To think that even if you're sleazy enough to think wolf-whistling is a compliment...

(242 Posts)
BedHanger Mon 08-Apr-13 18:00:21

There are some groups of women you'd spare from the honour of your attention?

Like, maybe, a sleep-deprived new mother with a month-old baby strapped to her chest?

Yeuch. Why do some men think this is ok?

fluckered Mon 08-Apr-13 18:03:26

think it would secretly make my day!

Naysa Mon 08-Apr-13 18:04:28

In a very embarrassing anti-feminist way I would be made up if I was wolf whistled when I was feeling rough. blush

thebody Mon 08-Apr-13 18:05:33

No at my age I would be grateful love.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 08-Apr-13 18:08:47

It would cheer me right up! I havent been whistled at in years! sad

Backtobedlam Mon 08-Apr-13 18:11:04

Agree that it would make my day to get whistled at! I got ID'd in Waitrose buying some wine the other day...I was over the moon and couldn't thank the cashier enough. Few years ago if have been insulted by wolf whistle or being asked for ID, not these days!

thezebrawearspurple Mon 08-Apr-13 18:14:49

It's so offensive, men like that are pathetic and disgusting. They have no respect. I understand that there are some desperate women out there gagging for any attention they can get but I'm not one of them and I don't want men openly leering at me in the street. yanbu.

BedHanger Mon 08-Apr-13 18:15:33

God, really? confused. I found it a bit grim. I suspect he was taking the piss but even if he wasn't, yuck.

fluckered Mon 08-Apr-13 18:18:27

zebra i can assure you i am not desperate hmm


I get that lots of women don't like wolf-whistling, and I get why, but calling women who do like it 'sleazy' makes me uncomfortable. Is that not a little ironic?

BedHanger Mon 08-Apr-13 18:18:31

Bedlam, but being ID'd isn't the same, is it - I'd be chuffed at that too. Wolf-whistling is kind of aggressive, and I'm sure he thought I should be grateful. Yeah right!

fluckered Mon 08-Apr-13 18:19:11

aggresive? ah for the love of god.

Mrsrobertduvall Mon 08-Apr-13 18:19:15

One of the builders at the end of our road (all Polish and in their 40s) doffed his cap at me this morning.
I almost did a Queen Mother wave at him smile

BedHanger Mon 08-Apr-13 18:20:12

I was calling him sleazy LRD, not women who enjoy it. Men who think whistling at someone is a compliment = sleazy. Sorry about the unclear phrasing.

Oh, good! No, it was me misunderstand but I wasn't sure. Thanks for taking the time to explain to me.

As you were.

thebody Mon 08-Apr-13 18:25:32

Well I ain't either desperate or sleepy but probably mellowed so a wolf whistle wouldn't send me into a flat spin of angst, used to,but not these days.

seriouscakeeater Mon 08-Apr-13 18:26:38

I secretly like being bibbed or whistled at grin

StrawberriesTasteLikeLipsDo Mon 08-Apr-13 18:31:28

I got oi-oi-ed the other day whilst pushing the pram with 12 week old DS2 in it. I was so impressed I FB -ed it! Scorn at will grin

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 18:35:40

How gross. Amazed that there are women who like this kind of sleaze from sad men. I presume these same women would be fine if it was their dh doing the whistling then? Because when I've been whistled at it's generally by fat, middle aged blokes who you just know are married with kids - not Brad Pitt alikes.

MooMooSkit Mon 08-Apr-13 18:35:49

I still get the odd wolf whistle but I find it really embarassing and just feel awkward!

sjupes Mon 08-Apr-13 18:39:34

I got a ''hello gorgeous'' a couple of weeks ago - 10 mins late for school, 5 months pregnant and pushing ds in his buggy.. couple of twats taking the piss so i told them to get lost and stop being dickish to pregnant women blush

I did look like a pasty fuzzy haired fat harridan and if i was more of a bitch i'd have took the piss out of me too!

complexnumber Mon 08-Apr-13 18:39:50

and fat middle aged blokes ought to know their place!

PeaceandFUCKINGLove Mon 08-Apr-13 18:41:15

Ugh, I hate it. Its just another form of leering and 99% of the time it is done by men who look like the ugly tree fell straight onto them.

Even worse are the ones who beep their horns as they drive past and sometimes call out to me as well. Do they think that by doing this, I will suddenly decide that I want to have sex with them?

No thanks, I'd rather gouge my own eyes out. hmm

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 18:42:18


ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Mon 08-Apr-13 18:42:28

Sooooo - it would be OK if the men were Brad Pitt lookalikesconfused

complexnumber Mon 08-Apr-13 18:43:27

"Do they think that by doing this, I will suddenly decide that I want to have sex with them? "


corlan Mon 08-Apr-13 18:44:00

I'm amazed so many women like getting whistled or shouted at. I've always seen it as a sleazy thing for a guy to do.

Out of interest, would you still think it OK if it was your 18 year old daughter getting whistled at?

AnyaKnowIt Mon 08-Apr-13 18:44:59

You whistle to call a dog, not a person hmm

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 18:51:30

Things how about you read my post before posting nonsense? I will explain although not sure why I am bothering.

My point was that most wolf whistlers are clearly men who are married and middle aged (not exactly young and attractive which is where the Brad Pitt comparison came in) and also whether the sad women who enjoy this kind of vile attention would be happy if it was their husbands doing the whistling (at other women obviously).

Because I am guessing that they are someone's husbands.

BegoniaBampot Mon 08-Apr-13 18:54:38

always hated it and wanted to gouge the mens eyes out or something equally painful.

Isn't Brad Pitt middle aged and as good as married?

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 18:56:48

Oh fucking hell. I still think of him as young and attractive.

My age is showing....

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 18:57:36

Perhaps I will turn in to one of the saddoes who is grateful to be wolf whistled at next. sad

popebenedictsp45 Mon 08-Apr-13 19:37:07

I think it's grim and it's a bit sad if you feel validated by a wolf whistle. It has nothing to do with how good you look and everything to do with a certain idiot type of man demonstrating that women are there for their amusement.

Willdoitinaminute Mon 08-Apr-13 19:42:47

I'm 49 at the end of the week I'd be over the moon!

Nearly 47 and don't get whistled at sad
And I'm in fairly good nick for my mileage.....

Backtobedlam Mon 08-Apr-13 19:49:31

Yep I'm a total saddo for enjoying it, that's what my life has clearly come to these days! Got to get my kicks somewhere though. I do realise being ID'd is not the same thing, just drawing a comparison as both these things I'd have been embarrassed about in younger days, but now actually enjoy. (It was also chance to get a stealth boast in!)

higgle Mon 08-Apr-13 19:49:59

I was over the moon when the week before I went back to work from maternity leave, when DS2 was 5 weeks old I got whistled at outside a dog show. It boosted my confidence when I was feeling not at my best.

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 19:53:21

Oh FFS. MN really depresses me at times. sad

Where are all the sane women?

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Mon 08-Apr-13 19:56:06

I am 37 and i'd be over the fucking moon to be wolf whistled at!

Ullena Mon 08-Apr-13 19:57:39

Pre-empt them by whistling first. Or turn it into an impromptu musical number!

digerd Mon 08-Apr-13 19:58:13

My sis boasted that in summer she is still wolf-whistled at, allbeit from the back. She and I are in our 60s.
On a good day when my knee or hip isn't hurting and I'm wearing my baseball cap and sunglasses, wearing my jeggings and a long sleeved top, I get hooted at and stared at, but makes me feel embarrassed. I know how old I really look.
I was amused in my 50s, but not now.

Startail Mon 08-Apr-13 19:59:06

I've never been pretty enough to get wolf whistled and far too old now.
Can't imagine I'd have been anything other than please when younger and now I'd simply turn round smile and tell them "they should have gone to spec savers!"

HairyGrotter Mon 08-Apr-13 20:03:44

I don't like it, I had a man say "morning, love", I smiled and said "good morning", and his response was "lovely smile, lovely tits, one for the wank bank"...I was walking with my 4 year old daughter.

H was left with a new arsehole! I find it inappropriate, but personally, have nothing against men/women who don't

Startail Mon 08-Apr-13 20:04:52

Anyhow, what are workmen if not for our amusement too.

The shirtless blond water board man was gorgeous, he could sit in a hole out side my house as long as he liked.

Sadly the telephone engineers weren't, turned out to be a bunch of lads I went to school with. 14 years and almost 100 miles from home it was a bit odd.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 08-Apr-13 20:06:12

Another one who'd be over the moon at my age to get whistled at. Though obviously I'd have to give then a haughty look. grin

Startail Mon 08-Apr-13 20:06:58

Comments like that are quite different to whistling. Arseholes like that are likely only to have themselves for company.

Shakey1500 Mon 08-Apr-13 20:10:52

I take it as an appreciative gesture smile

At 7 months pregnant, feeling frumpish I got whistled at. Made me feel good. I consider myself sane.

I would never dream, however at insinuating that women who didn't like it were insane. I would just consider that we had different views and interpretations on the matter

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 20:18:22

Well that's where you and I differ. wink

And noone has answered my question whether they think it would be ok if their DH was whistling at other women - presumably they would be cool with that? These lechy men must be married to someone....

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 20:19:40

I also don't see a huge chasm between what happened to HG and the seemingly innocuous wolf whistle.

