The Wrong Discussion We’re Having about the Cat Call Video

I watched the now viral “cat call” video. If you’ve not heard of it by now, it’s of a woman walking silently through NY for ten hours with a hidden camera, to document how many men yelled to her, whistled, “complimented”–if you call “hey baby” a compliment. (Guys, it’s not. It’s creepy.)


For those of you wondering, YES, she was dressed modestly. Mkay? Moving on.

People are discussing whether this is sexual harassment or not. The internet is debating whether this is normal, too much, or if women are just big whiners about this stuff.

What I dislike about this discussion is that it addresses the symptoms and not the root.

The cat calls are annoying, vulgar, harassing, and unwelcomed.

But the bigger, most obvious question is this:

When you steal something, when did it become normal to taunt the victim of theft? or

Since when was it okay to look at a woman to lust after her and to let her know you are doing it?

How morally adrift do you have to be to not only do something unacceptable, but then yell out and celebrate it to the victim.

What ever happened to propriety and decency and shame? How about knowing right from wrong?

Oh, I know. People will say I’m prudish and that boys will be boys.

But this isn’t the same thing. It’s boys being in your face with their moral failure at your expense.

I mean, I know that lusting after women is a struggle for men. I get that.  It use to be a silent struggle because it was socially unacceptable.

WHEN did society become so bold–so corrupt–so shameless—that a perpetrator now feels free to let you know that he has just accosted you with his eyes? To.Your.Face. What do we do with that?

It’s a new low.

It’s taking something that doesn’t belong to you and then telling the person you committed the crime.

For men who not might understand why this is so offensive, it’s like going into a bakery, running your finger through various frostings to test them out, then yelling compliments to the baker and walking away. Newsflash: The cakes weren’t yours to test, Buddy.

It’s not just wrong and ignorant and infuriating, but it’s flagrant disregard for anyone but yourself. It’s a result of the ME-centered world we live in, which says, “Hey, do what’s best for you!” and apparently, a new low, “And then let everyone else know you just disrespected them in the process.”

Badly done.




  1. Becky says:

    I never thought catcalls were too big of a deal, as long as the guy kept his distance, because I don’t expect men who aren’t following Christ to live by the same standards, you know? But when I read the words, “How morally adrift do you have to be to not only do something unacceptable, but then yell out and celebrate it to the victim[?]” I realized just how right you are.

    There doesn’t seem to be a “silent struggle” with much of anything anymore. The world seems to be all about making sure people don’t feel shamed rather shining a light on wrongness.

  2. Debbie says:

    I have a friend who received catcalls from amish builders working several hundred feet away…all she did was walk out onto her porch. Laughable but evilly odd to say the least. Since building a house is not a one day event and she avoided going outside while they were working, she was in a virtual jail while they were working…thanks for pointing out that there are victims.

    • Sarah Beals says:

      About two weeks ago, I was at the grocery store and a man said something inappropriate to me on my way by. I was in my church clothes. Creepy and uncalled for.

  3. Rebecca says:

    C.S. Lewis argues in That Hideous Strength that a man’s sin is desiring a woman, but a woman’s sin is desiring the desire of a man. I believe men have been encouraged by the entertainment industry and other sin-filled women that women appreciate the expression of male desire. They have seen thousands of images of women winking, grinning, and flirting back at that type of behavior their entire lives. Is it sin? Absolutely! It’s disgusting behavior that needs to stop, whether or not the person is a believer. Have we provoked that sin in our culture? 100% yes. Cheerleaders and Hooter’s waitresses aside, even the next door neighbor is likely to be strutting and winking to elicit a little male attention.
    Now onto my gripe: Shoshanna may have been covered, but her clothing was tight enough to “whisker” — a long way from modest or dressing like a lady. I’ve seen what a woman in a tight pair of jeans means for my teenaged sons, and I don’t appreciate it. At all. Packing your derriere into denim isn’t showing love for your brothers in Christ (or women battling homosexuality) any more than wearing a micro mini skirt. To use your analogy, I think many men feel like they’re being arrested for shoplifting after trying a free sample.
    Thanks for a thought provoking post! I plan to discuss this with my teens soon.

    • I agree. I thought her outfit was too tight, and I read in “For Young Men Only” that guys see that as an invitation. It doesn’t justify the behavior, but it explains it. The men saw a walking invitation. I never got that kind of attention, and I don’t wear tight cloths. I have teenage sons, too. They would never do this to a woman; they avert their eyes. But the message of tight clothing seems very clear to guys. Of course, it’s sin for them to respond as the men in the video do; but it isn’t fair to put your baked goods out on the street in front of sugar addicts, and then slam them for stumbling.

    • Sarah Beals says:

      I agree with the media encouraging and making this look normal…movies, etc, glorify women as s*x objects. And if you sign up for Hooters, you know the atmosphere you are going into at least. I have a friend who lives in a muslim influenced country say that cat-calling out like this is the same as “stealing” her honor and is punishable by law. I thought this woman was dressed very ordinarily so as to not call attention to herself. Her outfit wasn’t flattering, and her hair seemed a little unkempt. And although women do use clothes to dress provocatively, I didn’t think this woman was.