Cat-calling. Unfortunately, it’s a part of everyday life for most women in America and I am no different. I went to school this Halloween dressed as a cat, and I looked adorable if I do say so myself. I had on a fuzzy black sweater with black leggings, black platforms, a multicolored scarf and a red & black bomber jacket (ca-yoot). A few hours after being in school, I went outside to get some fresh air. I was walking around a corner when all of a sudden I heard “Oh! Nice bum!” A few thoughts came to me at that moment such as, “Ha, that has to be someone I know because who would DARE SPEAK TO THE MIGHTY GIANNA IN SUCH A MANNER?” “Did I hear that right? Did that even happen?”Also, in a weird way, “Thank you, because I’ve definitely been putting in work at the gym”.
I said all of that to tell you that when I was younger and stuff like this would happen to me, I would instantly get this very sick feeling in my stomach. All I wanted to do was hide, run away and make myself smaller so no one would notice me. But that day that something was different. That time, that crude comment didn’t bother me at all. It didn’t make me feel like I had to hide or that I needed to be ashamed of my body. It didn’t even make me angry. In fact, I felt sorry for that person for being so out of touch with reality to think that this was an okay thing to shout at someone else.
I realized something at that moment. When we become truly confident in who we are, it truly does not matter what other people have to say. I spent the majority of my pre-teen and teen years being ashamed of having a women’s body. I didn’t like that I went from being a kid to a sexual object for other people to ogle at. It made me feel dirty and ashamed. Thankfully my mother helped me to move past that. She taught me that a woman has to own her sexuality. That every woman must define for herself what her sexuality means to her because if not, the world will do it for her. More often than not, the world will try and make her sexuality into a shameful thing when it is anything but that. It took me a while to get to that place of feeling like my sexuality was all mine, but now that I’m here there is no turning back.
At that moment when that man yelled at me, I realized that I don’t give a flying f*&$ what some dummy in a car has to say about my body, good or bad. A man’s crappy behavior does not reflect on me in any way and I refuse to let it ruin my day or make me feel less than. Men need to do better, there is no doubt about that! There is no excuse for behavior like that and it needs to stop. At the same time though, I think we as women can do a lot of good for ourselves by refusing to let a man’s behavior dictate how we feel about ourselves. I could have just as easily let that experience made me want to cover myself up and run back inside, but I held my ground instead.
I felt great about my outfit and I felt super comfortable in my space before it happened and I wasn’t going to let anyone take that from me. Why should I feel bad about myself because someone else doesn’t know how to act? I continued to walk around that corner and let myself feel empowered by how strong I have become and how truly confident I am with myself. Reflecting on it now, I see that this encounter was a blessing. I may have never known how far I’ve come if it weren’t for that man and his unnecessary comment. To that dude, I say thank you.
And to all my ladies out there who get cat-called and feel ashamed and scared because of it, trust me I understand. But know this, you should never apologize for taking up space. Letting a man (or woman) dictate how you feel about yourself is another way of apologizing for who you are. No one else can decide for you how you feel about yourself. That includes cat-callers. Honestly, I think a lot of them get a kick out of it if they think they’ve upset you. So how great is it then when it’s obvious that you’re not bothered?
Change comes when we change how we view ourselves. Men have a lot of work to do, and ladies we can help them by owning our feminine power. When we embrace our divine femininity, the divine masculine energy, that respects women fully, will come out too.
P.S. My school is on a very busy street and at the time I was walking, there had to be 50-80 other cars that also passed by, many of which were driven by men. Somehow, all of those men managed to behave with dignity and self-respect as I passed. Only one wanted to behave as if we were still in the Dark Ages. A few weeks later, as you know a record number of women were elected to Congress and other influential offices in the mid-term elections. People, the tides are changing in our favor. Be empowered and continue to live your beautiful life and encourage others to do the same.
Strut yo’ stuff and stay fabulous!