RatPants Mon 08-Apr-13 20:25:52

Yanbu. Grim, grim, grim.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 08-Apr-13 20:31:26

I don't like it. I've seen posts about this on another forum and men post that they do it for a 'laugh'. I just think it's a stupid thing to do and not at all respectful.

For the women that like it... how would you know if it was 'appreciative' or because it was a 'joke'?

The Brad Pitt anology is nonsense - as is the reference to 'old, fat blokes'. I'm not a BP fan and know quite a few OFB's who have a certain 'something' about them. I think that decent men don't whistle at women, whatever they - or the women - look like.

HairyGrotter Mon 08-Apr-13 20:33:12

If my partner behaved in such a manner, I'd be most put out. It is utterly unnecessary, if someone is just going about their business, who do they think they are drawing attention to it? However, it is totally subjective to how one feels about it. I lay no judge, on how others react to such attention.

Backtobedlam Mon 08-Apr-13 20:34:28

I wouldn't like my DH to do it no, obviously I want him to think I'm such hot stuff that he'd never even glance twice at a woman on a magazine cover. However, in reality I know this isn't case, and as long as he wasnt doing it in front of me or to my friends, I guess I'd never know.

Shakey1500 Mon 08-Apr-13 20:39:13

I guess I don't know if it's definitely appreciative or a joke but it matters not (to me). I choose to take it as appreciative.

Crunchymunchyhoneycakes Mon 08-Apr-13 20:40:12

I don't think it's meant as a compliment actually. I think it's actually quite an aggressive intimidating thing to do.

openerofjars Mon 08-Apr-13 20:45:15

It doesn't happen to me that often, to be honest, but it's creepy and vile. It's a reminder that as a woman you are there to be looked at. And I really hate the silly fuckers who take offence if you don't enjoy being made to feel like an object.

It's up there with "Cheer up, love, it might never happen". Do you know, I don't want to be the subject of commentary on what my tits look like or how cheery I look when I'm just walking down the road. I don't want to have to brace myself mentally when walking past builders in case my facial expression or my arse aren't up to scratch. It's like we're being vetted or something.

And, weird old pissed guys in the allegedly family friendly pub my friend and I took our DC to for lunch last week,I really don't think that "Hur hur hur, you're barred, Missus" counts as anything other than irritating noise. angry

carabos Mon 08-Apr-13 20:50:34

I worked in a sales office on a residential development a few years ago. At one point in the project access to the office was up a makeshift stairs, only wide enough for one person at a time.

I went up it one morning as the crew were about to come down for smoko. To a man they lined up, took off their hard hats and did a mock whistle like when the Queen boards a ship. It was lovely and funny. Sometimes they would wolf-whistle, but we all knew it was a bit of fun, not at all disrespectful, and the day I got locked into one of the units with a male punter, they were there in minutes.

BegoniaBampot Mon 08-Apr-13 20:56:04

'I don't think it's meant as a compliment actually. I think it's actually quite an aggressive intimidating thing to do.'

This really. I doubt they respect you and are probably taking the piss and dread to think of the foul comments they make to their mates once you've passed. I always think these are the kind of guys who would probably grab your arse in a pub and expect you to be grateful.

dementedma Mon 08-Apr-13 20:57:26

Makes me smile. I must be very sad indeed.

LessMissAbs Mon 08-Apr-13 21:08:17

Has anyone noticed the ones that whistle a tune endlessly often combined with an unblinking stare, so they presumably can't be accused of wolf-whistling?

So depressed at how many women think this is a compliment. Where's your self-respect ffs?

Dear random man on the street, I don't give a flying fuck that you've judged me and found me worthy of comment. Fuck the fuck off.

WorraLiberty Mon 08-Apr-13 21:10:37

It just makes me smile and then I don't think any more of it.

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 21:11:26

Lyingwitch you have misunderstood my post. Never mind. And I don't know who mentioned 'old fat blokes' as it wasn't me.

Delivery van men (in particular lol) do this when I'm out running.

Why the sight of me panting and sweating in Lycra is such a turn on I'll never know blush

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 21:14:10

What DitaVonCheese said.

Shakey1500 Mon 08-Apr-13 21:15:22

DitaVonCheese But with respect, you do give a flying fuck? Else you wouldn't comment on the matter surely?

I do have self respect thank you. Enough that if someone whistles in my direction in what I take to be an appreciative manner it remains intact.

BedHanger Mon 08-Apr-13 21:16:56

HairyGrotter that is beyond grim sad.

No, I don't, Shakey. I am just riled that his assumption is that I care what he thinks, because he is Man and my job is to look decorative.

If I gave a flying fuck what and on men on the street thought of me, I'd probably put a lot more effort in wink

Undertone Mon 08-Apr-13 21:24:09

What's that thing that Caitlin Moran says is a good test to see if something sexist? Something like "is this happening to men? Are the boys having to deal with it?" if not - then yes it's a gendered issue and it's likely to be part of (or a symptom of) a problem with how men think about women.

Being told you are attractive is nice. But that's not really the limit of what is actually being communicated by a wolf whistle or heckle. It's something done (almost) exclusively by men to women in public to say "you meet my approval". The fact that it is usually done at a distance, with an audience of participating or passive bystanders, means it is performed not for the benefit of the whistle-ee. It's a declaration about the whistler. People who find a compliment in it are manufacturing one where there is none.

Be offended! You're not on a fucking stage twirling your tits - you're a person going about your business, which up to that point did not include being "approved" by an arrogant chimp.

What openerofjars said. It's not complimentary at all and if think so, you are deluded. That so many of you think it's flattering, and you are brainwashed enough to think it's a compliment, that is indicative of how much society still needs feminism.


Yes. That^

Aimed at Undertone but actually what Void said too smile

HairyGrotter Mon 08-Apr-13 21:27:43

I'm not adverse to a compliment, absolutely, but not in the form of 'approval', like I should be fucking grateful! Regardless of what I'm wearing, I should to be on display for folk to approve.

openerofjars Mon 08-Apr-13 21:29:52

It's not something nice chaps do to show their appreciation of a pretty girl. It is an intimidating act designed to put women in their place and remind us that we are being watched, usually done by angry or inadequate men who actually don't like women.

It's on a continuum with flashing and other forms of street harassment.

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 21:33:06

YY to that openerofjars

BedHanger Mon 08-Apr-13 21:33:42

Spot on undertone, his mate was standing outside the van and obviously found it amusing.

As I walked past the window he said, "hello gorgeous". I made this actual face --> confused. Then he smirked at his mate and whistled.

Yes, and what opener said.

Those of you who are thrilled at being wolfwhistled, would you feel differently if they yelled "I'd fuck you!" instead?

Twitterqueen Mon 08-Apr-13 21:36:29

My local post office people call me love. (irrelevant, but they are Asian)
My very best friend calls me pet. (irrelevant, but she is from Middlesborough)
I call my children sweetie (irrelevant, but I'm from the inhibited south and much as I would like to have done, I've never been comfortable calling them 'darling').
If I was wolf-whistled I'd obviously ignore them and wallk on with a spring in my step.
Anyone and everyone who addresses me with an affectionate diminutive, no matter whether they know me or not, is OK in my book.
I get precious little appreciation anyone else so I take it where and when I get it.
I enjoy going to my post office. I like the fact they don't know people's names, that they want to be polite and friendly and so they settle on 'love' What's wrong with that?

HairyGrotter Mon 08-Apr-13 21:38:46

Thing is, I don't need approval from strangers, male or female. If I ask it of folk, give it, but I don't, therefore it's absolutely none of their business.

Keep your wolf whistles and comments, and shove it

sudaname Mon 08-Apr-13 21:41:01

The time to worry is when they stop. grin


I like 'love', too, but I think it is really easy to tell when it is meant in the usual nice way, and when it isn't. It's the same with all those terms - obviously 'sweetheart' is a nice term in its origins but it can be used in a patronizing way.

It's sad that a few wankers have to mess things up.

I agree with hairy about approval. It creeps me out a bit, the idea strangers would think they had the right to 'approve' of me. hmm

Undertone Mon 08-Apr-13 21:42:13

Yeah - it's like in an environment where some men might feel like they want to assert their masculinity, the easiest way to do it is by differentiating between themselves and a woman. In fact - they are SO FAR from being a woman that they have to SHOUT all the way over to the nearest example of a woman - that's how miiiiiiles away they are from being the tiniest bit feminine, yeah lads?

It's reinforcing the idea that women are "other" and therefore slightly less human than men. So it's ok to not have a real conversation with one.

Undertone Mon 08-Apr-13 21:45:12

Oh and - my boss calls me "love" when he wants to be patronizing. Context is all, and these men are not being affectionate - don't mistake a distancing act for an act of intimacy.

rustybusty Mon 08-Apr-13 21:51:25

A man did this to me recently, and his mate said leave her she cant be any older than 18. Im nearly 30. I could of shuck his hand.

I get stuff like that all the time, and yeah I absolutely love it.

Notmadeofrib Mon 08-Apr-13 21:55:52

I used to work in an industry that took me on to many factory floors that were mainly staffed by men. I have had people (other than my DMum) tell me I'm reasonably kind on the eye and yet in about 10 years I was wolf whistled just once. I found it insulting.

