No Catcalls in Hong Kong

Catcalling has been all over the internet and media lately, and it occurred to me that what used to be such a huge part of my day to day life in Ecuador doesn't exist in Hong Kong. Men here just don't do it. What's with that? When I first moved here, I thought, 'Did I get ugly? Why aren't men whistling at me or licking their lips in my directions as I walk to grocery store in my sweatpants anymore?!' I learned pretty quickly that it just isn't part of the culture in Hong Kong, or most other major Asian cities.

This shows me that men CAN restrain themselves. Men in Asia get it- catcalling makes women uncomfortable, makes them feel unsafe, and isn't fucking flattering at all. They are universally raised here to be respectful and polite towards the opposite sex, and I've never once had reason to fear a man in Hong Kong, a feeling I got used to in Ecuador. Yes, I said it. I feared men in Ecuador. When a group of men approached me in the street, I would cross the road to avoid the jeers. Drunk strangers would force themselves into my taxi at the end of the night to try to come home with me. Taxi drivers would hit on me aggressively, men would follow me in the streets, approach me and grab me, and it was never-ending.

Ecuador was a blur of unrelenting kissing noises, marriage proposals, lip smacking, and hollers. I'm not saying every girl reacts this way, but it really tore me down and made me feel disgusting. I felt like a piece of meat there. Catcalls are common in the US as well, I had my fair share in Florida.

And then I moved to Hong Kong. Something I realized this week is how unique my living situation is. I live at the dead end of an alley way of auto repair shops. This means that the small alley I have to walk down to get home is filled with packs of sweaty, older mechanics. I would never have moved into this apartment if it were in Ecuador! I wouldn't have felt safe going home, and I can say pretty confidently I would have been harassed every time I came home or left my apartment. It would have been intolerable.

My road of auto repair shops

The mechanics under my building

Instead, it's never occurred to me to feel unsafe on my street. The men on my street politely smile and move out of the way for me. They have held my front door open for me when I come home with groceries. Most of the time they don't even look at me. Young Hong Kong men are the same way. Just another reason to love this city. Why don't men in other places get it? Women DON'T LIKE BEING HOLLERED AT. We don't need to be flattered or reminded that we are desirable because of our looks. We don't care that we have your approval. We weren't looking for it in the first place.


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