UP apologizes for posters catcalling women looking for boarding houses

January 21, 2019 - 1:46 PM
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UP Oblation
The University of the Philippines' Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs apologized for allowing advertisements that "catcalled" female students to be placed in the campus' jeepney stops. (The STAR/File photo)

The University of the Philippines apologized for a boarding house advertisement that was perceived as “catcalling” female students in jeepney stops.

Concerned social media users and students of the university slammed the University of the Philippines’ Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (UP OVCCA) for letting the advertisements be posted within the campus.

The advertisement was looking for female boarders but its way of calling out attention was deemed “disturbing” and a form of “catcalling on print.”

A Twitter user wrote, “You just allowed catcalling on print. Implications would be it’s okay to catcall WHEN IT’S NOT.”

Another user tagged her friend and recalled their conversation about the advertisements. “It’s so disturbing,” she commented on the Twitter post.

Meanwhile, UP OVCCA has responded in the thread and noted that they would take down the advertisements.

“We sincerely apologize for the oversight. The announcements/posters will now be taken down,” they replied.

UP OVCCA is responsible for addressing the concerns of the UP community. These include managing the campus’ employee and faculty housing, coordinating with the business concessions on campus, supervising security and safety and maintaining the campus facilities.

Catcalling against women

The phrase “Hi, sexy” or “Hey, sexy” is used to call the attention of females in a street or in a public place.

It is considered a form of street harassment wherein a female gets catcalled, receives unwanted gestures, comments and sexual advances from men in public places.

Various accounts from women all over the world agree that the phrase “Hi, sexy” or “Hey, sexy” makes them feel sexually harassed.

Women walking in Japan

Women walking on a street in Japan. (Pixabay/File photo)

BBC interviewed women who have experienced catcalling and one account shared that she felt “unsafe” and viewed as a “sexual object” when a man had shouted, “Hey, sexy!” at her.

It is also listed as one of the phrases that make female students and workers feel they are sexually harassed in public places.

An online women’s magazine noted that compliments are supposed to stem from respect and build trust, not demean and make women feel objectified. An excerpt of their article reads:

“When you compliment someone, your primary aim is to make them feel good. When you harass someone, your aim is to make them feel embarrassed or scared (not, as some might have it, to pick someone up).”

“Complimenting someone establishes a relationship with them and makes them feel safe with you. Harassment, on the other hand, can lead people to feel unsafe. A true compliment will help people open up to you, while harassment will make them want to avoid you.”

Another online magazine shared that a word or a gesture is considered harassment depending on the “the way in which men approach and the way in which they look” at women.

Citing the difference between what constitutes a compliment and harassment, the website noted:

“A cheery hello or a courteous smile isn’t harassment. It is the way in which men approach and the way in which they look at you that matters. An appraising leer isn’t a cheery hello. A suggestive comment isn’t a funny greeting,” it said.