Some people are questioning the appropriateness of the ad, given the national spotlight on sexual harassment stemming from the bombshell allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. People branded the ad as "sexist," "clueless," and "tone-deaf" on social media. "Perhaps now is not the best moment to run an ad about how cool and sexy catcalling is?" Jessica Valenti wrote on Twitter in response to the ad.
“Catcalling” is exasperating and humiliating, but something to be lived with if you’re female and you go outside a lot. Racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia often get mixed into the cocktail of abusive comments, too, and as Noa Jansma’s @dearcatcallers project showed, they come from all ages and all classes. We recipients live with it, because of course we do. There is far worse than words for us to live through out there – #MeToo can show you a sample (only from women of certain economic backgrounds lucky enough to have an internet connection of course). Yet, strangely, a peaceful acceptance of street harassment as “only words” is something I’m yet to feel.
Talking to women is not harassment. Talking to the opposite sex is a necessary part of societal living which can be an enriching experience on both sides. On the whole, women like being talked to by guys. The vast majority of us do not hate men and do not want to live in a world where they are scared to approach us, to befriend us, to want to be part of our lives. But that doesn’t mean that we’re ok with low-level sexual harassment on a daily basis.