Planting a freshly manicured finger on the feminine pulse of the nation, the Grazia letter’s page reveals a worrying trend. Apparently a proportion of modern British women routinely mistake misogyny for affirmation. This from the letters page, in response to an article about catcalls:
Life in London is crazy and half the time I’m running around stressed. That wolf whistle makes my day, frankly. Call me sad, but I’ve been single for a while now and at times I’ve wondered if maybe it’s becaues I’m just not that pretty or sassy anymore. Then I hear a man call out ‘Lovely legs, sweetheart’ and it puts a smile on my face… It often makes me laugh — and a lady laughing is a joy to behold.
Whoa. Consider this: perhaps you’re single because you’re as thick as two short planks. Wolf whistles as a compliment? For real, sister?
It gets better. Letter number two on this hot topic runs:
The majority of comments thrown at women on the street are merely humorous banter. Men aren’t trying to be offensive… [I] appreciate it when men comment on my appearance when I’m out and about. I feel like someone is acknowledging the effort I have put in…. try smiling sometimes and saying thank you — the conversations and praise you receive in return can brighten up your week.
Has it come to this, really? Simpering and fawning for the “praise” of strange men? Think about it — if it doesn’t hurt your pretty, vacant, perma-smiling head too much: apart from women, the only legitimate objects of public comment are dogs and babies. Stupid, mewling creatures who can’t speak for themselves. If you think being wolf whistled is a compliment you’re at best infantalising and, at worst, de-humanising yourself. Try and grasp, ladies, that men who shout comments about your appearance do not respect or admire you; they don’t even consider you a person. Shouting at strangers is not ingratiating, it is an assertion of dominance. Men don’t holler at other men not because they don’t fancy them (they don’t fancy you either) but because men understand that passing audible comment on a total stranger is an act of aggression.