If you are a man reading this you may question why being honked at by men in a van even matters – you might even think that the person being honked at should just move on with their day as it is not a big deal. Women reading this can probably think back to a time they have been honked at or catcalled and recall how vulnerable it makes you feel.

But why write this now? Well the other day I was honked at by three men in a van. I was actually walking home from a Label Committee meeting, and was really excited about our upcoming print magazine. But my happy feminist fantasy bubble was popped.

Such a simple act of honking a horn – and yet it is so degrading.

It is more thank a honk, or a catcall. It is the fear and nakedness that overcomes you. It is in no way funny, or cool – and no your friends are not impressed by your ‘bravery’. In fact there must be something biologically wrong with you if you cannot resist from honking or shouting at a stranger. Are some men regressing in evolution back to being apes who thump their chest and whoop with excitement?

Ten months on from Greta Gerwing’s ‘Barbie’ and I had hoped that most men understood the impact of their ignorant behaviour. It was a summer full of female empowerment, and more men finally starting to grasp what we have been so passionately fighting for.  

 We should not feel uncomfortable, apprehensive, or frightened to walk somewhere whether it be alone or in a group of friends. Men like this claim to love women, and yet display an unfathomable amount of disrespect towards those same women.

A member of AU Boxing described how being catcalled (either sexually or racially) creates a wave of nothingness, she detailed “I could be having a really good day and feel really happy, then after I just feel like – oh.”

Whilst another Loughborough student, and ultramarathon runner, expressed the impact this behaviour has on her “most of the time you are by yourself, and even if you are confident you an handle it on your own, it reminds you that there are people who might see that as an opportunity.

“For me it is mostly when I am out running (in a top and baggy shorts) and some people still seem it okay to blast their horn or shout out of the window.

“And the solution is always against the woman, not the man: ‘cover up more’ and ‘go out in groups’ instead of ‘make catcalling a criminal offence’.

“It still feels like people think it’s acceptable to harass women as they pass by just because it’s harmless.”

But most women will unfortunately be used to this behaviour. There is only so much ‘girls support girls’ we can do – we need boys need to support girls too.

Accountability should be thrust upon those who deem this behaviour acceptable. If you see someone catcalling or honking at anyone, a simple “come on mate” usually does the trick to shower them in shame. If it doesn’t then it is your responsibility to call them out and educate them – this is not just the responsibility of women.


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