In today’s increasingly misogynistic society, it’s unsurprising that many view wolf-whistling and catcalling as a form of harassment – so much so that a police force in England recently reclassified them as hate crimes against women.
However, as seen on last night’s episode of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here, some people are still divided over whether wolf-whistling is sexist (spoiler: it is) or not.
The celebrity campmates were playing a quiz game in a bid to win some Dingo Dollars when they were asked about the results of a recent survey, which asked women if they believe it’s sexist for a man to wolf-whistle at a woman – even if it’s intended positively.
They had to decide whether 54% or 44% of those polled agreed with the statement – and hardly any of the famous jungle dwellers believed that anyone could be offended by a ‘harmless’ wolf-whistle.
“I would like it if someone wolf-whistled me,” said Emmerdale’s Adam Thomas. “I would be like, ‘hi guys!’”
Skins star Joel Dommett agreed, saying: “I would absolutely love it.”
While we weren’t exactly surprised that the male campmates felt compelled to defend wolf-whistlers, we were surprised when Carol Vorderman – famed for her independent spirit and desire to become one of the first women to pilot a plane around the world – dismissed it as something that “wouldn’t bother me”.
Thank goodness, then, for Gogglebox’s Scarlett Moffatt.
One of the youngest campmates, the reality star insisted: “I don’t find it a compliment – it’s quite sexist, actually.”
She continued: “I couldn’t name one of my friends who would say it was a compliment… I don’t think there’s any need.”
The 26-year-old then turned to footballer Wayne Bridge, asking him: “What do you think [your wife] Frankie would do if she was wolf-whistled?”
“I don’t know,” he admitted, before adding: “I don’t think she’d be too bothered.”
The camp eventually gave in to Scarlett’s pleas, and agreed to vote for the answer ‘54% women find wolf-whistling to be sexist’ – but, worryingly, they turned out to be incorrect.
Many viewers joined the debate on social media, with many questioning exactly who the ITV had polled to come up with such a low percentage.
Others added that wolf-whistling is most definitely sexist – and, at times, intimidating.
“For someone with anxiety, random men wolf-whistling at me makes me so uncomfortable and I hate it,” wrote one.
Another, using well-placed emojis to make her point loud and clear, stressed “Wolff-whistling is sexist and not a compliment.”
However, as always, there were a few trolls out there who were keen tod efend wolf-whistling until the very end.
“I’m guessing most of the women who don’t like wolf-whistling have probably never been wolf-whistled at,” remarked one.
Another called upon the general public to stop being “so sensitive”, writing: “Really? A wolf-whistle? Come on, is everything offensive nowadays?”
Thank goodness for women like Scarlett Moffatt, who are determined to speak out against the patriarchy and redress the sexist narrative we are all forced to conform to on a day-to-day basis.
Meanwhile Martha Jephcott, who has trained Nottinghamshire police officers on how to deal with misogyny as a hate crime, added: “I want forces across the country to adopt this. I think it's a matter of equality.
“UK-wide, racist and homophobic hate crimes take place and are recognised as such. Women should have that too because, wherever they are, they probably will have experienced this.”
Catcalling and wolf-whistling are often seen as intimidating and threatening behaviour, demanding of a reaction - and many have praised Nottinghamshire police force for taking them seriously.