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Mid Term Test of Gender Communication

Immanuel Teja Kumala – 14030115130117

Kelas Selasa 15.00

Catcalling – Something That Is Considered as ‘Usual’ Thing

Lately I have often paid attention to social issues that raised into public opinion on my
social media . And one of the issues is about sexual harrashment. Sexual harrashment occurs not
only in the form of touch, coercion, rape, but sexual harrashment also present in verbal
form. One of them is called catcalling. I am disappointed with the existence of some people who
think catcalling is a compliment for the women, and even blame the women for using clothes
that arousing lust.
A study proves that catcalling is a very common type of sexual harassment. The results of
this study found that 87% of women had experienced catcalling in Australia.
Actually, catcalling is not a proper thing to do. It’s a kind of bad sexual abuse. This thing
happened because someone who becomes victims of catcalling will feel her as an
object. Gardner (1995) found that the catcalling experience that happened to women such as
some sexist comments especially written by men made the victims feel more vulnerable and felt
that her body was like a parade object ready to be enjoyed by the stranger.
One of catcalling case that happened in Indonesia occurs because of patriarchal
understanding which is still very high in our culture. There are many cultures in Indonesia that
elevate the degree of men than women, one of them is Batak tribe who still use the clan(family
name) and consider the heredity of men who can carry on the family name and inheritance. This
fact makes men feel more superior than women and make women like an object only.

Analysis: Muted Group Theory

The author feels Muted Group Theory is the right theory in explaining this catcalling
case. Muted group theory was developed by Edwin and Shirley Ardener (West and Turner, 2008)
who explained that the hierarchy constructed by social puts men in a high position, while
women have lower positions. It is not possible for women to be able to communicate what they
feel, because it will not be accepted by the dominant group (men).
This theory has the following assumptions:
1) Women have different perceptions of people who are rooted in the division of labor.
2) Because of their political dominance, the dominant male perception system, inhibits the
free expression of the female alternative model of the world.
3) In order to participate in a society women must transform their own models according to
the expression that they receive.
In relation to the case above, most women will only be silent while experiencing
catcalling, because they assume that they have no voice and power in the social construction
hierarchy. And very unfortunate because patriarchal already very deeply rooted in the culture of
Indonesia. This fact is also became the background of women’s group was not able to counter the
dominant. Women as subordinate groups became a silent group in society.
Men who have a strong power in society will think women should behave exactly as what
men want. For example, if catcalling occurs, female victims will be blamed for using mini dress
or the way they dress. But in terms of communication, it is called the oppression of women
because they restrict women to express themselves.

Comprehensive Analysis: Existential and Global Approach to Ecofeminism

The catcalling case as described above is similar to the existential approach. Beauvoir
assumes that men regard women as objects (Tong, 2010). Beauvoir explains that men are "the
self" while women are the object or "the others". "The self" would consider "the others" as a
threat to him. So in order to make men become more free and great, men must subordinate
women against him.
Furthermore, in his book, Tong describes the global eco-feminism of Maria Mies and
Shiva (Tong, 2010) in which Mies has written an essay of White man's dilemma: His Search for
What He has Destroyed which explains the tendency of men to explore nature - where the female
body is one called nature, so it must be explored .
Although, women are part of nature, it does not mean women are nature itself that must
be exploited, because women are the subject of nature not the object itself. Although, the case is
an inexplicable part of the existential concept in which the woman becomes an object that can be
explored in accordance with the wishes of men.

Catcalling is a very frequent violation of sexual harassment , in fact many people do not
understand that it is a harassment, such as whistling, teasing, or verbal abuse. Catcalling makes
women seem to be objects. Women should have the freedom to express themselves in the clothes
they wear, or in the style that they want. However, patriarchal culture that is still high in
Indonesia does not allow it. Women are still a silent group and become 'second class citizens'
according to the constructed social constructs that are being researched through an existential
approach. Catcalling is a dishonorable behavior that should be an awareness for every citizen to
always have respect for each other.

Tong, Rosemarie Putnam. 2010. Feminist Thought; Pengantar Paling Komprehensif kepada
Arus Utama Pemikiran Feminis. Yogyakarta. Jalasutra.

Sullivan, H. B. 2011. ” Hey Lady, You're Hot!” Emotional and Cognitive Effects of Gender-
Based Street Harassment on Women. University of Pennsylvania.

West and Turner. 2008. Pengantar Teori Komunikasi, Analisis dan Aplikasi. Jakarta. Salemba.