I'm a twentysomething woman living and working in New York City, and I really love being catcalled.
I love being told that catcalling doesn't exist. That it's something women say happens to them to get attention. That women who are in their 20s should feel appreciative and be thankful that a man would take the time out of his day to offer his opinion of them. That as a woman ages well into her 30s and 40s and beyond, she will no longer be considered beautiful, and will wish for youth and wish that men will take notice of her, by catcalling or otherwise.
I love that women exist for the pleasure and amusement of men, including but not limited to posing for sexualized magazine covers and wearing scanty outfits in movies. I like that women can be "housewives" and "trophy wives," as opposed to being classified purely as wives. I like that women should be valued for their beauty and not their brains, be taken at superficial value and not at the true inner, complicated depths that exist beneath the make-up and blush, the Burberry and chic. I like knowing that if I ever make it in any industry, I will still face sexism and will need the guidance and support of men in that industry in order to be heard, appreciated and taken seriously.
I love that men determine when in my life I can be considered attractive and when in my life I should give up and let the ship of beauty and youth set sail. I like being told that I should smile, as if I'm an animal being given a command, and the treat is to please the catcaller. I like that my purpose as a woman walking on a street is to make men happy, whether I smile or tell them to have a good day or engage in any sort of conversation.
I enjoy my morning commute being peppered with unnecessary intrusions into my everyday life. It's nice balancing my budget and planning my day ahead while figuring out which comeback to say at a specified time. It means I'm good at multi-tasking.
I like the fear that manifests itself as I debate which route I should take to go home at night, whether it's safe enough to hail a taxi or if I could brave the subway and the catcalls that will inevitably follow as I'm wearing a party dress and heels. I like that men think that I'm dressing up for their pleasure, when I'm actually dressing up for myself.
I like that people think I can't tell the difference between a catcall and a genuine compliment. I enjoy being told to just brush it off, to ignore it, to deal with it -- even though the dangers of catcalling make themselves apparent again and again and again and again.
I like having my opinions brushed aside. I like feeling that my thoughts don't matter, that I'm only a body. I like being told that I'm just exaggerating, that I'm nagging about something that doesn't exist, that I'm crazy. I like being ridiculed and scolded. I like being put in my place. I like when people tell me that because they don't see someone being catcalled, it must not happen. I like having to be motherly when it is necessary in any setting, and I like that when I'm being forward and giving an opinion, I'm being a bitch.
I like the fact that I feel like I need a man to help validate my thoughts, as if I couldn't have been taken seriously on my own.
I like wondering if we'll ever achieve equality.
I like knowing that people think we already have, even when we haven't.
I like that I'm a woman and I'm living in a man's world.
I like knowing that it will never change.
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