A Wolf-Whistle: Harassment Or Homage?

“There is only one thing worse than being wolf-whistled at and that is not being wolf-whistled at…”

– Oscar Wilde.

I recently noticed a case in the media where an 18-year old girl, after a month of being persistently cat-called and wolf-whistled at on her way to work, decided to make a formal allegation to the local Police of extreme harassment.

Such a decision evokes divisive responses in people. Some would view it as an extreme act, others (like me) would say that a far more effective route of resolution would be to grass them up to their bosses; especially as most building firms are always assuring us of their commitment to courtesy and decent manners towards the public. And, when considering that reported rapes increased by 29 per cent in England and Wales last year, surely the police have more important things to do than waste their time and our money on tracking down a man who says: ‘Morning love, you look pretty today’. To condemn this as the very essence of sexual harassment is, frankly, downright puerile.

Wolves have a reputation as dangerous, predatory creatures. That’s why the very term ‘wolf-whistling’ can imply an act of aggression: a man preying on a defenceless woman. But the positive flipside of this is that it’s a misleading expression for an act that is, on the whole, innocently, even generously meant. It’s not a classy way of expression, especially when some men’s idea of foreplay is: ‘Are you awake?’, but it does indicate to the recipient that she’s still feminine and desirable.

But could she not have simply realised that a big smile whilst walking on by was the perfect way to disarm the situation. Or, to simply ignore what she obviously viewed as loutish and uncouth behaviour. And let’s not pretend women don’t like to ogle men. The words: “Hey girls, Diet Coke break…” has, for years, featured groups of simpering and sniggering femmes admiring the local beefcake  as he opens a can, spraying himself suggestively with the drink. Ooh ‘ere, missus…

And what about us blokes? It takes a lot of bottle to wolf-whistle. Even if you did, what if the stunningly beautiful object of your desires glanced back at you, examined you and then gave you a long, derisive bollock-shrivelling look, how could you survive? It would be a fate no man could endure, especially whilst suffering the ensuing piss-taking levelled at you by your workmates. That would put you in your place, wouldn’t it? Where the wolf whistle is designed to intimidate, then by all means let’s censure it. But it’s no more threatening, in most circumstances, than a group of women having a dirty cackle when a fit bloke passes by.

Right now, you feminists will be crimson with rage, shrieking “sexist pig” and other dubious compliments at me. Not so. Just a realist. But if you had a shred of common sense within you, Rosie the Radical, you would realise that it’s simply a man appreciating a woman; complimenting her on her beauty. It’s the way of the world, and no damage is done. Also, my radical chums, how many women clock the look of a bloke’s bum in his tight jeans, whilst admiring his ripped physique, and enjoying a cheeky smile?

We have become so politically correct; we can’t do anything spontaneous, or have a laugh anymore. Teachers can’t touch schoolchildren, nursery workers are not allowed to apply sunscreen, and now, men who wolf-whistle are the devils’ spawn and should be publicly horsewhipped.

Truthfully, most people-even we fick blokes are basically good people and I don’t think this male/female divide does us any favours at all. Yes, we all are aware of our differences, but why can’t we appreciate such differences, and not let the radical Hairy Mary feminist/all girls in this together crones darken our enjoyment of life.

My honest, objective and common-sense response to you, Miss Outraged 18-year old, is to lighten up.

– Believe me; life will throw you far worse challenges than a wolf-whistle…


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