{Reflections} Cat-calling in Buenos Aires

This post is not meant to “generalise” all men here into one stereotype. It is purely a summary of my experiences. Luckily there are also some perfectly nice guys!

Every woman that has been to Buenos Aires (as well many other places across the globe where machismo is still strong) and walked down the street alone or without a man will have experienced cat-calling (piropos). They say it’s a compliment. “Oh how beautiful you are!”; “¡Que lindo!”; “¡Que hermosa; “¡Ey rubia!!” “Hello very nice how are you” to the more vulgar and explicit “I want to XXXX you” and various other things that I’m very glad I don’t understand.

One day last week I wasn’t feeling very well and as such I felt really hot all day (temperature wise!). So I wore a shortish white dress to work. Ironically this coincided with the coldest day of the year so far (the rest of me was well bundled up don’t worry). Just one block after leaving my apartment I was already considering going home to change as I felt so uncomfortable from the comments and stares I was getting. In just one block. But if I had done this I would’ve been late for work. Besides, I’m stubborn, I wanted to wear that dress, so why on earth shouldn’t I?

Now, let’s get something straight here. Cat-calling is not a compliment. It never will be a compliment. It is degrading and at times downright threatening.

In the world in which we live in today, victimisation of women is sadly commonplace. Everyday there are stories in the news of women being attacked and abused. And this is not something detached from our everyday lives, I believe it is now thought that 1 in 4 women will be victims of some sort of domestic abuse at some point in their lifetimes. Not only is that simply not acceptable but it highlights just how threatening cat-calling can be.

If I’m alone, on a run and some complete stranger makes some sort of perverse comment at me, of course I am going to feel uncomfortable. I have absolutely no idea who you are nor do I know anything of your motives. I’m already exhausted I can hardly run any faster if I need to get away!

Even the mayor of Buenos Aires has been quoted as saying that women “enjoy” getting these comments and if we don’t say so we are lying. I’m sorry, what?!

I wonder how these men would feel if they heard these comments being made to their wives/girlfriends/sisters/daughters? Furious, I’d imagine. So why is it acceptable for them to do it to a perfect stranger?

It isn’t.

I’m not a piece of meat so quit treating me like one.

What are you experiences of this?


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