Anoushka Radhakrishnan has been writing ever since she was ten years old and presently performs at various Slam Poetry events in New Delhi. She writes about feminism and mental health. She would love to publish her own book one day !
The Difference Between A Compliment And A Catcall
By Anoushka Radhakrishnan
I don’t wear dresses anymore. I don’t wear dresses because dresses have consequences. I’m fifteen and I’m walking on the sidewalk next to my school, I am wearing my school uniform You’re twenty eight and driving a bike I wonder what you think before you cat call.
Do you think I’m a cos player? Pretending to be underage? Or do you think this is a porno? Do you think I am walking in front of you deliberately? Hoping you’ll notice my undefined body?
‘He’s just offering a compliment, learn to accept it.’ A compliment? A compliment is ‘Hi, you look nice.’ ‘You’re such a kind person’ ‘I really like your smile.’ not ‘Hey, sexy! Wanna come with me?’ Haha, get the joke? because clearly, he did too.
It’s a compliment? Is that what your mom told you when you were catcalled? Is that what her mom told her when she was catcalled? That it is just somebody appreciating your femininity, no. He does not appreciate your beauty and he doesn’t see you as a woman but as a toy. a mannequin. a doll.
You are not a doll, You are a human being. You were born in this world to live Not to feel uncomfortable by someone else’s doings and then be told you are not uncomfortable, a compliment does not make you feel uncomfortable, a catcall does. It wasn’t a compliment then and it isn’t a compliment now.
I’m fifteen. I want to go home happy and content. I want to go to a party happy and content. I want to be happy and content. A compliment makes you feel happy and content a catcall makes you feel disgusted and dirty and unsafe and not human.
I am fifteen and I am wearing my school uniform, and I do not appreciate you raking your eyes up and down my body like it is a joyride, a carnival. no, my body is not a roller-coaster, my body is not candy, my body is not yours to enjoy.
I’m fifteen, I’m twenty, I’m thirty, I’m forty, and I know the difference between a compliment and a catcall because I know the difference between a person who respects me and a person who wants to drug me.
I know the difference between a compliment and a catcall like I know the difference between my home and that god damn sidewalk. I know the difference between a compliment and a catcall because I know the difference between feeling good and feeling dirty.
I know the difference between a compliment and a catcall just like I know the difference between consented sex and rape. I know the difference between a compliment and a catcall because there’s only one that considers my consent.
I know the difference between a compliment and a catcall because both flatter me yet there’s only one I want to accept.