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Insult or Flattery?

This morning as I rose from refilling a slow leaking tire with air, someone whistled at me.

I turned around and with a snarl, looked to see who dared do such a thing.

The guy getting out of his work truck was wearing a dirty T shirt, had a pot belly, and a ZZ Top length beard, disheveled, and gray.

After a 3 second glare, I walked around my car to the driver side, got in, and headed towards work.

My snarled reaction got me thinking. Should I feel insulted or should I feel flattered?

I contemplated my age (I'm in my early 40's). Was this whistle a tribute to my regular exercise, style, grooming, and visits to the hair stylist?

Or was it simply an unclassed cat call, from a socially ignorant man voicing his obvious objectification and disrespect?

As a strong feminist, I lean towards the call as an insult and a vocal tactic used to show our lack of inequality. While, I don't mind someone taking a look quietly...EVERYONE (including myself) does this. Every person has seen what they believe is a person that illustrates their version of beauty, pauses, and takes in the sight for a passing moment. Then they move on about their day. Most people have learned from external pressures such as their mother, father, chuch, or school, that it is generally rude and unacceptable to whistle at a woman.

But when in our culture, this behavior is more posturing and separation. The whistling behavior is more common in certain situations, such as a construction site or a plant site where fewer women are employeed. The whistling is almost like saying, "Hey, you over there. You're rare here. Remember that. Be uncomfortable here. We don't really want you except as eye candy." Generally, it's only done in groups, where one individual is doing so to receive laughter and acceptance from his peers, using the female as the mechanism or object underwhich the acceptance is received. I honestly bet it happens in groups because if done alone, I bet they are quickly reminded how rude it is. But it's easy to ignore the inner conscious when amongst a group of peers. What I heard this morning reminds me that women are far too often seen and treated as objects. It reminds me of the violence we are far too often endure, it reminds me of the inequality at work when we're easily dismissed or overlooked because simply because of our sex.

That little whistle. Yes, it does all that.

But as I sat in my car in front of my office, in my 40's, I couldn't help but admit that it was simply NICE to know that I STILL have it. If only for a moment, I could forget the rest.

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