This week I had decided to try something new each day. It’s now Tuesday and nothing new has been tried. It’s 15.24 on a Tuesday afternoon, the sun is shining and I’m pacing around the flat, thinking (or, well, not thinking) of things to do. I have no money so most of the things I think about are out of the question. What can you do with an afternoon when you have no money? I guess I could go to the common and read but how much different is that from just sitting at home on the sofa and read? The sun, sure, and some wind and some bugs, but that’s about it. I’m bored and I’m lonely, isolated and restless. The afternoon is the premier time for restlessness. Everyone else is at work, there is no hope for a change further on in the day as in the morning and no respite in the soon-coming tomorrow as in the evening. In the afternoon, it’s just me. Me and the boredom. And I know, I’ve seen the memes on facebook, we live in an extraordinary world, I shouldn’t be bored. Add to that that I live in one of the main metropolitans in the world, and I definitely shouldn’t be bored. But, alas, I am bored.
Sunny afternoons, the bane of my existence.
Snickers. You’ve completely missed the mark on this one. First of all - catcalling isn’t a joke. Yes, we might sometimes shrug it off as immature, insecure men channeling their inner ape, but I know few women who manage to shrug this off completely. I cannot count the times a catcall has put me on the verge of tears.
Catcalling is a man showing me that he feels entitled.
And you know what else shows me a man feels entitled? Rape. Hold on now, don’t run wild and say that I’m saying that catcalling is rape. I’m not. What I am saying, however, is that although they’re not in the same league, they play the same sport. The womens-bodies-belong-to-the-world-and-not-to-themselves-sport. When a man makes the decision to shout at me across the street, he decides he feels entitled to my body. Commenting on a stranger, for whatever reason, in that way, is intrusive. It’s a violation of my personal space and of my integrity. But, equally important, it is frightening. Women live in a world populated by the belief that we are not worth as much as men. We live in a world where rape is shrugged off if it happens to a drunk woman, a flirty woman or a woman wearing a short skirt. We live in a world where domestic violence kills two women a week, just in the UK. We live in a world where dismembered and violated women are fodder for every single crime drama on every single night of the week. We live in a world where women go out to have a good time and get harassed, grabbed, assaulted, raped or murdered.
Catcalling reminds us of this. Catcalling reminds us that we don’t own our own bodies. Catcalling reminds us that some men still think nothing more of us than walking objects.
And a “playful” ad from a company who’s already made sexist bullshit adverts earlier, is not going to make us forget it. It’s going to remind us of it and it’s also going to remind us that some men still think this is just a joke.
The men who catcall are not even going to understand what “gender bias” is. The many builders who never catcall and never would think of it will be offended by the advert and the fact that it does, explicitly, say that builders “true selves” are sexist assholes. Many of the women who experience catcalling will watch this advert, and like me, be reminded of the feeling of sheer dread, fear or belittling we feel when we get catcalled. And also, am I really supposed to feel empowered by some stranger, who has no idea where I’m going or what I am doing? I don’t feel complimented or empowered by someone making a judgement on my life or my appearance, even if it is for the “better”. I don’t fucking know you, you don’t fucking know me, don’t shout at me!
Someone screaming “oi” at me is a knob. Someone screaming “hey darlin” at me is a knob. Someone shouting at me across the street for any reason that isn’t to prevent me getting hit by a bus is a knob. Someone who thinks of making an advert like this Snickers advert is a knob. You get the picture?
You know what I’d like to see? A society where companies don’t use classist and sexist “surprise” tactics to get me to buy their shitty chocolate. And yeah, a society where shitty chocolate makers don’t use words like “equality” and “gender bias” to sell their shitty chocolate. And yeah, a world where NO ONE FUCKING SHOUTS AT ME IN PUBLIC TO SELL THEIR SHITTY CHOCOLATE!
Whether you wanna shout at me to sell your shitty chocolate or your fucking disco stick or your fucking cave man values, I don’t care. Stop. Fucking. Shouting. At. Me.