Undertone Mon 08-Apr-13 22:04:46

Why would you be insulted? Why do you have the feeling that they were pointing out a deficiency in you by not barking at you like a pack of sea lions? Maybe they realise better than you that it would have been disrespectful, and they were keen to keep their jobs? Why would they have felt guilty about doing it unless they knew it was wrong?

WorriedMummy73 Mon 08-Apr-13 22:09:35

Rustybusty - are you Sam Fox or Katie Price writing under another name?

I could of shuck his hand. I get stuff like that all the time, and yeah I absolutely love it.

Quite possibly the most insulting and dense thing I've ever read on Mumsnet! How feminism has managed to get anywhere in this world with people like you in it is beyond me.

Notmadeofrib Mon 08-Apr-13 22:09:58

ha ha, sorry. Noooooo. Wrong way around. I found that single ww insulting.
I should try reading my post first shock

rustybusty Mon 08-Apr-13 22:13:31

Bit harsh worriedmummy73. Dont see anything wrong with taking the compliments tbh. Im equal ops I am just as happy when women say it to me to wink

countrykitten Mon 08-Apr-13 22:13:36

I read it the way you intended!

Rustybusty WTAF?

Undertone Mon 08-Apr-13 22:14:32

Oh god sorry notmadeofrib yes i can see how i misunderstood. Right. <cough> As you were, co-feminist <winds in neck>

Notmadeofrib Mon 08-Apr-13 22:17:53


WorraLiberty Mon 08-Apr-13 22:20:09

Quite possibly the most insulting and dense thing I've ever read on Mumsnet! How feminism has managed to get anywhere in this world with people like you in it is beyond me.

And as a feminist you think it's ok to call another woman dense because she enjoys that kind of attention?

That's confusing.

I thought feminism was more about choice?

rustybusty Mon 08-Apr-13 22:25:52

Just cause I dont agree with you doesnt mean I cant enjoy it. You can do what you like, and I wouldnt judge you for not liking it. We dont all have to be the same.

Undertone Mon 08-Apr-13 22:46:00

Worra - yes it's about choice - as long as the choices presented to a woman are the same choices as are presented to a man. I think what I'm struggling with is that we as women have to make the choice of whether or not we should be grateful for strange men's harassment. The fact that some women are free to make the choice to interpret it as a positive endorsement is avoiding the issue that we had to make that choice in the first place.

The issue is not whether or not we are empowered to deal with harassment in a look-on-the-bright-side way. It's the fact that we have to deal with it at all.

HolyMackerel Mon 08-Apr-13 22:52:57

YANBU it is grim and sleazy. I agree totally with this:

openerofjars Mon 08-Apr-13 21:29:52

It's not something nice chaps do to show their appreciation of a pretty girl. It is an intimidating act designed to put women in their place and remind us that we are being watched, usually done by angry or inadequate men who actually don't like women.

It's on a continuum with flashing and other forms of street harassment.

Backtobedlam Mon 08-Apr-13 23:10:13

It's not only men that do it though-I've seen ladies at the gym nudging/winking and making comments about male lifeguards and personal trainers. Is it any different when its that way round?

No, it isn't.

It's not rocket science.

It's nice when people flirt.

It's not nice when people make someone feel shit and scared.

This can apply to either gender. On balance, women are probably more likely to feel intimidated walking past a group of blokes than the reverse, because of how our society is not an egalitarian paridise.

Anything else?

Backtobedlam Mon 08-Apr-13 23:29:04

I just don't think that the majority time its done to make people feel intimidated or bad about themselves, and that goes for either gender. Most times its lighthearted banter, and if it puts a smile on someone's face (which this thread has proven it often does) there's no harm in it.

squeakytoy Mon 08-Apr-13 23:36:44

Getting wolf whistled is not a problem, I dont mind it at all. How it can be seen as threatening, scary or make someone feel like shit I have no idea.

Having someone shout along the lines "get yer tits out" is intimidating and crossing the line of being insulting rather than complimenting someone with a wolf whistle.

I know women who would whistle at men, it isnt gender specific.

It's always possible that different people wolf-whistle different onlookers, I think.

Hard to generalize based on anecdote.

Obviously some people either find it intimidating, or are lying for the sake of it.


RevoltingPeasant Mon 08-Apr-13 23:40:23

It's totally about putting women In Their Place.

The only times I have ever had this happen - and it used to happen quite a lot - was when I was dressed up as a student or out running.

Both times when I was feeling happy, confident in my body. It's a slap-down.

And incidentally, the running thing - I have been fit and svelte and it's happened - and I have been a tubby size 14 and it's happened. It's not about people actually finding me sexy. It's about 'there's a woman exercising seriously, put 'er in 'er fucken place'.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 08-Apr-13 23:42:16

And as for feminism is about choice, yeah - it's also my choice to criticise women whose choices contribute to a culture where women are oppressed.

I once saw someone who claimed to have had FGM performed on her daughter say it was her choice and she was a feminist. 'Choice' can be made to defend damn her anything.

Backtobedlam Tue 09-Apr-13 00:04:30

I totally fail to see how the act of whistling can put someone in their place. I am a confident women and independent thinker, no amount of men whistling at me is going to change that. Instead of being a scared little women who is slapped down by a whistle, is it not far more feminist to just be happy in your own skin, and take it on the chin? Or even better to take it as a compliment? Whilst I respect some women dislike being whistled at (we all have our own opinions) there is nothing about my view that is oppressive to women.

That's a hair-thin line you have there, squeakytoy, imo.

"Get your tits out"
Bum pinching
Tit grabbing
- it's all part of a spectrum of sexual assault.

Is it the fact that wolf-whistling isn't verbal that makes it okay? What if it was grunting instead?

Backtobedlam Tue 09-Apr-13 00:06:01

I appreciate the autocorrect has changed every time 'woman' to 'women'!

squeakytoy Tue 09-Apr-13 00:09:10

it is so not about "putting women in their place"... plenty of women whistle at men... so that argument just doesnt make sense..

I have a feeling that some posters on here would find a comment like "wow you look really nice in that dress" as an insult and clearly because they are a woman, wearing a dress, so to comment on that would be putting them in their place... confused

squeakytoy Tue 09-Apr-13 00:10:43

"Is it the fact that wolf-whistling isn't verbal that makes it okay? What if it was grunting"

grunting? how is that anything like a wolf whistle? the only thing that has ever grunted at me is my dog when he wants to go out.. confused

'I totally fail to see how the act of whistling can put someone in their place. I am a confident women and independent thinker, no amount of men whistling at me is going to change that. Instead of being a scared little women who is slapped down by a whistle, is it not far more feminist to just be happy in your own skin, and take it on the chin?'

BUt what about women who are not 'confident', perhaps for good reasons?

What about women who are thinking rather less superficially?

How is it feminist to ignore the real issues that threaten women?

I imagine that a lot of men wolf whistle simply thinking, wow, that woman is sexy, this is a nice way for me to flirt with her. That is an obvious thing to think and it's obvious for lots of us to respond thinking 'oh, nice, this bloke thinks I am sexy'.

Where it gets scary is when things are twisted out of shape, and that is what's happened in our society. Women do get raped and harassed and belittled. It seems harsh to feel angry with them for that! Some men do get to thinking that women are sex objects - if no men ever though this we would never have rape. So it seems absurd to have a go at some women for thinking about this and about why it happens.

Saying plenty of women whistle at men is, to me, not dissimilar to saying that blackface is ok because plenty of black people have tried to pass for white.

Sparklyboots Tue 09-Apr-13 00:20:46

Hasn't there been some research on this, under the broader rubric of 'catcalling'? Isn't the generally accepted position that wolf whistling etc. is not about the women it's ostensibly aimed at, but about establishing the masculinity of the whistler, usually for the benefit of the other men around? In which context OP, YANBU, it's irritating enough when you aren't in a post-birth haze to be coopted into someone's attempt to realise their masculinity...

Grunting as in "sexy" "uh uh uh baby" grunting. How about kissing noises then?

Backtobedlam Tue 09-Apr-13 00:27:04

Making a connection between wolf whistling and raping is rather extreme even for mnet! If a woman isn't confident of course I'm not saying that's her fault, but neither is it the case that all women who lack self confidence feel that way because of men. Men also do get raped, harassed and belittled its not only women, and some women do view men as sex objects-have you never seen a group if 'hens' out on the town? There is a market for male strippers/butlers in the buff. So I think rather than thinking superficially, I am actually drawing a distinction between a man wolf whistling at a woman, and perhaps issues of greater impact.

Oh Christ, it really isn't <facepalm>

It's not 'extreme'. hmm

It is simply the very basic and obvious point that some women feel sexually threatened because sexual threats to women are not unheard of.

If you cannot understand where 'rape' comes into this, I suggest you revisit the dictionary definition.

"Hollaback activists from Mumbai to Mexico believe that any behaviour that stops you from feeling safe in public, even for a moment, is street harassment – that a "compliment", even if well-intended, is only a compliment if it feels good.

This is not about being anti-flirting, but there is a huge gulf between paying someone a compliment with courtesy and respect, and invading their personal space or shouting uninvited remarks."

Source: Wolf-whistling is just the start ? harassment is not harmless (Guardian)

"Catcalling is a way men inflict their will on women. In this way, it goes hand in hand with rape culture.


