Yes, this is more a female issue, but guys, I’d like your opinion, too.
I’m betting there’s not a female runner out there who hasn’t been whistled at, stared at, or otherwise given uninvited attention at some point while out on a run. And from what I hear around the blogosphere, this is often not welcome attention. Some find it offensive. Or harassing. Just curious–what is your reaction when this happens?
To me, it’s not that big of a deal. In fact, I’ll go so far as to admit that at 46, if I get a whistle while out there, it kind of makes me chuckle. If they were only a bit closer and could see my well earned wrinkles and know that I’m probably old enough to be their mom, they might change their tune. I’ve never been in a situation where I found it threatening, frightening, or even just offensive. Does it make me want to go over and meet the guys behind it? Of course not. But I’m never angry when it happens. Heck, when it stops, my self esteem might even take a hit. ; )
I truly don’t think this unsolicited attention is ever meant to frighten women or to demean them. (And I consider myself a bit of a feminist). Frankly, I think in most cases it’s guys who are bored and looking for a little diversion. If they get a rise out of their target, or at the other end of the spectrum, a smile, then mission accomplished and back to work. Harmless, I think.
I just asked Mr. Zippy his opinion, however, and he thinks it’s actually a really rude gesture by males. He thinks it is demeaning to women and that men mean nothing good by it. Hmm. Since he’s male, maybe he knows better than I do. Maybe I am naive.
Enlighten me–how do you feel when you get this uninvited attention? How do you handle it? Guys–from your standpoint, what are we to make of cat calls and whistles?