Wait, wait, wait. So, let me correct that title a little before we get started, okay? I've compiled a list of ways to shut down cat callers that every woman needs to know – period. No qualifiers. Because, see, it's not just a problem that “cute” women face, so that's problematic – I'm sorry about that. Women get harassed on the street through no fault of their own – girls, too, young girls, teens, young women. It happens to all of us. All of us. And it's scary. Every time there's an article on this subject, you see a lot of comments about how we should learn to take a compliment, and we're over-exaggerating when we say it's scary or threatening, and we're outright lying when we try to talk about how often it happens. Catcalling isn't complimentary, though. That's not a compliment. There's also the fact that if we ignore catcallers, they continue to be abusive … and if we say something back, they continue to be abusive. So if you're a woman, you need these techniques to shut down catcallers – and it doesn't matter if you're cute or not.
1 Totally Gross Them out
Oh, I am totally serious. Be disgusting. Pick your nose. Make allusions to the rash that just won't clear up. Talk about your yeast infection. Basically, respond to repugnant behavior with repugnant behavior.
2 Be like Barbie
I love this! Bye, Ken!
3 Drop Some Knowledge
I'm not even going to try to say that this will always make a difference, but if you drop some knowledge on a cat caller, maybe it'll give him something to think about. Maybe you'll be the last girl he harasses.
4 Share Some Real Talk
This, though? This can work. Invoking the memory of other women in their lives can give them pause, at the very least. This is why I praise girls who respond to male harassment online by sending screenshots to their mothers.
5 Smile Pretty for Them
Has anyone ever told you to smile? What's with the sour puss, sweetheart? You'd be so much prettier if you smiled! So … smile for them. Just like this.
6 Or Just Give Them Your Own Special Look
You know the look. Every woman has her own. Look at him like he is a fool spouting foolish things who also smells bad.
7 Play the Period Card
I say that not because there is anything gross or wrong about menstruation, but because alluding to your period in any way reminds the catcaller that you're a person, a woman, and not just a potential sex toy.
8 Act like They Don't Even Exist
I know, ignoring catcallers doesn't always work. Sometimes, it results in even worse behavior. That's the messed up part – you can't win if you engage and you can't win if you ignore. Sometimes you have to choose the lesser of two evils.
9 Tell Them How Creepy They Are
Seriously. Just flat out tell your catcaller that he's a Creepy McCreeperson. Let him know that what he's doing does not arouse you or attract you in the slightest, it just creeps you out.
10 “Compliment” Him in Return
Oh, you like my ass? I like the shape of your head. It's so shapely, it's hard to believe that someone obviously dropped you on it when you were a child.
11 Ask Them a Simple Question
For real. Why do you feel that way, sir? Don't worry. I'll wait.
12 Diffuse the Situation with Mockery
You can mock a catcaller without ever saying anything obviously challenging. Plus, again, reminding him of the other women in his life – especially his mother – can sometimes make him think. Sometimes.
13 Let Them Know the Deal
Just for the sake of honesty, they ought to know the real score. You're not interested because you know you deserve better than some asshat shouting at you in the street.
14 Pull out Your Phone and Start Recording
Document everything. Let him see you documenting everything. You can even give him your Insta tag and tell him to check out your video. Peace, boy.
15 Go Feminist on His Ass
Don't be afraid to call out this behavior as harassment. The funny thing is how few men see this behavior as harassment.
16 If You See Something, Say Something
I mean this in the obvious way, in that if you see someone else getting harassed, say something. I also mean that if you're getting ogled or trailed by a guy or a group of guys, say something first. Beat them to the punch. School them, drop an insult, kill them with kindness, or wither them with proof of your utter lack of interest.
17 Get Physical if You Have to
If it goes being catcalling and some man lays his hands on you, push him off. Yell. Make a scene. Get him out of your space and out of your face.
Also, stand up for your sisters. If you see other women getting catcalled, followed, or otherwise harassed, stand up, step up, say something, offer support and assistance. We need to have each other's backs.