There are men who insist that catcalls are “flattering.” No doubt there are women who are complicit in this too. Men often use this as an excuse that because some women enjoy it, that I, a completely different woman with a different set of tastes and standards, should appreciate it too. This is, of course, a warped and idiotic logic that is based on the understanding that I, in my possession of XX chromosomes, must be a part of the hivemind of womanhood that kowtows to male standards of behavior. Because. . .

Rape culture demands that women are sexually subservient. We must behave in a pre-programmed way to any and all attention we get on the street from greasy strangers.


Catcalling is part of rape culture. It declares that the catcaller has more rights than recipient of said harassment. It tells her that her voice is irrelevant and that she should just grin and bear it. It tells her that she should take it as a compliment and if she doesn’t, it’s her that’s broken. Pardon me, well-meaning straight guy who doesn’t see catcalling as part of rape culture, but doesn’t this sound familiar?"

Source: Cat-calling and rape culture go hand in hand

BegoniaBampot Tue 09-Apr-13 00:31:47

Or that tsk tsk teeth sucking thing men do from more east european middle eastern areas, hate it. Imagine that's their equivalent to wolf whistling.

HairyGrotter Tue 09-Apr-13 00:34:54

I'm a confident, independent woman, with aspirations and goals. I still feel threatened walking past a bunch of men...I was raised with the feminist ideology. It's threatening, I just want to walk past anyone without comment because that is my right as a HUMAN.

You wish to 'relish' in it, I'll support you, but I find it threatening and wholly inappropriate

BegoniaBampot Tue 09-Apr-13 00:36:53

And when I've been overseas and had the teeth sucking, it definitely feels threatening and not complimentary in the slightest.

More from the Guardian

(Obsessive link-posting = time to go to bed wink)

rustybusty Tue 09-Apr-13 07:25:54

I agree with backtobedlam. I have never in my life been intimidated by walking past a group of men who shout and whistle. Why would I am a strong and confident person it would take a massive amount more than that to slightly intimidate me.

Undertone Tue 09-Apr-13 07:48:05

It doesn't matter if you personally don't find it intimidating. The issue at hand is that it happens at all.

Your implied assumption that any women who don't enjoy it are joyless, should be grateful, etc, is a symptom of conditioning that you have experienced. You have been conditioned to think that sexual attention is a compliment - it should be what you prize above all else - that you should be grateful for it.

That's what they are thinking when they are doing it. "Women love being told they're sexy - my approval of her tits will make her day, the horny little minx." If you are one iota, one whispering shadow, more complex than a walking male approval receptacle, you should find this unsolicited attention at the very least irritating for it's patronization.

Whoever said that street harassment is ok because hen parties do it... That's not quite right. When hens jeering and heckle they are doing it to be intimidating. Which, funnily enough, is the same reason men do it to women. It's not like men get heckled at 10am going to get a pint of milk is it? The co-opting of intimidating behaviour by women does not make the men's behaviour suddenly ok, ffs.

Crunchymunchyhoneycakes Tue 09-Apr-13 07:54:04

Yy to all of that Undertone ^^

rustybusty Tue 09-Apr-13 07:54:50

No cause sometimes somebody says something annoying, or its someone Im not attracted to I just would sarcastically shout fuck off you dick or turn round do a fake bow and stick my fingers up and stivk my tongue out etc. The most I have ever seen is one of his mates shout wahheyy to the one that did it. If you have a problem with it just say.

I live in a holiday place its very frequent to hear women shout get your cock out etc. Its just seen as banter and you can shout back without problem. Men usually take it as a joke to. Its just the culture but having read the above link it must be your areas culture. Here there isnt anyone carrying knives, no risk of mugging, people leave their doors unlocked all night and single women walk round day and night in whatever and I have never known a random attack. I suppose I would feel different if I lived in a scary place, but this is all I have ever really known.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 09-Apr-13 08:01:41

I hate being whistled at and used to find it very intimidating when it used to happen a lot when I was in my school uniform years back.

I am very glad that now the majority of building sites have policies which mean the people working on them have to be respectful to passers by.

I got whistled at last summer by a builder working round the corner from my house and it just felt very creepy as he stood and watched me walk up and down the hill and then back again as I went to collect my DD from playgroup.

I struggle to see how that is anyway flattering I really do. But I know when I've posted like this before I was called jealous etc.

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Tue 09-Apr-13 08:10:21

I probably find wolf-whistling intimidating and aggressive because it began when I was about 12 - 13, and I didn't appreciate being made to feel like groups of grown men were amused at viewing me as a sexual being at the time. It frightened me.
I have always assumed since that the aim is to scare. Harassment.

Men stopping and telling me politely that I look nice today is a different thing. And being called love or whatever is a completely completely different thing!

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 09-Apr-13 08:11:51

I totally agree Orangefooted.

Someone chatting/flirting or saying nice dress is pretty different to yelling 'nice tits'

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 09-Apr-13 08:13:17

But let's face it how many random men walk down the street and say 'nice dress' and literally mean just that.

Flirting is a 2 way thing surely where as whistling is all about the man doing it in my opinion and as someone else said about doing it to emphasise his masculinity to his friends/blokes he's with.

nethunsreject Tue 09-Apr-13 08:20:05

Yuk, I hate it. Yanbu op.

Backtobedlam Tue 09-Apr-13 08:26:16

Ok, I've read the Guardian articles and can see where you are coming from, I couldn't really see the connection before so sorry I can see its not a totally extreme link to make.

However, this link jumps from wolf whistling examples of catcalling creating rape culture, to stories of cars full of men following a woman for 20mins, then jumping out and attacking her! I'm sure there are many men and women who would wolf whistle but would never in a million years follow someone in their car. I would like to know where these people live-is it the UK? As I can assure you that where I live in the UK there is no 'rape culture' it is not common for people in our area to get raped and it is certainly not condone or trivialised. It is seen as a horrendous act and the same men who do the wolf whistling would be pushing for prosecution of a rapists. Perhaps if I lived somewhere that I felt had a 'rape culture' it would feel threatening, and I would certainly never chastise someone for feeling upset/worried by anything...that is your right as a human. However, it is also not right to say that all women who would like being wolf whistled at are 'superficial' or 'conditioned' as if we cannot possibly know our own mind.

Saying that hen parties are heckling with the intention of intimaditing...really?! Have you ever been on a hen party? I for one have never seen anyone doing it for anything except light hearted fun. The men usually joke back and some appear to enjoy the attention, as like myself (and I'm surt not the only one) some take it as a compliment. We are lucky to live in a society where women can admire men, can feel attractive and enjoy male attention without feeling it is 'wrong'. As women we are just as entitled to enjoy our looks, enjoy what we wear and enjoy male attention, hell we can even enjoy sex! So from my experience where I live in the UK I feel equal to men, I am in no way oppressed and rape is certainly not encouraged or condoned.

Grumpla Tue 09-Apr-13 08:40:29

Another YANBU from me.
I was very young when it started (tall for my age, but wearing SCHOOL UNIFORM FFS!!!) and it used to really freak me out. Especially as it happened often when I was on my own. How can a group of 4 or 5 adult men think its ok to stare and shout at a CHILD like that? They obviously thought a bit of group sexual harassment of a little girl was a great way to liven up their tea break.

I do tend to shout back at them now. It doesn't intimidate me any more, it just makes me fucking furious that they feel they have a right to intrude on me like that.

Having said that I am also a polite and friendly person. I often say good morning / afternoon to people on the street (it's a small town and you get to recognise people). I just make eye contact first and do so politely rather than pass comment (at full volume) on their tits or their facial expression. I don't sneer, shout, whistle or leer. If I can control myself in this way I expect other people to do the same.

As for saying the link between harassment and rape is extreme - I would think its probably a pretty good bet that the people who struggle to distinguish between "polite greeting" and "sexual harassment" are fairly likely to also struggle with the difference between "consensual sex" and "rape".

openerofjars Tue 09-Apr-13 08:41:12

Thanks for those links, Dita.

MrsClown1 Tue 09-Apr-13 08:42:20

I cant stand it so YANBU. I had a mate who if she was whistled at she used to turn round walk back to the group of men and say 'sorry, did you say something'. The men used to just go red so she would walk away leaving them lying there! She knew those types of men were cowards when it was face to face.

I would love to do what Miranda did in SATC. A group of builders had been whistling and cat calling to her for a few mornings. Eventually she walked over to them and said 'OK, which one of you is up for a shag. I havent had sex for ages and am desperate!' Needless to say, they went red and told her they were all married and were only having a bit of fun.

Just out of interest, could I ask the women who like being whistled at would they mind if their partners/DH whistled at other women walking down the street minding their own business.

hairtearing Tue 09-Apr-13 09:22:16

Yeah I would suspect it was piss taking which makes it worse,you can usually tell though.

Latara Tue 09-Apr-13 09:29:21

I'm only here because my Dad (at age 18) wolf-whistled at my Mum (aged 16 then) from under the car he was working on... she noticed
him, they got chatting and married 2 years later! smile

Latara Tue 09-Apr-13 09:32:34

Re: building sites / workmen - when i walk past i smile and they say 'hello', so i say 'hello' back which is pleasant.

I think that lots of workmen are banned from whistling at women now, also the younger ones seem more polite (just my experience).

