instead of who she is as a person. Women shouldn’t have to deal with it, nor should they have to worry about whether they’re going to receive compliments on their looks from total strangers. Nor should we consider it okay for women to get their self worth entirely from what strange men think of their bodies and looks.
The worst part is…all of this came from women.
Watch the video here: