I’m sure that every woman reading this blog had been catcalled at least once in her life. So to you my sisters, I say I’m sorry. I’m sorry that this has been normalized. I’m sorry that this is something we still have to address. And most importantly, I’m sorry that this abuse has come at the hands of those who are called to emulate Christ in your lives. This blog is written for you.
This week I will pinpoint two reasons why catcalling is sex negative and how we can get to the root of the problem. And no, this is not in the vein of Gillette’s “toxic masculinity” ad. I love the men in my life and understand that not all men engage in this kind of behavior.
This post simply seeks to show the damage that catcalling causes and the how we can mend this bad habit.
I pray that this blog proves helpful for you.
1.) Catcalling turn’s women into things.
When a woman is cat called, she is seen for her body and not for her whole person. This is the first error of catcalling; physical attraction is separated from the value of the woman.
Really, what we’re seeing here is sensuality; meaning an attraction to someone’s body. Don’t get me wrong, physical attraction is not a bad thing – it can lead to true love! This is a point that was made clear by Pope John Paul II. But when the only thing present is physical attraction, the attraction is a superficial one.
JPII says “by itself sensuality is completely blind to the person and oriented only toward the sexual value linked to the body”. In simple terms; the victim of catcalling is used for their beauty. The catcaller remains focused on the physical and the pleasure they experience from looking at it.
2.) Catcalling affirms the lie that the body is more important than the soul.
The sensuality we see in cat calling stems from the higher level of importance given to the body than to the soul. Because our culture has lost a sense of the supernatural, the physical is what dominates.
If catcalling were in fact a sign of an integrated attraction (meaning attraction to body, mind and soul) then things like acts of kindness and acts of self-sacrifice would be cat called as well. We would hear things like: “I see you serving the poor, you go girl!” or “Such a beautiful lady, look at how she gave up her seat for that old lady!” But as you know very well, this is far from the reality of what catcalling looks like.
Digging deep and looking for the abstract is many times too difficult and time consuming for our world, because we have grown accustomed to instant gratification. This is why grasping for what’s carnal is many times our default mode. When there’s hunger, there’s grub hub. When there’s boredom, there’s Netflix. And when there’s loneliness, there’s porn.
3.) What’s at the heart of catcalling?
At the heart of this regrettable practice is contraception. As prophesied by Humanae Vitae in 1968; “…a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.” Wow. Is this not what we are witnessing today? Because contraceptives separate sex from babies, pleasure has become the goal of romance rather than authentic love.
We now see that our Holy Mother Church said these things to protect us. Her words were disregarded when they first hit newsstands in the 60’s; let us not make the same mistake now. Let’s take these words to heart and meditate on the ways our contraceptive culture has dismembered our ability to love well.
Let’s end the contraceptive mindset and attack all its poisonous effects head on. Be bold, be holy and remember that you were made to be loved for everything that you are; you mind, your body, your soul and everything else that comes along with it.
God Bless you.
St. Pope Paul VI, pray for us!
To learn about God’s plan for love and attraction check out the Sisterhood’s website here.