Thanks for the interesting info Vienna De Vega. I knew that image was in Italy but it was the one that immediately came to my mind for this piece. Very interesting to hear her say that she was having the time of her life, although I agree that her body language doesn’t indicate that to me, but I won’t dispute someone’s account of her own experience. In doing research for this article I came across something that said that about 3% of women actually do find catcalling to be complimentary. Again, I have no dispute with that. For me, the problem is more about the intent of the harasser, as well as the damaging effect on the other 97% of women and girls.
I sincerely doubt that it’s ever purely appreciation for a woman; there is always an element of entitlement and domination, even if it’s largely subconscious. As I said in What the Vanilla World Can Learn About Consent From a Sex Club, actual admiration for a woman’s appearance looks and feels very different from catcalling. I’ve walked around a club wearing next to nothing but felt perfectly safe and empowered because although men in that situation certainly looked at me and even said things to me, it had an entirely different flavor.