Shouldn’t you be happy if guys are paying attention to you?

From I Once Had A Guy Tell Me:

I never really got much attention from guys in high school. They either made fun of me or just ignored me. When I started college,I started getting catcalled a lot on the street. I told my best guy friend that it made me uncomfortable and his response was was,”Why? Shouldn’t you be happy that guys are finally paying attention to you?”

There’s a premise in that statement, and it’s ugly.

You see, we don’t (need to) seek attention from people who we see as equals. If we are equals, we pay attention to each other. Or we don’t. It’s not a big deal either way, unless we’ve a preexisting connection. The people we (need to) seek attention from? Are those who, in one sense or another, have a higher social status than us.

If I need to talk to my boss, I make an appointment. If my boss needs to talk to me, they just pop over to my desk and say hey.

The idea that women should always be happy if men pay attention to us, regardless of who those men are? Would be utterly meaningless if we were seen as equal.

It’s a little icky.


7 thoughts on “Shouldn’t you be happy if guys are paying attention to you?

  1. Oh awesome, I’m glad you wrote this! I’m going to keep it in my back pocket so I can explain the power dynamics inherent in catcalling every time a well-meaning guy friend tells me I should be flattered by the attention.

  2. You betcha. None of us need such affirmation.Not to mention such a display is so juvenile.

  3. Perfect explanation. Never been able to put why it is wrong into words beyond ‘icky’ myself. I’ll steal your words now. Thanks!

  4. I have never heard this statement except from dudes who would react violently to the idea of gay men hitting on them.

  5. When guys paid attention to me in school, it was in the form of sexual harassment. No thanks, DO NOT WANT

  6. Cat Calls. What a horrible social construct to tangle with. It sucks to get them, it sucks even more to not. We hate having men cat call at us on the street, but those of us who never have had this problem (myself included) secretly wonder…..why not?
    Damn you street boys and creating unfounded insecurities!

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