Sunday, October 26, 2014

Flashing Back

While reading another blogger's post, I came across this link 

I am not sure if this is a case of making gold out of dross or a silk purse from a pig's ear or just a case of making a statement.  But it did bring back a lot of unpleasant memories of walking the gauntlet from the subway station to my 7th avenue office in Manhattan in the late 60s and early 70s.  Of course, the worst catcall was one made not by the usual suspects, i.e.: construction workers.  It was made by one very well dressed 30 something man to his friend while walking up the subway steps and leering at me as I walked down: "How'd you like to wake up to a taste of that every morning?"  They were right in my face, no chain link fence separating us, without even the dubious excuse of hard hat culture to explain the attempt to debase and degrade an unknown woman.  I never wore the dress I wore that day again ... even though my mother had made the dress.  And how bad can a dress made by a woman for her 16 year old daughter be?  That I remember the encounter vividly 48 years later says something.

Now, seeing many of the standard cat calls made up into cheery little samplers,  I realize the artist is making a statement: using the innocence of the sampler to emphasize the invasiveness and crudity of the catcall.  The contrast between the medium and the message is as dramatic as a gut punch and leaves me feeling just as queasy, as I believe it ought.  

I wonder how many men, viewing these same samplers, get the message and feel even a modicum of shame.

1 comment:

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Fascinating idea and thoughts. I have to be honest the "on the streets" catcalls like these don't really happen in the UK so much these days. It is still going on as the Every Day Sexism projects shows but it seems more confined to men known to the women who then try call it "banter".
I get bothered more by chuggers and sales people in the street!! Telling me that she likes my earrings is not going to get me to sign up for whatever she was selling!!