lifestyle

“Hey, ladies – catcalls are flattering. Deal with it."

Doree Lewak

By ROSIE WATERLAND

Doree Lewak is a writer for the New York Post and she has something to tell all the ladies. We know this because the headline on her controversial article starts with “Hey, ladies” and ends with “Deal with it.”

Observe: “Hey, ladies – catcalls are flattering. Deal with it.”

Lovely Doree is trying to get our attention because she thinks we all need to stop being so uptight about wolf-whistling (she calls it catcalling, but potato/patahto etc).

The basic gist of her piece that is definitely not designed to cause a stir is this: She has low self-confidence. Strange men yelling at her about how sexy she is gives her self-confidence. Ergo, ladies should not complain about strange men yelling at and/or wolf-whistling them, because it’s a lovely gesture that can make you feel very good about yourself on an otherwise crappy day.

Here’s a couple of quotes from the article to give you an idea:

“…When I know I’m looking good, I brazenly walk past a construction site, anticipating that whistle and “Hey, mama!” catcall. Works every time — my ego and I can’t fit through the door!”

“It’s as primal as it gets, ladies! They either grunt in recognition or they go back to their coffee break. It’s not brain science — when a total stranger notices you, it’s validating.”

“For me, it’s nothing short of exhilarating, yielding an unmatched level of euphoria.”

Now, Doree herself anticipated her article would piss people off – she refers to the ‘sanctimonious eye-rolling’ she expects in response and pre-empts any judgement by insisting that she is not a ‘traitor’ to her gender.

I picked this stock image because I could totally imagine these guys in a Village People and/or Full Monty situation.

How you feel about and respond to wolf-whistling certainly doesn’t determine whether or not you are a feminist. Boiling down a woman’s position on equal rights to whether or not she blushes with pride or rage when a random man yells something at her is just dumb.

And in this case, I think it’s also besides the point. Because what strikes me about Doree’s article isn’t her position on wolf-whistling, it’s the reason behind that position.

Take a look at some other quotes from her piece:

“I realise most women with healthy self-confidence don’t court unwanted male attention. In fact, most women seem to hate it.”

“My drive-by dose of confidence is the 10-second antidote to all that negative feedback in the real world, where reverberations stick.”

“Before I know it, winter will be upon us again. And it’s not easy turning heads when you’re up to your neck in Gore-Tex. Maybe I’ll find self-worth and validation somewhere else — say, at an ice-hockey rink. Maybe I’ll try a body-clinging Lycra figure-skating suit on for size.”

How telling that Doree worries about winter because it means she won’t be able to wear the kinds of outfits that get her ‘validating’ attention from men. Forget feminism – Doree appears to have a pretty serious problem with her self-worth. And I feel bad for her because I know – I KNOW – that she’ll never fix that problem as long as she’s basing her self-worth on her appearance.

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Rosie.

I know because I’ve been down that road.

I didn’t realise how much of my self-worth was based in my looks until my looks unexpectedly changed. It wasn’t until I suddenly gained a lot of weight in my mid-twenties that I realised how much importance I had been placing on the fact that I was pretty, that I was thin, that I got hit on all the time.

Before I got fat, I was more proud of the fact that I has done some modelling than I was of pretty much anything else I had ever achieved in my life. And when the weight piled on, the ridiculously precarious house of cards I had been resting my self-worth on came crashing down.

Because if I wasn’t my looks, what was I? Worthless, that’s what I was. And it took me a very long time and a lot of soul-searching (much of it done on this website) to realise that I am more than my appearance.

And although it hasn’t come without it’s heartbreak and struggle, that’s why I wouldn’t change my experience with weight gain for anything. Although it hurts to have others (particularly men) value nothing about the way you look, although it hurts to basically be invisible, it does force you to look within yourself for the other qualities that make you brilliant.

Being invisible forced me to figure out what I value about myself other than my looks. Being invisible forced me to rethink what things I want to be visible in the first place.

And that’s why I don’t need to walk past a construction site in a skimpy dress when I’m feeling down. I can strut down the street with a spring in my step every second of every day, whether men have yelled at me or not. Why?

Because I’m already getting wolf-whistled and cat-called by the most important person:

Me.

I wolf-whistle my damn self. And I hope that one day Doree is able to do the same.


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