As someone who has walked around in a lifestyle club wearing nothing but lingerie and high heels I feel like I know the difference between compliments and catcalls. Yelling at someone on the street is nearly always for the purposes of exerting power and dominance (you are out in the public sphere so I have a right to your body — “Smile, baby!”)and it is rarely about actual complimenting. It’s also been shown to escalate into following or groping a good bit of the time, to say nothing of the killing that occurs when men don’t get the reactions that they want/expect.

Enjoy it if you want to, but why would you care if some random guy on the street finds you attractive? And even if it’s a genuine compliment, why does he have the right to interrupt you space and your day?

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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