When being told you’re a “10” isn’t a compliment


The Appalachian Online

Frances Costello

Sunday, Aug. 16 marked the Fall 2015 Club Expo, where first year students can explore and sign up for the many organizations ASU has to offer and then drop them after the introductory meeting with free pizza.

I, being the lucky club president that I am, was required to arrive early and set up before the masses shuffled in from the rain.

While trudging down from the Hill Street parking lot, I encountered a disturbing situation. Several Vineyard Vines enthusiasts were perched on their front porch, reclining in their beach chairs and holding up cardboard signs as their fraternity’s flag proudly swayed above them.

As I got closer, I saw that these signs had numbers and I then began to hear sub-par cat calls. These young men were rating female passerbys from one to 10 while we ran by trying to avoid the worst of the rain.

Seeing such an open and organized display of street harassment was shocking, especially on such a seemingly liberal college campus. After the initial shock settled, I went to the coveted, and most popular, news source on campus: Yik Yak. After asking for other witnesses, I was met with mixed responses. Some shared my dismay, while others claimed that I was vengeful after receiving a low rating.

These overt displays of dominance over the female body are demeaning and are meant to dehumanize women while stroking the male ego. Cat calling and other forms of harassment have gained significant exposure over the last several months.

While the majority empathize with victims of street harassment, others still deny the seriousness of such offenses.

The fact is, those boys sitting on their porch, judging women on a whim, claimed ownership and dominance over my body and every other woman they decided deserved their judgment. It was not their right, nor their place to quantify our worth based on our appearance. Why does the sheer presence of women in public entice some men to objectify their bodies? An AAUW study reported that 51 percent of male college students admitted to sexually harassing someone on campus.

According to a study done by Stop Street Harassment in 2014, “65 percent of all women had experienced street harassment. Among all women, 23 percent had been sexually touched, 20 percent had been followed, and 9 percent had been forced to do something sexual.”

Any form of street harassment is simply unacceptable. Anyone should have the right to walk down the street without fear of being attacked. And much to your dismay, boys from the front porch that Sunday, women could not care less what you rate them.

Costello, a junior professional writing major from Charlotte, is an opinion