ICBINEG Tue 09-Apr-13 10:14:18

Just to add a massive YANBU and yy to the excellent posts with links explaining why.

Men wouldn't wolf-whistle their own or their friends teenage daughters, siblings, mothers because of the massive lack of respect it would imply. The same lack of respect is present when they wolf whistle either you or your DD's.

Being grateful that someone has so little respect for you as a human being that they wolf-whistle you is beyond sad.

idococktailshedoesbeer Tue 09-Apr-13 11:36:26

When I was a shy schoolgirl there was one summer when a builders were working on a house down the road for months. I got so much stick off them I changed my route to school and back. How is that right? I'm all for a cheery hello but wolf whistles and sleazy comments, no thank you.

Undertone Tue 09-Apr-13 12:12:31

Backtobedlam - I think what I was trying to get at with using a word like "conditioned" is that we were all raised in a cultural context where, stereotypically, a woman's appearance and desirability is her most valuable quality. (Rather than, you know, something like intelligence or diligence or kindness...)

So we all go around believing that (because it has been told to us, acted out to us, so very very often - from Disney upwards), which is why it can feel nice for it to be loudly proclaimed in the street that a man thinks you are sexy.

The feeling of pleasure is a result of being conditioned in this way.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 09-Apr-13 12:34:19

Men wouldn't wolf-whistle their own or their friends teenage daughters, siblings, mothers because of the massive lack of respect it would imply. The same lack of respect is present when they wolf whistle either you or your DD's.

^^ This. If it were really a compliment, they would, wouldn't they?

I used to hate it as a schoolgirl (age 11 upwardssad). It felt wrong and it was wrong. I used to change my route too. No woman (or man) should have to feel that way.

The only women I read about enjoying the attention seem to be those who don't get attention generally now and miss it, they laugh saying that "they'll take it wherever they can get it". That might be a generalisation but it's what I've read on posts on the subject.

I wonder that there isn't a 'uninversal' symbol that people could visibly wear to show that they welcome this kind of thing? Now that might solve the problem...

MansView Tue 09-Apr-13 12:36:01

sure tho -the kind of men who wolf whistle are the likes of builders - they normally live in council houses, and would anyone be flattered that they whistled at you? - they'll whistle at anything that moves haha..!

EldritchCleavage Tue 09-Apr-13 13:30:42

I'm with openerofjars and Orange on wolf-whistling.

I'm not whistled at any more (in 40s) which is fine by me. I hated the whistling. I was being treated like a commodity and put in my place. There was nothing nice about that kind of attention at all, it was jeering, if not mocking, and threatening at the same time.

I have noticed in the last couple of years that often now young workmen say 'Hello' to me, as if being noticed by me, when I say hello back, validates them in some way. 'I got a woman to talk to me, look'. I find it a bit odd, but if they are polite I am (briefly) polite back. Men of my own age or older don't do it.

BedHanger Tue 09-Apr-13 13:41:16

MansView confused.

BarredfromhavingStella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:00:44

TBH I'd probably just tell the offender to piss off & not give it another thought, certainly wouldn't find it intimidating though I thought it was a thing of the past as building sites have rules about that sort of crap now.

sudaname Tue 09-Apr-13 15:48:31

I get it a lot locally but only because DH is a builder < glares at ManView grin> so obviously most of his/now 'our' mates are also self employed tradesmen or 'builders' and just think it's funny to beep and/or whistle when they see me about.
If it happens outside of leg-pulling DHs friends then it has never bothered me tbh either way. As long as any comment is tongue in cheek or said in good humour and any whistle is not followed by a lewd comment or whatever then l just shrug/laugh it off/roll my eyes in mock dismay or whatever. In fact l used to treat chat up lines or blatant flirting exactly the same when l worked behind a bar come to think about it, which l think is the best way ime.
My DH does confirm as has already been said that it is indeed dying out, although never been a wolf whistler himself even when younger, he has worked with many very prolific ones but says even they (at least in his experience) didnt tend to do it to very young or vulnerable/shy looking girls etc but only to the women who looked confident enough to not be upset by it/laugh it off or indeed tell them to piss off as some on this thread indeed would. I am sure there are some raving perverts in the building trade as in every industry however to whom every female is 'fair game'.
So going by that l think possibly in your situation OP and according to 'Unofficial Rules on Wolf Whistling according to DHs builder mates' then maybe they should have refrained.

sudaname Tue 09-Apr-13 15:53:13

I meant > ..confident enough to not be upset by it but able to laugh it off or indeed tell them to piss off...

Sorry that read wrong in my last post.

DuelingFanjo Tue 09-Apr-13 23:11:56

I once posted my displeasure at being hollered at on here, and got told I was a joyless woman who should have been flattered.

Yeah right. I am guessing that all the women on here who think it's ok are training up their sons and husbands to shout at women on the street 'because it's flattering' and encouraging their kids to behave like that towards the girls in their class? Yeah right.

What I've never understood I why men would think it's a suitable approach to make towards another person? Freaks.

BegoniaBampot Wed 10-Apr-13 08:21:12

freaks indeed.

countrykitten Wed 10-Apr-13 10:09:24

I find it interesting that the women on here who take this kind of shit see themselves as confident and assume that women who get get annoyed about it are lacking in confidence.

I tend to see it the other way.

DuelingFanjo Wed 10-Apr-13 10:23:58

exactly countrykitten, I think it's strange to assume that women are lacking in confidence because they hate being hollered at in the street while going about their daily business.

Are there women here who would be ok with their husband behaving like this? shock?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 10-Apr-13 12:15:05

I wouldn't be happy if my husband did it. I'd feel that it reflected on me, that I'd married somebody who thought this was a nice way to treat women.

I realise it's not a 'crime' but to many women, it is disrespectful and unwelcome and that view shouldn't be disregarded.

I get wolf whistled at, beeped at and had hello gorgeous shouted at me from builders. Doesn't phase me, especially when I'm having a shit day it slightly cheers me up grin

What I don't like are the weirdos who shout out of the window 'get your tits out'. You know full well that if I did they wouldn't know what to do

sudaname Wed 10-Apr-13 14:01:30

Yes Fanjo l agree about the last bit and as for cheering you up on a shit day , sometimes the builders do it for same reason, l imagine , a bit of banter, a bit of light relief before they go back knee deep in a drain or whatever.
For those who think it is degrading to women or whatever there is another side to this coin. So many women especially treat builders as though they are sub human, walk past them with their nose in the air or whatever, even when they are working on or right outside their property, possibly because they have a preconceived idea about them all being dirty buggers,leering pervs or whatever and l better not encourage them. Or maybe they do think they are just socially better than them.
I once worked in a large hospital and builders were on site in a staff corridor for a long time and you had to squeeze past with your lunch brews etc to get in and out of the staff canteen. The number of female middle managers/medical secretaries, (interestingly enough not the domestic staff or HCAs or nurses ) l saw practically stepping over them with a real 'don't speak to me' po face was unbelievable. Women who would acknowledge everyone else in the corridor would suddenly become all catsbum mouth and prim around these 'low lifes'. Not even a thank you in some cases when they moved to one side.
I asked a young colleague one day after witnessing her totally blanking them in this way and reason she gave was she didn't want them to think she fancied them. What for saying 'Morning' or whatever ??
I always spoke to them and asked if they were ok for brews etc and l built up a nice rapport with them over the weeks they were there and l'm sure it brightened up their day aswell as it did mine.
They are human beings too and majority of them like my DH and his mates are successful established tradesmen with lovely homes etc. and more importantly decent loyal family men.
No they don't all live on rough council estates , spend all their wages in the pub and who can only dream of getting close to some passing 'Uptown Girl'.

sudaname Wed 10-Apr-13 14:05:32

Scrap the 'lovely homes' and replace with 'potentially lovely homes with lots of unfinished jobs' on second thoughts [long suffering builders wife]

Suda I was brought up around builders, my dads one and all his mates so I see humans and I don't mind a bit of banter either. Doing no harm.

There is a very attractive builder working on a house round the corner from me so I tend to walk past often! He is yet to shout or wolf whistle. When he does I shall pounce grin

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 10-Apr-13 14:14:58

It's nothing to do with feeling 'superior'. How odd! Rude people who don't acknowledge good manners are just that - rude. The profession matters not.

For me it has everything to do with walking down the road, minding my own business, and not expecting to be leered at or whistled at by random strangers. For context, I see police officers, traffic wardens, surveyors and other professional people standing at the roadside going about their business - in silence. What is different?

Are (some) builders such special snowflakes that they can't get through their day without demanding attention from women, most of whom do not want the attention themselves? Sorry, but builders who do this are sleazy.

BegoniaBampot Wed 10-Apr-13 14:22:37

maybe women give groups or builders a wide berth and don't engage as they spent many years being wolf whistled at or leered at by groups of them.

popebenedictsp45 Wed 10-Apr-13 14:36:20

SP so your dad would be fine about his mates wolf whistling at you then?!

Right, now it's my own fault builders yell at me because I don't acknowledge them enough, as I go about my day not acknowledging every other person I ever meet confused

DuelingFanjo Wed 10-Apr-13 14:43:44

"So many women especially treat builders as though they are sub human, walk past them with their nose in the air or whatever, even when they are working on or right outside their property, possibly because they have a preconceived idea about them all being dirty buggers,leering pervs or whatever and l better not encourage them. Or maybe they do think they are just socially better than them."

