Anybody who says that the reason they catcall women on the street is as a way to compliment them is completely 100 percent full of shit. No man who actually wants to make a woman feel good about themselves will honk at them while they drive by or whistle at them while they walk by. That is in no way a compliment, AT ALL.
Saying "NICE ASS" or "HEY BABY" or pretty much anything else does not ever make any of us feel good about ourselves. I've never been catcalled and thought, "Wow, that was really sweet of him to say." Catcalling is not about complimenting, it's about objectifying and asserting dominance over women. It's about control. It's about making us seem and feel helpless, like we are completely below men and can do nothing to change it in that moment. It doesn't matter what the nature of the actual comment is. It could be something as seemingly harmless as "Hey there" but it doesn't matter. It's the tone of their voice, the thoughts you can only guess are in their head, the look they give you, and the fear it strikes in you. No man catcalls a woman with good intentions. It's never to compliment them, it's only to objectify them. The actual words don't matter, it's what they really mean that comes through.
People don't seem to understand that being catcalled while walking down the street is not something women want. Being catcalled and having complete strangers look at me and think of me as a piece of meat and undress me in their heads is not only disgusting and unwanted, but it's terrifying. When a man walks by me and says something, it not only grosses me out, but it makes me really worry that they'll say something else or do something else. Everything about it has made women fearful of being out alone, or even in pairs or groups. We are constantly keeping our phones ready in case of an emergency, keeping our keys between our fingers, and walking as quickly as possible. It's nearly impossible to feel safe being out alone, no matter where I am.
The fact that women genuinely fear for their safety and sometimes even their lives just from being out in the world is absolutely disgusting. Men who catcall women have absolutely no respect and are disgusting human beings. There is nothing funny about it, there's nothing nice about it, it's just disrespectful and gross. Most girls I know will ignore comments, but I tend to snap back at them just out of habit and instinct and that terrifies me because one thing I say could set someone off and who knows what could happen. I'm small and weak and as much as I like to think I can defend myself and take care of myself if need be, I probably couldn't. I could easily be overpowered and it's ridiculous that I should ever have to be afraid to find myself in a situation like that.
Women should not have to take this harassment every day and be expected to be okay with it. It's not only scary as hell, but it's damaging. When a man on the street says to me "OOh you could get it!" I'm far from flattered and I feel completely unsafe. Men like this are taking away women's peace of mind and our ability to feel safe. They should never have that sort of power, but they do and it's wrong.