Catcalling Is a Problem: How to Talk to a Woman Without Being Rude, Creepy or Scary
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I’m loath to say that respect works both ways in these situations -- it’s hard to treat street harassers kindly. (If I were confronted by someone who clearly has serious issues -- like Briggs’ flasher -- I’d go ahead and yell my head off.) But I’ve personally found that speaking calmly and clearly is more constructive than yelling (which, trust me, I’ve also done).
These days, when I’m harassed and feel that I’m in a safe enough situation to communicate with my harasser, I think about Platus’ slave girl. I remember that I have just as much a right to go about my day without being harassed as does anyone else. And I remember that unless I do engage, nothing will change. Should we have to explain why “I’d like a piece of that” is demeaning? No -- but if we make a habit of it, fewer will need the lesson.
Katie Baker is a Digital Media Producer for Hearst Newspapers/the San Francisco Chronicle, a columnist for the San Francisco Appeal, and a writer of many other things.