I have never seen the building trade as anything other than a decent profession. I do however judge individuals on their behaviour. So if a doctor outside a hospital wolf whistled me and shouted 'oi oi sexy' I would look down on him as a person as much as I would a builder who did the same but would not judge the whole profession.

On the other hand, if one woman's only experience of builders was that they continually harrassed her she might be forgiven for thinking they are all like that, no?

sudaname Wed 10-Apr-13 15:11:34

DitaVonCheese the builders in my example didn't yell at anyone or wolf whistle at anyone whether they acknowledged them or not.
They also were working inside the same premises in close quarters every day to these women to the degree they even moved out of their way regularly, so not some random person you need to walk past in the street.

sudaname Wed 10-Apr-13 15:22:13

Dueling yes true and you personally have a very healthy 'take as you find' attitude to people.
But l don't think it is ever right or intelligent to tarnish everybody with the same brush and these days as wolf whistling etc does seem to be much less prolific l doubt there are many women out there who have only ever met leery harassing type builders.

sudaname Wed 10-Apr-13 15:25:33

Spsfanjo* ooh keep me updated,good luck smile as long as it's not my DH,cos he's not a whistler hmm

LyingWitch l beg to differ having observed this behaviour for weeks at work. It was a large hospital so not a case of people only speaking to colleagues they know, these women definitely didn't ignore anyone else,anaesthetists to photocopier repair man (also contractors) all got acknowledged, it was only the builders that got the nose in the air.

The girl l asked about it, actually stood in the kitchen with me making her lunch and walked out with me as they stepped aside and completely blanked them,no thank you, eye contact, nothing. She definitely wasn't like that in general with males or females which is why l asked her about it.

Also how is enjoying a little banter or a little light relief from the daily grind, the same as being such a precious snowflake you cant get through the day without demanding attention.

Begonia I agree that very possibly is the reason in some cases and the bad name and generalisation has stuck. In other cases l do still think it is a case of looking down on them as lower down the pecking order (and not just because theyre in a ditchhmm).

zukiecat Wed 10-Apr-13 15:28:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WorriedMummy73 Wed 10-Apr-13 15:31:24

When I was 17 I was walking past some scaffolding and a bloke at the very top shouted down 'hello fatty!'. Absolutely crushed me. Had very low self-esteem anyway and yes, was (and am still) overweight. But why would someone do that? What's the mentality?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 10-Apr-13 15:34:09

Sudaname... the girl you refer to might have generally felt awkward around builders perhaps? I don't know. I would have said 'thank you', that's the polite thing to do.

Enjoying banter is quite alright... the only sticking point being that the potential bantering partner might not welcome it. That makes it not ok, doesn't it? I've smiled at builders and other random people in the street because I generally do smile a lot, some smile back and others take it as an invitation to chat, which it wasn't. Those tend to be builders; perhaps because they're 'static' rather than walking off somewhere.

Some builders do attention-seek. I don't know why they do this. It's annoying to me - not to other women, I accept that. Why do they feel the need to engage with women? How come they don't whistle at men? Why can't they just get on with what they're doing and leave others to do the same?

It's the unshakeable 'entitlement' that some seem to have towards getting a response from women that makes them a little bit pathetic, I think.

popebenedictsp45 Wed 10-Apr-13 15:34:23

wolf whistling is different than banter though isn't it? Banter is two sided, both people can take something from a banter-y interaction.

Wolf whistling is one sided, with the aim of intimidating.

DuelingFanjo Wed 10-Apr-13 15:52:41

sudaname - I am pretty sure the thread OP is talking about men who do this kind of thing, not just builders.
Any man who finds it acceptable to holler at women is a bit of a dick IMO and I don't think that's an unusual or unreasonable opinion to have. Builders were only mentioned a few times before you posted.

sudaname Wed 10-Apr-13 16:02:24

Can l just clarify that l absolutely do not agree with any sort of jeering,whistling calling out whatever if its purpose is to insult or hurt someones feelings. Some of the examples above are horrible examples of bullying.

I really still don't get though that wolf whistling (of the usual variety) is aggressive or done with the aim of intimidating.

I do think it is a little dated these days and is dying out and belonged more in the fifties/sixties/seventies when it was normal practice to shout out 'Hello gorgeous' or wolf whistle at a pretty girl/woman and so men who still do it, l think of as a bit old school/behind the times whatever. But l don't think they are being aggressive or trying to intimidate me or the recipient - l wouldn't take it that far personally.

Lyingwitch yes l think she did but because as she explained she thought they would think her speaking to them would be misconstrued as coming onto them - hence the total blank.

Yes l agree banter should be a two way thing with both parties comfortable or cease immediately.

DuelingFanjo Wed 10-Apr-13 16:10:32

I think many women in the 50s/60s/70s still found it a right pain in the arse to be shouted at in the street even if it was nice stuff.
In fact many people didn't/don't think having 'hello gorgeous' yelled at them in the street is a very nice thing to have to put up with.

What do you think about men who shout stuff out at teenage girls in the street? Like a 13 year old walking home from school? is that just a bit of friendly fun?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 10-Apr-13 16:18:26

I think Duelling has made a very good point. I think my judgement is probably very much clouded by the fact that I was leer at, whistle at - and even physically groped - whilst I was a schoolgirl (in uniform). It wasn't harmless, I was scared and now, when I see threads like this, my perception is skewed by the age group that I'm thinking of (young girl) whereas other posters might be thinking of adult women.

Sudaname... I wasn't specifically referring to builders either, apologies if it seemed that way. I think it must have something to do with the fact that builders stay 'on site' and so the 'prey' (sorry for inflammatory word!) comes to them. I don't believe that they mean harm by whistling but that still doesn't remove the fact that some women just don't like it for whatever reason. Because the whistlers have no idea whether this attention is welcome, they run the risk of offending when they do it to the wrong person.

sudaname Wed 10-Apr-13 16:46:48

It's ok *Lyingwitch l didn't take it as a personal attack on builders in particular and l'm only married to one of them and friends with a few - so certainly not blindly sticking up for them all - was just giving my perspective from an 'insider' of that community if you will.

Let's face it, it would be hard to have a debate about rights or wrongs of wolf-whistling without builders coming into it really hmm.

So when they did - that's when l posted in reply Dualling.

DuelingFanjo Wed 10-Apr-13 16:47:51 is cool, may have been posted already?

DuelingFanjo Wed 10-Apr-13 16:49:30
Sparklyboots Wed 10-Apr-13 16:52:45

Well, I might come across as a bit stand-offish because I would usually avoid all eye contact with a big group of men, esp. those that are openly looking at me, because giving eye contact can be read as an invitiation to engage, and to engage specifically in gendered exchanges predicated on sexual availability/ interest/ status. It's fuck all to do with their class or occupation, and everything to do with being openly stared at, living in a culture where trying to appear attractive is used as a justification for sexual harrassment, assault, and rape; and living in a culture where women are held accountable for the way that men behave towards them.

It's especially annoying then, when women harrassed in this way are either blamed for it or accused of being a PITA for not accepting it with good cheer. I find this all very irritating, because I just think it should be my right to appear in public space (on the way to the shops, for example) without that being seen as an invitation to appraise my attractiveness, with on the spot, publicly delivered feedback. Which all just adds a further degree of coldness and stand-offishness to the way I handle it, I bet, because I am silently fuming and my MO in such situations is icy.

But as I've said upthread, it's not really about the target anyway, but about the whistler making a public statement about their sexual status. So again in response to the OP, it seems especially odious that she be picked out for use as a prop for the masculine identity claims of the whistler in her example.

BedHanger Wed 10-Apr-13 23:06:16

Erm, I have no idea if they were builders or not. Two young blokes, one in a white van (which I only clocked after he drew attention to himself) and the other standing outside it.

I have no snobbery around professions. But like SparkleyBoots I very consciously avoid making eye contact with groups of men looking at me, or even single men looking at me. Sadly, experience has shown that many of those choosing to ignore the unwritten social norm that says without some kind of icebreaker we generally don't acknowledge strangers in the street - well, many of those men have harassed me.

BedHanger Wed 10-Apr-13 23:07:49

Sorry, completely mangled your name there Sparklyboots.

MechanicalTheatre Wed 10-Apr-13 23:11:34

Men don't do it because they fancy you.

They do it to intimidate you and make their mates laugh.

I get it constantly and I hate it. It makes my skin crawl. It makes me feel like a piece of meat. It makes me feel like I am not allowed to walk down my own street without being assessed by men.

I once had a man eyeing me up on the street when I was 7/8 months pregnant. Bleugh

Pope I have been wolf whistled by someone my dad worked with before. The guys face was a picture when he realised he had whistled at his bosses daughter. A whistle is nothing to me, it doesn't phase ne. If anything I'm jealous as I cant even whistle grin

Long as they aren't shouting 'get ya tits out' 'get ya rat out' etc it doesn't bother me.

Sparklyboots Thu 11-Apr-13 01:02:52

The guys face was a picture when he realised he had whistled at his bosses daughter which is a clue to how wolf whistling is understood by men - it's not seen as respectful, at the very least...

I'm not sure whether it's helpful to think in this context about whether we, personally feel upset or threatened or not? Rather, it seems more pertinent to consider the social context of the behaviour in order to evaluate whether the OP is reasonable in wishing not to be involved in such situations?

