So What if Men Catcall Jogging Women? They Catcall Me Too.

Paul Hair

Men catcalling jogging women is a social problem. Or so we’re told. This doesn’t surprise me (the catcalling or the deeming of it as a social problem). But catcalling isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be. After all, I’ve been on the receiving end of catcalling—from women and men.

“‘Running While Female,’ and The Comforting Lie of Safety” at Acculturated focuses on whether anyone should expect safety while running. I agree with a lot of what the author says in the post. But the part that particularly caught my attention comes when she references people who allege that men catcalling running females is a significant problem. (The author of the Acculturated post does not necessarily agree with that conclusion.)

As is with “mansplaining,” “manspreading,” “the patriarchy,” or any of the other endless accusations against the male sex, some people want us to believe that catcalling is just another example of how filthy and outright dangerous men are.

My response to this collected accusation is simple: it’s nonsense.

My previous post focused on the vicious, unleashed dogs I regularly face while running. I mentioned other threats and challenges as well. On top of those, I’ve been heckled and catcalled—by women and men.

The latest catcalling occurred the other day. I was running past a trailer (that has featured a rainbow flag display in the past) when a man who apparently lives there was at his mailbox. As I ran by him (with his spiky hair and his tight little short shorts—like the kind male gym teachers wore from the 1980s through the mid-1990s) he said to me, “You look fantathtic! We’ve been watching you run all thummer long!”

I get tired when I run, so I just said, “Thanks,” as I went by. Nothing wrong with that response, of course, but I probably would’ve just ignored him had I been focused on his inappropriate comments.

That’s right. I’m not making a defense of catcalling. I don’t do it; never have. And like I said, it’s one of the challenges I regularly face from running.* However, despite my being on the receiving end of catcalling get this: I survived.

No emotional distress or anything like that. True, I have no respect for that guy who catcalled me, but he didn’t emotionally damage me.

In fact, it’s actually pretty easy to ignore catcalling.

So if you’re a woman who is running (or walking) when next a man catcalls you, you likely can just ignore him and go about your day.

That’s what I do when women and men catcall me.

* I wouldn’t mind catcalling if it only came from attractive women. But the people who catcall are kind of like the people who want to legalize public nudity: they are exactly the kind of people who shouldn’t be doing it.