Brittany is a 21-year-old Boston girl interning at YouthNet.org. She's a print journalism and communication studies major back in the U.S. She's passionate about writing and plans to go to graduate school in New York.
Brittany Keenan doesn't think men should wolf-whistle at passing women and believes it's a form of sexual harassment.
Let me make this perfectly clear to all wolf-whistlers, hecklers and whoever else thinks they have the right to yell sexual comments at me: you are utterly pathetic. If you're expecting a cute smile or wink in return, think again. I hate that guys think they have the right to make sexual jibes to me in public. Who do you think you are? It's insulting and nauseating to be hollered at when I am innocently trying to go about my day.
Women have come so far with battling male oppression and have fought for equal rights for decades. We have excelled in the workplace and demanded respect from males in all aspects of society. Yet, when I'm whistled at, I still feel like a victim and like my body is public property. We don't put up with harassment anywhere else, so why tolerate it when out walking in public?
I really don't understand the point of hollering sexual remarks at passing females. They certainly don't boost my self-esteem - they're just disgusting. It pisses me off when other women take it as a compliment. News flash: it's utterly offensive and a form of sexual harassment. If a guy thinks you're attractive and wants to compliment you, he will man up and personally approach you. Guys seem to think that they've got game by wolf-whistling. Hate to break it to you guys; there is just absolutely no excuse for barking sexual comments at females. I don't care if you're drunk or you're in desperate need of some female attention - control your primal urges to shout out vile comments about our bodies or our outfits.
"I should be able to wear what I want, when I want, and where I want, without being treated like a piece of meat."
It really doesn't matter what females wear, we can always fall victim. Whether I'm sweating profusely, with my hair tangled on top of my head, or made-up in my cute cocktail dress, no 'look' deters men who like to behave this way. But I should be able to wear what I want, when I want, and where I want, without being treated like a piece of meat.
And this isn't some petty complaint from a 'pretty girl' - most women have to endure wolf whistles. It's utterly degrading, especially when men then claim it's your fault for encouraging such behaviour. A particular incident really made me fly over the cuckoo's nest. One summer night, I was going to my friend's birthday party and decided to wear a cute sundress. Yes, the dress was cut a little low, but it was hot out and I wanted to be comfortable. Is that so much to ask? Apparently so. As I was walked down the street, a passing guy said to me, "Nice tits." I was absolutely enraged and started screaming and cursing. Yet my outburst barely affected him; he just nonchalantly called me a psycho, as if I were wrong to be angry. And when I told this story to a friend's boyfriend, he took one look at my outfit and said, "You brought it upon yourself." I was shocked. Even if I am wearing a short tight skirt with stilettos and a tube top, that doesn't give guys the license to hound me. Yes, I am wearing a tight dress to a party - get over it!
I refuse to 'get used to' men's smarmy comments on the streets. I shouldn't have to. I am at a loss as to how to act when the situation arises. I've concluded that it's a lose-lose predicament. When hollered at, do I go into a psychotic rampage, or do I just simply keep my mouth shut and walk away? My first instinct is to turn around and say equally crude things right back to them, but that response just elicits further reaction. I'm either a "sexy bitch" or a "crazy bitch". That's a great pair to choose between. How fair is that?
So I beg you guys, please just keep your mouths shut. Believe me, I'll survive without your vulgar remarks about my appearance. Unfortunately, wolf whistling is thought to be acceptable or inevitable for females in society. Most women tend to ignore the harassers because they don't want any trouble, but it's ridiculous to allow males to get away with sexually harassing women in public. More needs to be done to stop men from thinking it's appropriate to openly judge women on their appearance. Women aren't put on earth purely for men's entertainment or benefit. Any man with respect for us would open their eyes and notice how I tense up. They'll see the anger or annoyance in my face, the way I side-step away nervously, how my expression drops as I approach a huddled group of boys on the pavement. Maybe they'll finally see that wolf-whistling is offensive and upsetting and the least effective way to attract women.