Researchers looking at this behaviour do seem largely to agree that it is usually associated with men performing masculine acts for the benefit of other men. See this for example which includes

^Street harassment occurs because our society has always allowed it and dismissed the behaviour as "men being men", says Hadleigh-West.

"Culturally, men have been indoctrinated into it, and it's been a privilege for them to walk down the street fantasising about women. The culture hasn't checked the behaviour."

Because society has perpetuated this as a cultural norm, men tend to engage in street harassment as a way to prove their masculinity, says Northeastern University associate professor of sociology Kathrin Zippel.

"Often times it's not really about the women, it's just about the men performing masculine acts for each other and establishing a pecking order amongst themselves. What is really going on is the dynamic among men.^

The key here is that it is 'the dynamic among men' which is at play when men wolf-whistle and cat-calling, in which women are props for the performance of masculine identity. Whether I would feel harrassed, or you would, or any individual would or would not feel harrassed is not really salient - because the behaviour itself is not really interested in the feelings of the 'target'. Therefore, I think it's totally reasonable to resent being brought into someone else's bid for masculine identity without consent or consideration; it's reasonable to resent being used as a prop; and that it is irrelevant whether or not other women would 'mind' in the same situation.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 11-Apr-13 02:26:53

Sparklyboots, high five. I think that is a very well-written post and what I tried to say above in a less educated sounding way!

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Thu 11-Apr-13 06:00:39

Oh dear, I realise this sounds terrible, but I totally cringe when I hear women say they get a buzz out of a wolf whistle... Really...? :-/

These threads are always enlightening - the people who get wolf whistles all the time, or frequently, tend to hate them. The people who rarely, if ever get them, are flattered. Which unfortunately says it all, really.

I genuinely cannot see what's flattering about it. I can do better, mate. A lot better. If you think a whistle from a neandethal like you is going to get me blushing and giggling in uncontained glee, you're even more deluded than you are butt fugly.

Of course, this ^^ makes me sound like a total stuck-up bitch. Which I'm utterly not to anyone who doesn't wolf-whistle at me. So, problem solved. smile

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Thu 11-Apr-13 06:02:01

Oh, and fabulous post from Sparklyboots.

rustybusty Thu 11-Apr-13 06:54:05

I get them all the time and I dont mind. I prefer the compliments, and yeah I will admit I will hate it when its the day when people stop saying your pretty, good looking, amazing body etc because it means I am passed it.

I think if you are used to constant compliments from people the idea of losing them is quite scary. I admit it is.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Thu 11-Apr-13 08:03:54

Compliments and wolf whistles are two entirely separate things, though...?

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Apr-13 08:32:45

I wonder, would the people who think it's flattering and don't look forward to the day it stops still be flattered if they were whistled and 'oi, oi'ed at when old and infirm? When they think about their grandmothers do they think they would enjoy it?

Oblomov Thu 11-Apr-13 08:56:00

I like wolf whistling. I don't have a problem with it. I don't think is sleazy or offensive.
I don't think I have ever been wolf whistled at. I might have been , but I don't think so. Dh was shocked at this. But he has rose tinted specs.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Thu 11-Apr-13 10:28:42

Excellent post, Sparklyboots, it does put it all into perspective. I am nobody's prop.

yy to DonDraper's complements and wolf-whistles are two entirely separate things. Occasionally I've had men (and women) sidle up and comment on my perfume, clothes, smile, eyes, whatever. It's a completely different thing when it's personalised and you're not part of knuckle-dragging posturing and public 'appraisal'.

I wonder if the women who 'preen' at the whilstles ever look back and see the whistler making gestures, joking and laughing at the woman? I've seen that, being some distance behind the woman in question. I felt horrible for her and I'm glad she didn't look back.

countrykitten Thu 11-Apr-13 11:53:55

I do wonder at this too - the women who enjoy this kind of attention perhaps do not realise that much of it is macho piss taking. I find it worrying that certain women will use wolf whistles etc as a marker of their own attractiveness - where is your self worth?

Pendeen Thu 11-Apr-13 12:03:35

Most of the larger building firms have strict policies about wolf whistles and other forms of harassment.

Most smaller firms, certainly round here (rural west Cornwall) probably know me or their customers anyway and don't want to risk future work.

I have to visit building sites almost every day and although I have been leered or wolf whistled at, it would only happen once because when they realise I'm the architect and thus carry the client/ employer's authority they very quickly change their attitude.

This is a load if bollocks tbh. No self worth because they don't find offensive in a whistle?

I don't find offense in a whistle or a bit of banter. I have self worth though thanks.

Any excuse to be offended

ICBINEG Thu 11-Apr-13 12:23:41

pendeen that is a fabulous example of how a whistle isn't something to be proud of/ isn't meant as a compliment.

If it was then they would be just as happy to do it once they realise you are a significant person to them. But of course as soon as they realise they owe you some respect they stop immediately.

rustybusty Thu 11-Apr-13 13:48:03

Yeah I think Im talking more of the general complimenting thing that I love the most. I think its a scary prospect that when your really old people wont be doing it all the time. I dislike the thought of that immensely. I know it sounds vain and shallow, but its my honest feeling.

LaQueen Thu 11-Apr-13 14:01:52

At nearly 43, I think I would be surprised...but sufficiently mellow to not give it another thought.

sudaname Thu 11-Apr-13 14:02:23

So have I SPsFanjo in bucketfuls and l am not offended by it. I think the problem on here is that we are now being put into two categories:
Those that are dead against it = women with self respect and those who enjoy it/love it/makes their day etc = women with no self respect.
Well it doesn't upset or offend me but on the other hand l don't measure my worth as a woman by it. It doesn't make my day particularly either. I simply dont mind it, As l said upthread l just laugh it off, roll my eyes or shake my head in mock dismay and walk on.

<stands next to SPfanjo in the no self worth corner>

<Wolf whistles at everyone and shouts 'get ya rat out love'>

What side am I now? grin

Just cant get offended my a whistle. I envy those that can whistle! A whistle or a beep is not offensive to me.

And those that shout 'get ya buts out' make me laugh as I know if I lifted my shirt or skirt they wouldn't know what to do!

I might walk past the builders today shouting 'get ya knob out'. I cant whistle but can shout 'swit swoo'

Meant to say bits not buts but that works grin

LaQueen Thu 11-Apr-13 14:09:05

[goes and stands next to SP and suda]

I just can't rouse myself to feel sufficiently bothered by wolf-whistling, either way. I can't say I've ever had any problems with self worth, either hmm

To amuse myself, I often used to wolf whistle straight back at them - and I can do those truly ear piercing whistles, with 2 fingers in mouth...I think they found that more impressive, than my cuppage/legs/face/whatever.

And, if they were doing in a disrespectful/sneering manner...then so what? Their opinion of me, meant precisely nothing to me whatsoever.

sudaname Thu 11-Apr-13 14:11:38

Where do you live SP ?

< imagines DH coming in tonight and saying 'you'll never guess what?' grin >

I'm in Leeds! If you live here and your DH says I had some short red hair telling me to get my knob out and attempting to whistle, dont worry it was just me grin

I'm off builder objectifying soon I think.

I cant whistle at all so I will have to ask them to teach me then I can walk past whistling at them.

LaQueen That's the sort of whistle I want to learn! It would shit them right up. Watch me do it one day on a site where my dad is or his friends grin

LaQueen Thu 11-Apr-13 14:22:22

It's tricky SP. You kinda curl your tongue back slightly, with your 2 fingers, then whistle loudly through the sides of your tongue...

I can stop traffic with mine smile

MechanicalTheatre Thu 11-Apr-13 14:29:21

I think part of the problem here is that we are discussing stuff on different levels. Some of us are talking about this on a political level, some of us are talking about it on a personal level. Nothing wrong with either, but they are different things.

It may not bother some personally, it may bother others. It may bother others on a political level, but not personally and vice versa.

Like Sparkly said, you are being used as a prop for masculine performance. That may bother you and it may not, but to take it as a compliment is ridiculous.

It's not about being offended at everything. Compliments are nice. If someone comes up to me and says "you have really nice eyes/a beautiful smile/nice shoes" then I really like that. It is nice, it is engaging with me on a human level.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Apr-13 14:31:55

Well, earlier on someone was suggesting that women who don't like it must be lacking in confidence something I don't think is in any way a blanket truth.

I think if you are the kind of person who thinks the whistling stopping when you are old = you are not attractive enough anymore, then you probably do have a skewed opinion about attractiveness and being 'attractive' is disproportionately important to you.

The assumption being that wolf whistling = statement of attractiveness, no wolf whistling = not attractive, old = ugly, ugly = no wolf whistling. Oh poor me, one day I will be old and therefore ugly and no one will whistle at me anymore.

men on the street whistle and cluck and harrass all kinds of women, children, vunerable people. People with disabilities get called out at by some people.

countrykitten Thu 11-Apr-13 14:32:14

I think that if you read back quite a few posters on here have said they like it/it would make their day etc. If these people don't place any vale or worth on what these men are doing then why does it make them so happy?

Because they feel it validates their attractiveness would be my guess. Which I find sad and also probably not even true having read through what other posters have written with regards to male posturing in front of other men.

