Don’t Catcall Me

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Women are taught from the day we are born that we are in the wrong for men’s inability to keep their mouths closed and their hands to themselves.

How many girls remember the first time they were catcalled?

I was twelve years old in Austin with my mom. We left the TCU v. UT football game early, leaving my brothers and dad in the stadium to see the final touchdown. As we were walking, a group of drunk guys, probably juniors in college, started shouting at me. My mom grabbed my hand and started to walk faster. I had no idea what was going on. I don’t remember exactly what they said but I do remember how it made me feel. We got back to the hotel and I started balling my eyes out. I thought that I had done something wrong. I thought that the way I looked was “too much” because it called the attention of a man. I was wearing jeans and a purple long sleeve shirt. I did nothing wrong. I was a child. I don’t know one woman who can walk through a parking lot, go to dinner at night or run alone without being scared that around the corner there is a man there who is going to harass her. We live in fear every single day, but change can be made.

We need to teach young boys that no means no. Catcalling is not a compliment whatsoever. There’s a difference between complimenting a woman and harassing her. Men never have the right to your body.

How many times have you heard the phrase:

“You’re showing too much skin.”

I was fifteen when the photo below was taken. There was a wide variety of comments on social media when I posted this particular picture. Most of them being predatory men talking about the curve of my hips while others were crucifying me for posting a photo that sexualized my adolescent self. If you really look at the photo, you’ll see that I’m wearing a turtle neck and full length pants. I originally posted the photo for two reasons. First being that I love this photo of myself. Second, because I was promoting a cover I had just posted on Spotify. But because I was born, like most Latina women, with wide hips and a long torso, I was told by many to take the photo down. I almost did. But then I thought,

how could a photo of myself that i absolutely love, make me feel so awful?

After many conversations with my mother and the strong women in my life, I came to the conclusion that my worth cannot be changed. I kept the photo up.

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know your worth

and don’t let anyone make you feel different

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I used to feel less than when I was objectified by a man. Just yesterday I was at work and a man overheard me conversing with a co-worked about my plans for college. He was about fifty five maybe sixty. He legitimately said the words,

“sweetheart, you don’t need college. You’re pretty.”

A year ago, it would have made me feel insecure and incompetent. Yesterday, it gave me the drive to work even harder in school to achieve my goals.

The goal of this post is not just to shed light on the issue of objectification but also to show that when you know your worth, you allow comments like these to push you to do better. This does not excuse his behavior towards me whatsoever. I’ve learned to take ignorant comments and twist them around to make me a stronger woman. Being a woman isn’t easy especially when we have incidents like these happening on a daily basis. If you’re a woman, I encourage you to explore your worth. It does not change especially based off of what a man has to say about your body. If you’re a man, I’m challenging you to really pay attention to the words you say and understand how words can affect others around you. I also encourage anyone, whether you are a man or a woman, to speak up when you encounter situations like the ones I have explained here. Change doesn’t happen overnight but it only takes one person to make a difference.