Being catcalled or harassed on the street is an unfortunate part of daily life for many women.
And as the weather heats up, the worse it gets. Because instead of being bundled up in coats, scarves and boots, we might reveal - gasp! - shoulders or knees or necks.
This puts women in quite the predicament, and many actively dislike summer because they’re torn between keeping cool and being made to feel uncomfortable on the streets, or sweltering from covering up their body to avoid male attention.
This is despite the fact studies have proven that of course, women get catcalled is not because of what they're wearing, but male attitudes towards women.
But changing their outfits is not the only way women try to rebuff advances from men.
When being hit on by a guy, many women find he won’t accept ‘no’ unless she says she has a boyfriend, which suggests some men only really respect other men but that’s a different matter.
So some women feel compelled to say they have boyfriends when they don’t.
Those who are in relationships, however, also find it difficult knowing when to mention that, as one woman explained in a Reddit discussion:
“Whenever I’m talking with a guy I’m always super conscious about not mentioning too soon/too late that I have a significant other,” she wrote. “Too soon and it’s ‘geeze bitch god I was just making conversation!’ and too late and it’s ‘geeze bitch way to lead me on!’”
Many women find that even after saying they’re not single or wearing an engagement ring, men still persist.
Another dilemma is that friendliness is often misinterpreted as flirting, so you have to be careful not to be too chatty and smiley when talking to males. But also don’t be rude. Or else they’ll tell you to smile because you look prettier like that.
“So many times, just being friendly and polite have been taken as ‘showing interest’,” one woman explained. “A few times after being asked out, there was the whole ‘why were you leading me on?’ followed by, ‘... bitch.’
“How does being genuinely nice make me a bitch?! This always happened when I worked customer service jobs, where - you know - I was practicing good customer service.”
Many women in the discussion agreed that simply smiling gave off the wrong message too.
“If you’re talkative and nice, you're a flirt and leading them on,” one teenager added. “But if you’re short and avoid conversation because you don’t want to lead them on, you’re a bitch. I can’t seem to find an in between.”
Of course, women can misread friendliness from men too, and there are certain situations where women do want to flirt with men, but so often the guys seem unable to read the signs.
In fact, most women find men seemingly oblivious to signals that they’re interested and have to flirt outrageously if they want the guy to get the hint.
One woman said the best method she’d found for stopping men hitting on her was simply getting older: “Turning fifty was the best idea I've ever had,” she said. And another woman agreed: “44 here and finally getting treated like a human being by men.”
Social media is a minefield too, as one woman explained:
“I’ve found if a guy messages me and I send back so much as a polite ‘hello’, that guy will never leave me alone. Every couple months he’ll pop up trying to start a conversation, usually being rude or lewd, long after I’ve stopped messaging him.”
The following example was given, which will be familiar to many women:
- Hey I saw your post.
- HOW are you
- ANSWER ME YOU FUCKING BITCH.
- That was my friend, he's a jerk. Lol
We know that not all men act like this, but unfortunately the ones who do make many women feel they have to be wary of all men.
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