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Cat-calling could become a thing of the past in New York. A non-profit group called Hollaback "is pushing the city to commission a study, a public awareness campaign and perhaps even legislation, including 'no-harassment zones' around schools to protect young women," according to the Associated Press.
If you are under 30 you may be relieved. If you're on the other side of decade three, your reaction could be more complicated. In our unscientific Shine editorial poll today, we realized the older we get the less outraged we are by objectifying comments from strangers. Dare we say, some of us even mouth a quiet "thank you" when it happens. That may be because it happens less, or when it does the content is more polite.
Growing up in New York City, one of my biggest peeves (there was nothing pet about it) was catcalling. Starting from about 15, I became increasingly angered if a head followed me when I passed. If someone uttered something along the lines of "Hey, pretty," it could bring me to tears. Through till I was about 25, I felt like a unicorn when I walked down the street in a tank top. Or just someone with a unicorn horn growing out of their head.
The content used to be really graphic too. Moaning, smacking mouth sounds that would make a person gag (or make a cat come in from another room). And if you were really "lucky" you'd get a detailed account of what will be done to you by this total stranger, like it or not. Frankly, it was scary. It all happened so suddenly, kind of like puberty. And it felt like something I'd be stuck with for life.
Not so. At age 32, I realize haven't gotten cat-called in a while. Sometimes if I'm wearing something tight or short, I'll expect it but then...radio silence. I don't miss the lurid comments that made me feel powerless. But I do sometimes miss the attention.
These days, the rare comment I get is pretty respectful. It's usually along the lines of "You look good." And when you think about it, that's a really nice thing to say to a stranger. Sometimes, it'll make my whole night that someone noticed how very, er, showered I am. The only thing that makes me infuriated now is when a stranger tells me to "smile." But that's probably my own issue.
What do you think? Is there an age when cat-calling stops bothering you?
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