Wednesday 22 May 2019

If anyone wants to wolf whistle at me next time they see me - feel free!

Justine O'Mahony

I normally try and steer clear of anything controversial or political in this column. That's not what I'm about. I'm paid to give a light hearted account of my largely boring day to day life. Occasionally something will come up that I'll feel compelled to comment on but most of the time I talk about laundry, teenagers, my husband's annoying habits and which gin will give you the least hangover.

But it's been one of those weeks when I saw something on Instagram and try as I might to keep my mouth shut, I really want to comment. So this lady, attractive, blonde in her 30's, very stylish, posted a picture of herself on Instagram one day last week saying as she was walking down a busy London Street she'd been wolf whistled at several times and found it extremely traumatic. In fact I think she described it as harassment and abusive.

My first reaction was, 'I wish someone would be bloody wolf whistle at me!' God be with the days. My second thought was, 'that girl needs to get a grip.' Maybe unfairly, I decided she was self absorbed, overly sensitive and needed to stop taking herself too seriously.

In my mind, wolf whistling is not offensive, nor is it harassment. It's a bit of light hearted banter, conducted by men who can't think of any other way of showing their appreciation of a woman's good looks other than whistling at them. Sure it's not sophisticated or classy. In fact it's probably a little bit childish but there is no harm meant. This woman said she felt attacked, vulnerable and scared. I'm all for the Sisterhood but really?? She's obviously led a very sheltered life.

I showed my 16 year old son the post. He said he would never whistle at anyone because he'd be too embarrassed but certainly didn't think it was harassment, just a few lads having a laugh and admiring someone from afar. He asked me was I a feminist.

I had to think hard before I answered because I don't think I'm everyone's version of a feminist and I certainly don't think that lady would think I was a feminist because I didn't back her up. I didn't back her up because I thought she was being silly.

I believe in building women up, not tearing them down. I believe in being honest and fair. I think men are better at some things, women at others. I don't think women can do everything men can nor vice versa. I will not defend a woman because she's a woman but I will if I feel she's being treated badly or because I believe in what she says.

We can't expect to be treated equally and then run home crying because someone whistled at us! It's a bit like having your cake and eating it!

I would rather be a good person that a great feminist if it comes down to the line. And if anyone wants to wolf whistle at me next time they see me...feel free!

Gorey Guardian