Don’t Call Me Baby
The recent 100 Catcalls in 10 Hours video making its way around the internet is an interesting piece of journalism but it’s not that surprising. Every woman I know experiences similar, perhaps not in the same volume, every day.
It’s shocking that cat calling is still a thing but it very much is still a thing. It might be easier to walk past places synonymous with that sort of behaviour, say building sites now that they have anti-harassment signs slapped all over them but what about the men in the streets, boys walking home from school; shops, public transport, the list goes on?
The men who whisper “Dayum” under their breath as you walk past, who tell you you’re pretty. It doesn’t matter how they dress it up or what they say, it’s not on. Some argue that they’re just being complimentary, nice; that women should be flattered, even grateful for their attention. Any attention actually.
Sometimes if you fail to respond, which is almost always because who is ever pleased with unwanted attention?, the tables will turn and you’ll find yourself being abused. Stuck up, fat, ugly – we’ve heard it all.
Now I like a good-looking man as much as the next girl and I like to appreciate. I might make a comment to my friend but there’s no way I’d whistle and click as he wandered by. It doesn’t compute that there are people out there that don’t see this is anti-social behaviour.
The other day I got followed home. I thought I was being paranoid at first but it wasn’t that. I guess it was my mistake to make accidental eye contact with an older man as I disembarked the train at Bexhill. As he followed at an uncomfortable pace behind me, instinct told me to go somewhere bright and crowded, rather than walk down my mum’s road which is poorly lit.
So I headed to a busy shop and bought a loaf of bread. As I slipped onto the end of the queue, I saw him come to the door and look around, seemingly to look for someone. I assume it was me. Thankfully he was gone by the time I left the shop but it was frightening. When I relayed the story to my husband he said he didn’t like to hear these things because it scared him.
It scares me too.
Nobody deserves to feel intimidated as they go about their day. Or night. There have always been bad people out there who do evil things and in an ideal world, it wouldn’t happen anymore. One in three women would not be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, women would be able to take a taxi home and know they were safe.
I don’t know how we can change the attitudes of these pigs who think it’s acceptable to intimidate, even if they don’t think they are but I do think that if there are videos like the aforementioned out there, perhaps these same men will come to be embarrassed and ashamed of their behaviour and working on changing it.
It’s not a great answer and I wish I had a better one but it’s a start.
This week the world went loco about Renée Zellweger’s face.
It wasn’t really new news, as I’d seen images of her before she attended the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards and set the world spinning off it’s axis; but it seems that now infamous trundle up the red carpet has stuck in the consciousness of everyone from your BFF to the (male) Janitor who talks to you in the ladies while you’re having a wee (true story).
It gets me down.
I’m not going to deny that I find the transformation quite shocking. I have loved her unusual face for years and whatever anybody else says about the casting of Renée as Bridget Jones, she was fucking great in the role. Like totes believable and charming. Furthermore, I felt like she made Bridget feel like my friend, something I hadn’t gotten from the books, even though I adore them.
But the face. Yes, it’s a shame she looks different to that girl but it’s not up to me what another woman does to her own face and body. Plus people age and change over the years. She still looks good, just like a woman in her forties. The horror!
That’s the thing about society and it’s attitude to beauty. You can’t grow old naturally in a highly glamorous industry like that without being battered for it, but you sure as hell can’t fight it the way you see fit either. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Of course, Hollywood and your local high street are worlds apart but the above only reinforces the fact that the only person you can really please is yourself, wherever you are.
Love yourself, be happy with your looks and fuck everyone else, truly because there is always going to be someone who doesn’t agree with what you’ve got going on.
Look at me: too ginger, arse too big, too fat, too short, too pale, too tattooed; the list goes on. I’ve been called up on every single one of those things in the past by people with an opinion. It hurts, it gets to you and in the end you have two choices; believe the negative and ultimately, let those fuckers keep you down, or realise it’s all bullshit and live your life happily, enormous booty in tow.
Which should be simple, I realise but is easier said than done. As for Renée, well her response to the uproar was perfect and raises a great point.
“I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows. …
People don’t know me in my 40s. People don’t know me [as] healthy for a while. Perhaps I look different. Who doesn’t as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I’m happy.” ~ Renée Zellweger
Good for her.