There’s a story I’ve been telling friends over drinks about a man who catcalled me a few weeks ago. Having to cross Bourbon St. in New Orleans on my way to and from the gym breeds some seriously strange street harassment.
The man who literally squatted down so that he was eye level with my ass and proceeded to shout at it, “hey jiggly booty” takes the cake, though. It’s a pretty funny, remarkably absurd way to get a woman’s attention, but it’s still unwanted.
Making light of the systemic problem of street harassment is its own empowering tool in terms of raising awareness. The Twitter hashtag #NoWomanEver, which began trending nationally over the weekend, perfectly illustrates just how poorly thought out a catcall can be and why we shouldn’t stand for them.
"after realizing he felt threatened by my intelligence and success, i decided to tone it down a little" said #NoWomanEver— jite (@JlTEAGEGE) June 18, 2016
I finally agreed he was right that I deserved harassment when he said "why are you still out at 2am then?" #NoWomanEver— Danielle SepulvereSpellingBee (@ellesep) June 18, 2016
I was on the fence when he kept talking about my body, but I definitely got his number after he said I was ugly anyway #nowomanever— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) June 18, 2016
At its most humorous, it’s a comedic exercise in what would happen if a woman accepted, say, a man berating her for not smiling. Many of the examples intersect with the threat of violence and intimidation, however.
He blocked my car in so i couldnt leave the mall until he made me take his number. We're headed for holy matrimony #NoWomanEver— Thick Grimes (@clarkconquers) June 18, 2016
"I wasn't attracted to him. I politely declined his number. But when he followed me off the bus? 😍😍😍" #NoWomanEver— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) June 18, 2016
"I met my husband when he & his boy cornered me on the Q train & he explained in detail why I should cheat on my bf w/ him" #NoWomanEver— Brittany N. Williams she/her (@BrittanyActs) June 18, 2016
I found it so flattering how he catcalled me, then followed me to the train during my 8 AM commute that I rewarded with a date. #nowomanever— Sam H. Escobar (@myhairisblue) June 18, 2016
#NoWomanEver is a necessary hashtag that should be seen by all, taking the private conversations of all who are tired of street harassment and making them public. Let’s hope this important dialogue continues.