re we really that surprised that football players "whistled and catcalled" at an attractive reporter? asks Holly Kearl in The Guardian. "Like most people in our society, they still think it is fine and socially acceptable" to make these kinds of remarks and gestures under the guise of it being a form of flattery. But "as someone who has been the target of scores of whistles from male strangers, and as a researcher of whistles and catcalls," I can testify that this "routine blatant objectification of women" is nothing of the sort — in most cases it amounts to "a form of intimidation to remind women they are on men's turf." That sounds like what happened in the case of Ines Sainz. Here, an excerpt:
Whistling not only needlessly breaks all women's train of thought and can make them pause to evaluate their safety; it could contribute to long-term body image and mental health issues. A 2008 study conducted by psychologists at Rutgers University in New Jersey found that young women who experienced high volumes of whistling and catcalls engaged in self-objectification and were consequently susceptible to eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. Clearly, these are undesirable outcomes...
What's a guy supposed to do to grab a woman's attention? Almost every female in my survey said interactions like a hello, smile or small talk about non-sexual topics made them feel happy, flattered or neutral. You'll find it's surprisingly easy to make that first step toward making the world a more respectful place.
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