Can’t women take a compliment? <meow> <hiss> 🙂 ….something tells me that comment will have some of you fired up. Wolf-whistling has been around my entire life, my mother has told me a few stories of when she received wolf-whistles in her younger years. She never minded at all and thought it was complimenting. But it seems that in todays society, many women do not appreciate the gesture. Is it ‘whistle envy’?…that their friends have been on the receiving end and they have not? Have they been hurt in any way as a result from acknowledging the gesture? I am writing this article in the hope of understanding what the fuss is about.
From what I have been able to find out, the wolf-whistle has been around since 200 b.c. Yes…that’s a very, very long time! One article I found mentioned Plautus, a Roman comic playwright who wrote Mercator (The Merchant) a play about a young man named Charinus who returns home to Athens with a slave girl for his mother. During the play, both Charinus and his father, Demipho, fall in love with the young woman, but it is Demipho who refers to the young woman in rather outrageous terms “It would cause scandal if such a beauty were the attendant of a wife and mother; when she passes through the streets all the men would look at her, leer, nod and wink and whistle.”
From 200 b.c until at least 10 years ago, women have been getting the vocal seal of approval from men of all ages. But over the past decade, the wolf-whistle has become nothing more than a distant memory. Some will argue that the wolf-whistle is demeaning to women, that it objectifies her as nothing more than a desirable sex object. The problem is that those who believe that the wolf-whistle is nothing more than a sexist and chauvinistic gesture is quite simply missing the point. It is a compliment. I have seen many women flirt and make gestures that would make my grandmother roll around in her grave. But that seems to be ok. A woman who looks a man up and down and makes a bold comment is brash, strongly independent and aware of her sexuality. A man who whistles his appreciation is nothing more than a pig. I can’t help but feel that in 2015, we have double standards.
Back in 1967 Jo Freeman taught women to stand up for what they believe in, that women were more than just a painted face and a sweet smile. Women had opinions and they wanted to be heard, and I am more than thankful for her enthusiasm and drive to achieve equality amongst the sexes. But has the fight gone to far? Don’t get me wrong, I do not support demeaning or obscene comments or gestures that are made to humiliate or frighten a woman, but have we fought the battle for equality so hard that it is the men who are now to scared to say anything for fear of upsetting the opposite sex.
I have to wonder about the amount of men using dating sites and apps such as Tinder. Is this what men have been reduced to? To find a man, women have also had to join such sites just to stir up some interest and get some attention? Men no longer offer to hold open the door for fear they will get their head bitten off, they no longer offer to buy a woman a drink because all men are pigs and will spike your drink?! We have reduced dating to a swipe of the thumb and I for one think it’s rather sad…don’t you think?! If a cute guy smiles and wolf-whistles at you, how would you react? Personally I think its just a whistle, a simple gesture that just might brighten someones day.
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