It's the newest misogynist nanoaggression: "tatcalling."
And you'd better not do it!
Tatcalling consists of actually noticing when a woman is showing off her tattoos to all and sundry. You see, she gets to do that, but you're not supposed to look. Because sexism.
Here's the anti-tatcalling manifesto of Melissa A. Fabello: "My Tattoos Aren't an Invitation to Harassment–So Please Stop 'Tatcalling' Me."
You see, Fabello is heavily inked on her thighs (trigger warning), her arms (not quite so triggerish–Derringer warning), and someplace we'd rather not mention. But don't look!
Here is a dreadful experience that Fabello had while waiting for plane:
I feel a tap on my shoulder. So I turn around.
A man who I do not know is crouching and gawking at me. “Can you turn a little this way?” he asks. “I’m trying to look at your legs.”
And right now, I’m sure that anyone reading this with even just a single feminist bone in their body is picking their jaw up off of the floor.
Because in absolutely no situation would it ever be appropriate for a stranger to request a closer inspection of a woman’s thighs.
But here’s the thing: I was wearing shorts (or short-shorts, as my mom would probably call them).
And, like any good feminist, I should say this first and foremost: It doesn’t matter what you wear. You should never, ever be subject to harassment.
I agree–the guy was rude. But I've got a good idea for not having to endure random discourtesies from pervy strangers whose inhibitions are down because they know you'll never see them again: Don't wear shorts in an airport!
But noooo–that would be too easy. More ink-dignities as related by Fabello:
And – as dependable as clockwork – when you’re a tattooed woman in public, a dude eventually will shout at you, “I like your tattoos!” And within minutes, so will another. And another. And another.
And I know this for sure because last week, I tweeted about it.
I was frustrated and uncomfortable that I couldn’t just go for a simple walk without being left alone, so over the course of 40 minutes, I tweeted (using the hashtag #tatcalling, which my clever friend Cathy came up with) every tattoo-related catcall I received – just to prove a point about what a day in the life of a tattooed woman out in public in a patriarchal society feels like.
The total came to ten.
Ten times in 40 minutes.
Ten times, a strange man shouted at me “Nice tats!” or “I love your tattoos!” or “Where do you get your work done?” One guy even literally stopped to show me his tattoos….
While it may seem like an innocent, honest compliment, sometimes it can actually employ all of the same dynamics of catcalling.
Then Fabello launches on a lecture as to why this is so horrible: "It's an invasion of space, time, and bodily autonomy," "My tattoos aren't for you–they're for me," yada, yada, yada:
At the end of the day, if your comment or question cuts into a woman’s right to space, time, or bodily autonomy in a way that makes her uncomfortable or distraught, it’s street harassment.
My question is: How's a guy to know whether you feel "uncomfortable" or you just love it because he's so hot?
There's something humorous about spending hundreds of dollars to cover your body with attention-craving designs and then screaming misogyny when someone pays attention to them. But feminists have very thin (tattooed) skin. So don't look!