'Christian Post' Writer Rachel Alexander Says Feminists Are "Jealous" Of Catcalls Because That Makes Perfect Sense
There's been a lot of talk lately about the pervasive problem of street harassment following a viral video showing 10 hours of catcalls while waling in New York City. But while most people were horrified and outraged, Rachel Alexander at the Christian Post had a different reaction: she says feminists only hate street harassment because we are "jealous." Damn, someone has found us out at last!
"The truth is," Alexander writes, "catcalls bother feminists because they're jealous. ... If they can stop men from complimenting pretty women, they won't have to observe it and feel pangs of jealousy."
I don't know whether to be upset or amused, the claim is so outrageous.
For one thing, feminists do experience street harassment. By making this claim, Alexander presumably is buying into two incorrect ideas: the stereotype that all feminists are ugly and the assumption that unattractive women are never catcalled.
The "ugly feminist" stereotype, of course, has been disproved to death already, apparently without Alexander's notice. For counter evidence, one only needs to look to celebrities that identify as feminist, from Beyoncé to Miley Cyrus to Taylor Swift. And for non-famous examples, you can easily check out the #FeministSelfie hashtag or the This Is What A Feminist Looks Like Tumblr.
And as for the idea that one has to fit society's definition of beauty in order to be catcalled, that ought to be self-evidently false to anyone who's ever gone outside looking like a wreck and gotten unwanted sexual comments anyway.
There are a lot of things wrong with Alexander's essay: She blames catcalls on women's "choice of dress." She compares wearing skinny jeans and a tee shirt to "baiting a hook then laughing at the fish for biting." She indignantly claims that asking men not to catcall "tramples all over our constitutional rights." She apparently believes that street harassment doesn't exist in "red cities," just liberal enclaves like New York. She openly agrees with Rush Limbaugh's statement that "feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society" — apparently never realizing that if being unattractive also barred men from mainstream relevance Limbaugh himself would have no platform to speak of.
And she thinks that feminists are just jealous of all the catcalls we aren't getting. This despite the fact that plenty of feminists have written about their personal experience with catcalls.
The truth is that feminists' condemnation of street harassment isn't because street harassment is a super fun party we're missing out on but because it's a really awful, sometimes terrifying party that no one is allowed to leave. Speaking from my own experience, catcalls are way more likely to make me feel either gross or unsafe than beautiful. Being objectified is generally not a good feeling, and the very real possibility that street harassment will escalate from verbal to physical is downright scary.
But yeah, sure, feminists are jealous that they're missing out. That makes sense.
In the end, Alexander's points just don't hold up — in fact, the internal logic of the essay doesn't even hold up. Alexander ends the piece by saying, "I have no problem with men complimenting my appearance, in fact I have never even thought about it before because it is such a non-issue. However, they may not want to incur the wrath of my protective husband." Because, naturally, your husband would need to be protective against things that are just compliments, nothing more.
Either Alexander's husband is unhealthily jealous and paranoid about men giving supposedly harmless opinions on his wife's appearance, or else even women who openly endorse catcalls can still sense that at their core, catcalls are disrespectful at best and threatening at worst.
Or maybe feminists are just jealous. Cause after all, who wouldn't a complete shouting "nice tits" at them while they go about their day? Makes perfect sense to me.