Female Writer Says She Likes Being Cat-Called
Doree Lewak thinks cat-calls are the ultimate ego boost. In a recent story for the New York Post, the writer lists the things she likes most about being complimented by construction workers. She appreciates that they express how they feel (unlike "coy college boys") and gets a thrill from their machismo. "It's as primal as it gets, ladies!" Doree trills, as if getting feedback from these men is on par with a scene from Fifty Shades of Grey. She's happy to be objectified, or to take the interaction a step further and smile at the strangers.
Many of New York Post's commenters hoped this piece was satirical, and maybe it is. But for those who took it seriously, the problem is that Dorree Lewak barely touched on the real issue: cat-calling (otherwise known as street harassment) isn't playful flirtation. Woopee for Doree if she gets wolf-whistles and "You're hot!" and she likes it, but when other women regularly hear things like, "Smile, baby! Your tits are happy!" or "You're f*cking ugly!" and worse, the interaction loses any potential confidence-boosting characteristics.
By endorsing the male gaze and consequent commenting, Doree says it's okay for men to offer their opinions on a stranger's physical appearance. Who is she to know what other women want, or to predict what the construction workers in other parts of the city will say? Her small set of experiences don't match up with the millions of women who write in to Hollaback, or who tweeted about #Yesallwomen. Street harassment is a serious problem, and Doree's front page New York Post justification is the voice of a privileged woman with a blindered perspective.