You may find it harmless 'fun' but many others do not.

countrykitten Thu 11-Apr-13 14:35:11

Value not vale....[hmmm]

countrykitten Thu 11-Apr-13 14:36:00

And again that would be hmm not [hmmm]

Doing well today!

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Apr-13 14:36:51

may I add - because of their disability not because I think they are ugly but because they are vulnerable and the kind of people who yell at people in the street are all about picking on the vulnerable.

rustybusty Thu 11-Apr-13 15:14:47

I think if you are attractive then yes it is easy for attractiveness to become important to you. If you never have been then it never gains any importance to you. I am going more in to the compliments/attention thing though as opposed to wolf whistling. If people have always made a big deal out of what you look like and its always remarked on when you go places then you get almost reliant on it, and the loss of it scares you. It does sound silly and petty but I suppose it makes up a big part of your identity.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Thu 11-Apr-13 15:20:15

Attractiveness is very subjective, rustybusty and, to my mind, some younger women are not at all attractive and some older women are extremely attractive. Having seen women of all ages, shapes and sizes being whistled at, and laughed at (by some), it's really no indicator.

Even if the whistling and cat-calling wouldn't bother me, I certainly would take it as any kind of affirmation that I was attractive. Did you see Sparkling's post that explains what it actually is? I would find it very difficult to read that and continue a belief that to 'lose' that kind of validaton would be in any way a tough thing.

When somebody compliments you, it's such a stark difference.

rustybusty Thu 11-Apr-13 15:25:33

Oh I know older women are attractive my mums nearly 60, and shes gorgeous. She has had a fair few men in their 20s asking her out. I am talking about the fact that it wont always last forever.

Also yeah I think I am going a bit off topic because I was counting getting lots of compliments in with the attention thing, but as others are said they are different.

HungryClocksGoBackFourSeconds Thu 11-Apr-13 15:28:00

Whistles are for dogs, not women. It's quite sad that so many people are saying they would be flattered by being treated like a dog.

OP, you should put this on your local hollaback page

popebenedictsp45 Thu 11-Apr-13 15:40:35

It's also quite sad that a couple of posters have recognised it's disrespectful (eg - SP's builder whistling at her before he realised it was his boss's daughter) and still like it. confused

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Apr-13 15:58:04

what men find attractive isn't always that beautiful to look at. There are lots of young women dolling themselves in a way that they think is attractive when really they are so much more pleasing to look at without all the make-up, hair pieces and so on. I see young women every day who clearly have lost all perspective of what beauty is and I would definitely wonder about their self-esteem.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Apr-13 15:58:27

sorry, some men.

rustybusty Thu 11-Apr-13 16:12:31

I agree dueling if you need hair extensions or layers of make up the then your not genuinely attractive. I agree that look is ridiculous.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 11-Apr-13 16:16:17

Duelling, maybe those girls aren't doing it for men? Maybe they're doing it because that's the look they like/it's fashionable/it's what their friends are doing.

What is "genuinely attractive" anyway? Look at Benedict Cumberbatch. Loads of women fancy him but if he came up to me in a club, I wouldn't give him the time of day.

ICBINEG Thu 11-Apr-13 16:26:02

mechanical they are doing it because of peer pressure from both men and women.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 11-Apr-13 16:31:35

ICBINEG, how on earth do you know that? I mean, how do you know they're doing it any more than anyone else? I have peer pressure to look a certain way because of my job but I don't see anyone looking down their nose at me because the way I dress is "respectable".

Don't get me wrong, I see there are issues with plastering yourself with make-up and wearing heels everywhere, but it doesn't sit easy with me to point the finger and act like all these girls are self-esteem vacuums with no agency.

karonski Thu 11-Apr-13 16:34:48

lighten up! the men working on a construction site outside my office often smile , say hello,'s a_bit_of_fun!! and what's worse than being whistled at?...not being whistled at!

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Thu 11-Apr-13 16:40:05

Did a man tell you that, karonski?

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Apr-13 16:40:15

"but if he came up to me in a club, I wouldn't give him the time of day."

because you only talk to people who are attractive? You would talk to him at least, depending on his approach?

I don't know who he is but so long as he wasn't invading my space and was pleasant to me I would at least give him the time of day!

MechanicalTheatre Thu 11-Apr-13 16:41:07

Oh RIIIIGHT, see I thought I hated being whistled at, but now I see that actually I hate NOT being whistled at.

Sorry all, my mistake.

Thanks karonski !!!!!!!!

MechanicalTheatre Thu 11-Apr-13 16:42:05

Duelling, er, well this is well off topic, but I think it was clear that I meant I didn't find him in any way attractive.

Not that I only talk to people who are attractive...not sure why you'd draw that conclusion.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Apr-13 16:46:04

and.. just to clarify I don't have a problem with heels or make-up. I wear both sometimes.

I guess I am talking about something like the recent story of a woman who had breast implants because she wanted to look like Jordan and be a model. She thought the larger breasts would make that kind of lifestyle and career more likely. I felt, reading the story, that her self-esteem was, frankly, fucked and she didn't even know it. She thought what she was doing was normal and worth doing, with no concept of how she had arrived at a place like that, making decisions like that.

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Apr-13 16:48:24

sorry Mechanical, I thought you were saying that because you found him unattractive you wouldn't give him the time of day. No offence intended.

MechanicalTheatre Thu 11-Apr-13 17:22:57

Duelling, that's one woman though.

I wear make-up and heels too sometimes. Sometimes I pile on a ton of slap. Some days I wear none. Neither says anything about my self-esteem per se.

karonski Thu 11-Apr-13 17:33:43

No, lyingwitchinthewardrobe & mechanicaltheatre...I am quite capable of coming to my own conclusions because I have a brain (which I use) and I also have a sense of humour (which I also use). There's a world of difference between men (or women) using whistles/shouts/leers, etc in order to be threatening and abusive and a bit of fun that makes the world go round. It's important to be able to distinguish between the two. I can assure you that I have been pretty vocal on occasion when men have been inappropriate whether towards me or other women...but I know when something is meant in the spirit of lighthearted fun!

Glad we got that cleared up then.

countrykitten Thu 11-Apr-13 18:08:38

karonski confused

popebenedictsp45 Thu 11-Apr-13 18:24:03

karonski can you please outline the difference between a wolf whistle designed to be threatening and a wolf whistle designed to be fun? Is there some kind of audio guide I could listen to to discover the difference?

MechanicalTheatre Thu 11-Apr-13 18:28:47

would also be interested to hear the difference.

BedHanger Thu 11-Apr-13 18:39:39

I think I'm living proof that wolf whistling isn't a compliment on appearance. Seriously, just over a month post-partum, zero sleep, on my way back from the shops carrying my newborn and with precisely no interest in 'looking good' for anyone. It was all about the bloke showing how incredibly masculine he is hmm.

Thanks for the link mechanical, will check it out.

aufaniae Thu 11-Apr-13 19:01:50

I can't stand wolf-whistling. I got unwanted attention a lot from men in the street, including wolf-whistling, from the age of 13, when I grew boobs. I was 13 FFS!

It says a lot about the typs of men who wolf-whistle that I stopped getting so much attention in the street once I hit my 20s, and then even less so once I started putting on weight.

Now I'm fat on the larger side and old I rarely get that kind of attention and it's a relief IMO.

Fucking slimeballs.

Lilipaddle Thu 11-Apr-13 19:32:58

While at secondary school, we used to walk along a busy road to get to school, and would get about 5-6+ beeps/calls out of vans so on each way most days. The disgusting thing was that as soon as we started 6th form, and were no longer in uniform, it dropped to 1-2 a week max.
Some men really have no morals.

ICBINEG Thu 11-Apr-13 20:00:37

mechanical oh there is no sneering...being subject to and influenced by peer pressure is what living in a society is all about. Some people are more susceptible than others, some people are more aware of the influence of peer pressure than others.

You say that some days you go natural and some days you go full slap, what determines which day it will be? Is it random?

I don't really do make up, but I do have different clothes for different confidence levels on a day to day basis.....

digerd Thu 11-Apr-13 20:10:26

I remember, years ago, when I was a teenager, and from 16-18 was travelling on the tube for an hour. I was touched up, in various ways, one man wanked behind his newspaper<yuck>, was flashed at outside. Chatted up by a man with a handlebar moustache that he kept stroking, etc.
When I got into my 20s it stopped.

School girls only - that's disgusting.

aufaniae Fri 12-Apr-13 10:23:57

digerd, I remember a man quite obviously wanking over my friend on a tube when we were 13. He was standing up. We didn't know how to react, so were giggly (we were behind him, my friend who he was leering over certainly wasn't giggling).

What shocked me then and to this day is that none of the other adults on that busy train said or did anything.

Horrible sad

Pendeen Fri 12-Apr-13 12:16:37

That's terrible aufaniae, truly shocking that someone could do that and yet nobody said or did anything! sad

LimitedEditionLady Fri 12-Apr-13 19:55:14

I can see why some ladies will like to be wolf whistled at but I personally hate being wolf whistled at, particularly when I am on my own and it's a big group of men because I feel really uncomfortable that these idiots are staring at me and judging me on appearance. It actually makes me really mad. Fair enough if someone likes how I look that's great, fantastic but I don't particularly want to know! It's even worse when men do it in front of ladies partners, now that is just plain rude!

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