Catcalling is NOT a compliment

When I was still a student at Chancellor College, my hostel then was in Chikanda. Behind our hostel was a shop where guys (mostly Chancellor College students) usually met to socialize; sometimes smoke and drink cheap booze. When the guys sat there, I was terrified of going anywhere near the shop. They would stare. I mean, they would STARE. And you actually knew they were talking about you behind your back. Sometimes even in your face. And it made us girls feel powerless. There was nothing we could do.

Once, a guy called me, “eeeh, iwe! Ndufuna phone number yako!” (I want your phone number!). I said no. He asked me more questions, like “why not?” I didn’t respond. I kept walking. The catcaller went on to insult me… From my legs right up to my head, till I entered the gate to the hostel. It was so demeaning. There were loads of people passing by, and there was silence as the guy went on to embarass me, on top of his voice. Why? Because I didn’t give him my number.

A certain day, I was having a chat with someone and somehow, we ended up on the topic of catcalling. I told them that I’m catcalled every time I go in town, especially when I go into the market. They were so shocked. They couldn’t believe that was something I go through almost everyday. They asked, “even with the long dresses you wear?”
“Yes, even with the long dresses I wear,” I said.

Catcalling is NOT a compliment. Don’t tell us we should learn how to “take a compliment”. It’s embarrassing, and all it does is terrify us. It usually has nothing to do with what a girl is wearing. I’m sure people who know me know my skirts and dresses sweep the ground. But still, a random man in the market (who I’m sure has a wife and kids at home) will try to hit on me, and when I don’t respond, he will go on to use as many profane words as he can, to show his discontentment.

My dear friends, many of you have baby boys. Congratulations. They are handsome babies. Do us a favour, please. Teach them that NO means NO. Teach them to respect everyone. Tell them not to harass girls. Tell them to have self-control. Imagine raising a boy who ends up insulting women when they don’t get their way? Tragic. And you guys can do better than spending your time catcalling girls. Fix up!
#NoMeansNo #RespectUs #RespectYourself

Posted in Random Ramblings and tagged , .


  1. Well said my dear. A man that can’t come to knock on your door and ask your parents for permission to take you out is a coward and not man enough!

  2. This issue needs to be disseminated. In a culture where women have to “pilira” adjust to harrasment and other unspeakable behaviours, we have a long way to go. It starts at a young age, with the cat calls and graduates in to general disrespect for the women. I hope men will learn to ease up on such behaviours and perhaps, stop altogether. Men need to man up, and analyse the way they portray their compliments, if they are compliments at all.

    • Well said, Blessings. It’s about the socialization and a lot to do with huge egos. Naaaah. Catcalling is far from complementing, but more to do with power.
      Thank you for your comment.

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