Show and Tell

First of all, I’m
Sorry for skipping two days of entries. It’s
Been a pretty hectic few days.

Originally, I had only
Planned to write
Three (3) parts of my
Banaue — Buscalan — Baguio adventure,
But there are
Two extra topics on which I’ve thought to write.
So, here is

Part IV,
On modesty and
Feminism.

As part of my review on GalaPH (Part II, which you can read here),
I mentioned that our driver, Kuya Atoy,
Had a penchant for
Honking his horn at “cute” girls / women—mind you, he
Didn’t “discriminate” based on age—and
Waving at them from behind the wheel (and windshield).
In a way, this is similar to
Catcalling, just not with one’s voice / whistle.

Let’s start with this question:

Is catcalling bad?

According to the Apple dictionary,

“Bad” is defined as

“Not appropriate in a particular situation”,

“Unpleasant or unwelcome”, or

“(Of something causing pain, danger, or other unwelcome consequences) severe or serious”.

The common contention against catcalling is that
It makes people, particularly the one to whom it is directed, feel
Uncomfortable. It is
NOT a form of flattery; rather, it is a form of
Objectification, that the person to whom it is directed serves as merely
A means of visual pleasure for the one who catcalls.

At its worst, it can be
The prelude to more serious violations, such as

Harassment,

Molestation, or

Rape.

Yet, there are those who might argue
That it may prelude nothing, that
Catcalling in itself is not bad, and that
Doing so does not necessarily mean a person would
Rape the other.

Further, there are those who argue
That they would not catcall
If there was no reason to catcall. In short,
That it is the fault of the
Victim—because how else can you call them anything but such?—
That they are catcalled.

On a broader scale, I can compare
Catcalling with
Cursing (someone out).

While it’s possible that the receiver
Did something deserving of reproach, yet this
Does not give anyone the right to curse them out.
Further, there have been stories
Of people who cannot
Control their anger, and after such cursing,
Murder the receiver of their anger.

So, in short, cursing someone out:

Makes the receiver uncomfortable: check.

Is possibly a prelude to further violence: check.

Is thought to be the fault of the victim: check.

Is it bad though?

I think so.

Now, a slight digression:

If you had read Part I of my Banaue — Buscalan — Baguio adventures,
You’d have seen where exactly I had my tattoo done:
On my back.
Of course, for Apo Whang Od to tattoo me there, I had
To lift my shirt, to at least show my stomach / back.

Before, I used to be
Very self-conscious about showing my stomach,
Especially now that I have a scar running from above my belly button to the line of my pelvis; but,
Belly dancing back in college really helped me
Accept my body and
Be more self-confident.

The result is that, it was not a matter for me
To lift my shirt to show my belly.
But,
It was apparently a bit of a matter for Apo Whang Od.
In fact,
I was told to make sure

That my pants didn’t ride too low,

That if I was in a skirt, etc., I told Apo that I had cycling shorts underneath,

That my stomach should be covered, after Apo finished tattooing me.

Considering that, as I was reading the book on Kalinga Tribal Art, there were
Pictures of topless native women—
Not really unusual for most olden tribes—
I found it interesting that there seemed to be
The significance of modesty
In covering up the stomach downwards (perhaps with
Relation to childbirth and pregnancy?).

This reminds me of
A quote I recently came across on Facebook:

“Nudity empowers some. Modesty empowers some. Different things empower different women and [it’s] not your place to tell her which one it is.”

I found this most interesting—and
I do agree:

For some, they are confident in their modesty.

For some, nudity is a badge of bravery.

The important thing is
To respect each person and their choices,
And frankly,
Catcalling is

Not a sign of respect,

Never appropriate,

Unpleasant and unwelcome, and

Possibly severe and serious.

At least, I think so.

What do you think?

P.S. I’m very open to discussion on catcalling and modesty, and feminism. I simply request that we keep the discussion respectful and polite, whether you choose to agree or disagree. I look forward to hearing your opinions on the matter, through your comments below. 🙂

*Notes:

  1. Part III of my Banaue — Buscalan — Baguio chronicles, on the size and weight of a bag when packing, can be read here.
  2. Part V, on traveling solo, is now up over here.
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