Cat Calls by The Side Eyes Bringing Awareness to Street Harassment

Arianna Bultsma, Staff Writer

You would think nothing could happen when you are walking outside but there are sadly many terrible things that could happen. Street harassment has been and is still a big issue. If you aren’t sure exactly what street harassment is its unwelcomed comments or contact of a sexual nature directed at a person by a stranger in a public place. From a survey of 2,000 Americans65% of women and 25% of men have reported being victims of street harassment. To make things worse 41% of women and 16% of men have been physically harassed while simply being outside. 

Recently I came across an Instagram account called catcallsofnyc. On this account, the creator posts pictures of people’s stories of street harassment after writing them with chalk on different sidewalks in New York City. After this account was made different states, cities, and countries have made their own accounts like this one for their area. The closest one to us is the area of  Los Angeles. Hopefully, someone might make one in Riverside or even Corona. These accounts help get voices heard so others don’t feel alone. 

After finding these accounts I thought it appropriate to talk about the song Cat Calls by The Side Eyes. Originally the song came out in 2017 but it can still be talked about now considering the fact that street harassment never stopped even through a pandemic. The whole song brings awareness to the topic of catcalling but I find three parts of the lyrics to really express this topic and really print a picture of what people on the street have encountered street harassment and catcalls. 

‘I hear a car pull up I start to get the chills’ 

The words “I start to get the chills” are implying by simply hearing a car approach while walking can put forward uneasy feelings thus exemplifying a big issue. People should feel safe when being outside. We shouldn’t feel uncomfortable while walking down a street, but because street harassment has become so common, more and more people feel uneasy and can relate to these lyrics. 

‘Why are you yelling at me? 

I’m just walking down the street‘

What a street harasser calls out to a victim isn’t considered a compliment.  Those comments are disrespectful and can give rise to fear in the person receiving these comments. Harassers are not calling out to someone in a form of a complaint or starting a civil conservation but to reassert a hierarchy that benefits the catcaller.  

‘You think you can whistle at me 

Just cuz I’m cute and I’m walking down 

the street 

I’m not looking to be your doll

I don’t wanna hear your stupid catcall’ 

No one chooses their clothes in the hopes of invoking street harassers. Many harassers use catcalling as a form of a power grab. They might believe by harassing a person they are belittling them believing they will gain power over the people they make feel uncomfortable and unsafe. When someone’s body language is clearly uncomfortable with the interaction with the harasser they don’t respect that and continue to bother them. Catcalls are never a welcomed event for someone. 

Street harassment has been a big issue for a very long time. No one deserves to be a victim of street harassment though sadly many people will or have to experience this. It is important to have different platforms bringing awareness to the fact that street harassment is an issue, and needs to be talked about, and hopefully, one day it is stopped. These Instagram accounts do a wonderful job of speaking up and sharing others’ experiences. As well the song Cat Calls by The Side Eyes does a great job of showing the unwelcomeness of catcalls in the form of punk rock music.