AS82: Catcalling with Lydia (and Actual Cats)

Lydia returns! You likely have seen the video going around featuring a model being catcalled hundreds of times throughout New York. I’ve mentioned before my stance on catcalling and how absolutely idiotic it is. Lydia joins me as a repeated victim of catcalling to talk about it and how it makes women feel. Important stuff for all the men out there who maybe haven’t considered how this makes women feel.

5 thoughts on “AS82: Catcalling with Lydia (and Actual Cats)”

  1. Thank you for this podcast; it’s very important for others to hear Lydia’s experiences and perspective. Creating a platform for a women to share her experience in a safe place is unfortunately not the norm on the internet right now. Even if the guest wasn’t your girlfriend, I firmly believe you wouldn’t tolerate any sexist backlash against any female guest on your show. Though it seems like the Atheistically Speaking community wouldn’t do such a thing anyway. You’ve gathered a good bunch.

    I think the reason some feminists may think or say that men are dangerous and out to get women (which isn’t true) is because the constant threats make us on edge. Your war zone comparison is rather spot on. Many women have PTSD (to varying levels) from sexual harassment/catcalling/attacks. It’s worse than just a physical attack, because in addition to the fear, pain, and violence, there is dehumanization, humiliation, shame, social stigmatization/isolation/blame, and more. All of that gets relived when you report it, and the cop is just another one of those sexist bastards. It’s hard to explain. They look at you like… a toy. A thing to play with. They don’t just threaten to physically harm us. They threaten to take our sexuality and destroy it, to OWN our sexuality by brutally raping us. And then afterward we are blamed for the rape. Even by cops. Even by family and friends. It is madness.

    Yeah, my PTSD is pretty obvious. Which is probably why I get so twitchy with all the sexism in the atheist community. I was sexually assaulted and almost raped by a catcall that escalated (in addition to the multiple sexual assaults/harassments while working at Target as a teen). Many men do not understand how frightening it can be to walk down a street when you know you could be attacked at any moment.

  2. Sorry. Should not have posted so soon after listening. My bad! 🙂

    I think it would be very beneficial for everyone (“male” and “female” alike) to adopt a non-binary gender system. This would eliminate any single population which could be threatening/threatened. It also helps reduce feelings of fear (at least for me) if I consciously remind myself that gender is too complicated for just two categories.

    In addition, removing the binary gender system would be more inclusive for our LGBTQIA friends. 😀

  3. Throughout my life I have looked at catcalls as flirtation and as mostly a harmless annoyance. 99% of the time guys are just wanting to test the waters and are probably a little nervous about approaching me. The lewd guys I dismiss and get away from, the respectful guys I turn down respectfully. I am not interested in going out with a guy I meet on the street but I see no reason to be mean to a guy who is just trying to meet a girl. I still say overall I find the catcalls and whistles to be compliments, although now that I am 52, guys don’t flirt with me in the same way. It’s not because I haven’t taken care of myself. I still run and walk miles at a time but guys are not interested in hooking up with a old woman (which is what I am to them, not to me). The girl in the video walked 10 hours filming and condensed the coverage down to a two minute clip of what I am assuming were the worst incidents. Except the creeps that walked beside her for a while I don’t think the guys were too bad. I thought even though she came off as bitchy, which is her propagative, most of the guys let her walk on by after making their comments without bothering her any further. Many of them just commented that she was pretty. I wonder if any of these were guys she would find attractive if she met them in a different setting. I am just saying maybe she (and others) who watch the video are repulsed because they don’t like the look of the guys – i.e. black guys flirting with a white girl. I wonder what the video makers want us to contribute to? Perhaps helping this poor girl ugly herself up so men won’t look at her? You ever walk through Manhattan? It is just as likely many of these guys were just looking to score a buck as they were the rhyming word. There are people standing on the street talking to whoever passes by, trying to scam them in various ways or just begging for money. No amount of contributions to this video’s cause is going to change these guys and it is naive to think so. A world where everyone is treated with respect would be great but in the mean time we all need to learn how to make our way through it safely, look for the good in people, and live our own lifes with self-actualization.

  4. I agreed with 90% of what you and Lydia said sbout catcalling but I completely disagree with your dismissal of the lack of white men in the video you reference. I saw the video and was offended by the catcalling but was curious why there were no white guys catcalling. To read that they edited them out for various reasons makes me wonder why. They say it’s because the white men were always too quiet. As a big brown male who’s a staunch feminist and happens to be gay who isn’t assumed to be, I see how women will clutch their purses and cross the street when we meet eyes and the nervous way women look at me when we pass in the park after dark despite my gaze being nonsexual and friendly. I’m sick of men of color being portrayed as thugs and rapists. The fact that they edited out white men doing the same thing they are portraying men of color does seems intentional in the context of American society and it’s bigoted ideas of black and brown male aggression. The fact that both you and Lydia made this seem like a non issue seemed like a white privilege to me, something that feminists of color have bent pointing out for a while but who’s voices are sadly, still ignored.

    1. I would want to have more actual data on what happened before I had any idea if it was a problem. I have no idea how many white people were actually edited out, a few were left in it seems like. And I don’t know what the numbers were on the whole. The way statistics work, it could very easily just have happened to not be too many white people that given time, I don’t know. Basically what I meant to say in that episode was that without better info, it was a bit frustrating that people were trying to deflect the main power of the video by trying to change the focus. If this company really does have a history of taking white people out of bad videos, then yes that’s 100% a problem. Honestly I didn’t really look into it but if you have any good sources of data on this let me know.

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