Enough with Cat Calling Female Runners

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Yesterday, I was nearing the end of my final tempo mile along a busy-ish road near work when all of a sudden a massive tractor-trailer honked his horn at me… four times.

I was so startled from the noise of the honking, and the fact that I was in the middle of a very fast-for-me mile, that I stopped dead in my tracks. Instead of catching my breathe and calming down, I turned to the truck and flipped him the bird with not one, but both of my hands.

I know, bad behavior shouldn’t illicit more bad behavior but I’ve had enough. And I’m not the only one. This week alone, I have been honked at five times during a run by guys driving by. Scores of women runners, of all shapes and sizes, have had moments like this. You’re running along, minding your own business, when a dude driving by beeps his horn at you, and whistles out his window, or says some other obscenities.

It happens to me almost every time I go for a run by myself. It happens when I go out running with a friend. It even happened once when I was doing a hill workout with my boyfriend who was about a half-mile ahead of me. No matter the time of day, year, or what I’m wearing I get beeped or cat called at.

A writer over at Competitor wrote a story about this today, which prompted me to write my own. Another writer friend wrote a post about it for Philly.com and told me that after she published her piece she actually got HATE emails from men (and women too!) defending these actions. What the hell, people?

Besides it being annoying and interrupting my otherwise killer tempo run, I wondered, what did that disgusting trucker think he was going to get out of that? He wasn’t turning me on. I wasn’t flattered. I was pissed off.

Like the author of the Competitor piece, all I wanted to do was get my tempo miles done, cool down, and go back to the office for lunch. Instead my run was interrupted because some trucker decided I looked good enough during my run to honk at. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for the problem, and I don’t have much faith in the changing the men who tend to cat call, but we need to make it clear that it’s not a compliment and it’s not OK.

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24 thoughts on “Enough with Cat Calling Female Runners

  1. I was just telling my husband about this! He was like, “nobody honks at me!” Lol! I only notice some as I have my headphones on but I have to imagine how loud a truckers horn had to be!

  2. I was cat called today by some women in a Chevy Cavalier while on a run, just for the record. I don’t find it as offensive as a guy, but it did throw me off a bit. Yesterday a woman yelled for us to “keep running!” while on a group run, I much prefer that, even though it did inspire some jests and dialogue afterwards. To your actual point though, it’s gross and creepy and shouldn’t happen.

    • I agree, if someone is being supportive and encouraging that’s great! But being honked at by a creepy dude is totally different.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. Some idiot yelled out his van window this morning and another dude honked a few miles later. I don’t react but I’m always internally furious at them for intruding on my time.

  4. I can’t agree more with it being annoying and uncalled for! I was doing hill repeats today (with my husband who was doing his own!!) and got a honk. Ridiculous!

  5. Oh my god! I hate this! I got so startled by some jerk honking once I almost tripped and fell on the side of the road…He got a middle finger too. Bad behavior? Nah – I think it’s the natural response!

  6. Yep, been there! It’s so frustrating because you’re in your own little running world just running along and someone has to ruin it for you :( I never understood why men felt the need to beep at women and vice versa, what response are they expecting to get? Some guy last week slowed down and yelled “Pick up the pace” right at the end of my run and I was so furious that it actually cancelled out all the good feelings that I’d felt from my run. Grrrrr.

    • “Pick up the pace” – I hate that! You’re out there exercising and they’re just driving by. Absolutely infuriating.

  7. Honestly, I don’t get honked at all that often, but when I do I don’t get angry. Often I’ll give them a wave. Why let someone else ruin your day, and a good run? Why not just take it as a compliment that you’re look good out there and move on with your day. I quickly forget the honk ever happened and I carry on with my day. Being angry about it and holding on to that doesn’t hurt the honker, it only hurts you.

  8. I agree with you, it’s the worst. It doesn’t feel like a compliment but that its ok to ogle me/other women. It’s distracting and it can be dangerous (for both the runner and the driver). I’ve also totally flipped the bird back. It’s a form of objectification. I think the only real way to stop it is to have these conversations, particularly with guys. Maybe one day it will sink it… although many of the times (in my experience) its young guys and I don’t think they really think about what they’re doing.

  9. honestly, it happens so often I hardly even notice it anymore. I don’t even break stride…just lift my arm up for the ‘runner wave’. the only time I got completely freaked out was when a car pulled up RIGHT alongside me at a crawl…scared the daylights out of me!! turned out to be an elderly couple looking for directions!

  10. I work on a construction site and I’ve been cat called before at work. I’m weraing jeans, a long sleeved uniform, hard hat, and safety glasses. Not sure what’s attractive about that or how they can even tell I’m female from a distance. I try not to let it bother me too much, because I feel like if we do, we let them win.

  11. I’ve always preferred to ignore these jerks – at least outwardly. It doesn’t stop me from being pissed about it, but I can at least not give them a response, which it obviously what they’re looking for. I saw a quote the other day that’s sort of my mantra for these situations now. I’m paraphrasing: “When someone whistles at you, ignore them. You are a lady, not a dog”. Always sucks to have your run intruded on by these clowns, though.

  12. Thank you for sharing, and I am so sorry and saddened that this happens to anyone. I know many dismiss this (some of the replies I have seen get downright hostile!) … but I see it as escalating behavior. Sure most morons, I mean guys, who do this are just being idiots and nothing more happens.

    But this week at YouSignedUpforWhat Cynthia talks aboutbeing grabbed by a teenager on a bike. That scares me. What will that kid do next?!?

    As for me – I have gotten a few hoots and honks – mostly teen girls (I probably work with their parents), and one pair of women walking a dog last week and one said ‘nice shorts’ (I was wearing compression shorts). But you know what? I have absolutely no real concern of being physically sexually assaulted. I know it happens, but it is so small compared to women being assaulted – even killed – for no more than being a woman out for a run. It is disgusting.

  13. Pingback: Take Care Tuesday – The Morons are Out in Full Bloom this Spring! | Running Around the Bend

  14. I think its gross and annoying. The fact of the matter is that its never ok to treat women with disrespect. Its also not a compliment- its weird when women think getting honked at is sweet or nice…. no… its really not someone being nice to you

  15. I’m so glad to see a post about this! This happened to me so often that I started changing my run routes and run times. Mainly because I found myself spending way too long thinking about the legal repercussions of chucking a rock at the car that honked. I agree with you completely. It’s rude and annoying and it makes me angry.

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