As a twenty-one-year-old woman, there are certain things that I’ve grown accustomed to. However, even as I have matured, there are typical actions that I still find troubling. One of those actions would definitely be catcalling on college campuses. Merriam-Webster defines catcalling as “a loud, sexually suggestive call or comment directed at someone publicly(as on the street).” Regardless of what you may hear on campus tours, catcalling often occurs at almost every college and university campus.
So, what are the implications of catcalling? And what do universities do to prevent catcalling on campus?
At my university, we have mandatory online lessons that we must complete, and they cover important issues such as alcohol and sexual violence. These lessons seem to be the only preventative actions that my university has taken in order to reinforce a safe campus for all, but these online lessons have only scratched the surface of the issue. Colleges and universities are educational environments, and nobody should be subject to sexual harassment while they are learning. This will be my fourth year as a student at my university and each year I’ve experienced catcalling. In a parking lot, going to print papers for class, walking back into my building… the location doesn’t seem to matter.
I’ve found my college experience to be inclusive for the most part, but these male students still feel comfortable with objectifying me on my way to class. I think this is, in part, due to the patriarchal society we live in, as well as the expectations established by a college or university. I’ve shared my experiences with other students on campus, and other women have similar stories too. Oftentimes, people dismiss the catcalling because it “happens all the time,” but I don’t think we should accept behaviors simply because of their frequency.
However, I’ll be honest… I don’t know what the solution to this is. My own personal experiences have made me angry and frustrated. I should be able to attend college without being catcalled, but that hasn’t happened. My hope is that this will start a conversation that will lead to some type of action, both at my own university and campuses around the world. Everyone deserves to have a safe learning environment.
Olivia Pandora Stokes is 21 and entering her senior year as a business administration major, with a marketing concentration. She has a love of words, Netflix, and reading.She takes her coffee strong (Harvard scientists insist it's healthy for you) and her feminism intersectional. In the future Olivia Pandora plans write more and use business to create a positive impact in the world.