Verbal street harassment can range from a minor annoyance to a traumatic threat, but any unwelcome advance can leave you feeling powerless and victimized. Luckily, there’s a way for women to exercise agency and flip the script during these unwanted interactions. Here’s how to combat catcallers by shouting, “Chim chim cheree! Are you me new dad?”
Look the part.
If you want to get across the message that you’re a sweet but highly needy urchin who is excited about her new dad, you need to look the part. Start with an earth-toned and ragged base, then accessorize with a messenger cap, a broomstick, or a big ol’ vest. You can even go the extra mile and dab some ash and dirt on your face. Would-be catcallers will refrain from saying sexual, invasive comments, and instead say, “Is she a chimney sweep? Is she a Dickensian orphan? Is she in community theater?” Be sure to bring work shoes to change into later!
Perfect your accent work.
When it comes to deterring catcallers with an anguished plea for paternal nurturance, delivery is key. Catcallers are motivated in part by their desire to exert control over women by making them uncomfortable. However, if you reek of desperation like a vaguely British ragamuffin eager to find a forever home, these men will keep their distance. So before you try out this method in the streets, be sure to lock down an unplaceable Anglo-twang that will make men say, “This reference is unclear to me, but I definitely don’t want to get involved in all that.” Catcall canceled!
Just have fun with it!
At the end of the day, when you’re avoiding catcallers by shouting out “chim chim cheree! Are you me new dad?” in the melodic cry of a parentless rapscallion with a heart of gold, it’s most important that you just have fun with it and make the experience your own. Catcallers may want you to call them daddy, but they definitely don’t want to be your dad, especially if you seem full of mischief!
Use these tips to divert unpleasant catcalls, and soon you’ll be walking down the streets with the confidence of a 19th century miscreant who lives in them!