It’s hot outside. Let us wear summer clothes in peace

Catcalling reaches its peak in the summer – ask any woman


This morning it was hot – 32 degrees with 42 per cent humidity, to be precise. I put on the least smothering outfit I own: a pink skater-style dress with a loose, oversized denim jacket over my arm. I had walked barely 100m down the road when I was whistled at by an old man, who then – upon receiving no response – shouted something angrily along the lines of me looking “sexy”.

The offending outfit

I was really, really fucking hot and pretty short-tempered. Then it happened again at lunch – ironically as I asked my friend to take a photo for this article. A man whipped by on a motorbike and whistled. That cliché cartoon whistle that goes up and down.

This is a horrible side to the summer that nobody really talks about. It’s worse than sweaty upper lips, unbearably hot suits or sweltering office temperatures. It’s the blatant objectification of women in the street that all-of sudden becomes a ritual of British men.

From inner-city to rural villages, men everywhere take the warmer weather – and subsequent lesser clothing – as an excuse to demean women. Reminding us all we are good for is a short skirt and a bit of skin acts as a reminder permeates from shouting in the streets to a wider attitude of our place.

The photo, hazy from the heat, was taken just before the whistler came past

All it takes is a short dress. It’s difficult enough deciding what to wear in the heat in this temperamental British climate, but imagine having to dress with layers each morning to avoid barbaric shouting and whistling. Imagine slipping on a dress in the morning and thinking “how many men will make me feel uncomfortable if I wear this today?” And that’s exactly what we have to do, and in the summer it reaches its peak – ask any woman.

My colleague, Daisy, was stopped by her housemates, who said “you can’t wear that” as she was leaving the house, so she changed. She was wearing a turquoise flower-patterned, strappy dress which stopped around the middle of her thigh. Hardly promiscuous or revealing. Then, when Daisy – with a different outfit on – left for lunch with another of my colleagues, Grace, they were shouted at by a man in a van.

I don’t often get catcalled – barely at all really aside from the week I spent in heels. This just goes to display the simple inner-workings of the mind of some men – they someone in a pink dress with bare legs and think “fair game”. Maybe next time I’ll turn around, run into their in their embrace, because we’re all better, more generous and understanding in the summer.

There’s an element of lechery that emerges in the summer months that just doesn’t happen in the winter. Some men are so fickle that all it takes is a pink dress and they’re slobbering and shouting inaudibly.