Why Do Men Catcall? Video From Gothamist Attempts to Answer The Question

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Pedestrians cross the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 14th Street, one of Manhattan's most dangerous crosswalks for pedestrians, on October 27, 2014 in New York City. Four pedestrians have been killed in the last few weeks in New York City while a total of 212 people have been killed in total traffic deaths so far this year. These numbers have added to the urgency of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate city traffic deaths. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Much of our ongoing conversations about street harassment tend to focus on women — what are we wearing, how often do we really deal with this, why don't we find a stranger shouting "nice tits!" to be a fun experience, and so on. But, taking a different approach, Gothamist decided to ask why men catcall. And the results of their investigations are pretty interesting. 

In the video, which shows responses from both men and women, plenty of guys are willing to admit that they do catcall — one man in particular seems downright proud of it. But explanations for why guys engage in such behavior varies, especially between the men and women in the video. 

Women seem to find the potential rationale puzzling — after all, it's doesn't exactly lend itself to getting phone numbers or starting a conversation. One young woman suggests, it might be "a power thing."

Guys on the other hand talk about what women are wearing, or how they feel about it. As though the decision to shout things at strangers is made for you by someone else's leggings. Another says that guys might feel like doing so makes them seem cool in front of their friends. One man suggests that girls who don't respond to catcalls are just trying to make themselves seem better than other people, which I guess means he thinks that guys who make inappropriate comments really are trying to make some sort of connection. 

All in all, it's interesting that although catcalls and street harassment are a phenomenon most of us take for granted as normal and usual — and something that lots of people think is perfectly fine — there doesn't seem to be any consensus on why street harassment happens. I mean, since there are people out here defending the practice, you'd think we'd there'd be more of an understanding around the basic facts of why it exists.

Personally, I'm going with the power trip idea. But maybe that's just me.


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