THE BLOG
04/03/2015 09:31 GMT | Updated 04/05/2015 06:59 BST

Celia Imrie Is Wrong, Women Don't Need to 'Lighten Up' About Catcalling

According to actress Celia Imrie, women need to "lighten up" and stop "moaning" about catcalling.

And sorry Celia, but as much as I loved you in Calendar Girls, on this matter you are wrong.

Very, very wrong.

In an interview in the April issue of Glamour magazine, Celia says at the age of 62, she enjoys catcalling.

"I'm thrilled if I'm whistled at. Of course I am. We should be so lucky," she says.

"People have become so moany. I mean, I'm not mad about being called 'love' or 'dear' but I quite like 'darling'.

"And, really - lighten up, everyone. There's enough horribleness in the world. Let's just have a nice time, shall we?"

While Celia might have a "nice time" being catcalled, there are plenty of other women who do not.

Catcalling is not a compliment. There is nothing flattering about a stranger shouting at you from across the street, no matter what they're saying.

When you're catcalled during the daytime, it's uncomfortable. When you're catcalled while walking home by yourself in the evening or at night, it's downright terrifying.

Yes, I'm speaking from experience and I'm certainly not the only one who finds catcalling intimidating.

In September, a Fox News commentator said he liked to catcall women on the street by applauding them as they walk by. He suggested women enjoy the attention.

But as Daily Show host Jessica Williams pointed out at the time, just because a woman smiles at a man after being catcalled, it doesn't mean she's happy with him.

As the victim smiles "the woman is trying her best to end this interaction because if she doesn't smile, he might tell her to smile. If she tells you to leave her alone, you'll probably call her a b*tch," she said.

That's not the only time catcalling has made headlines in recent months.

When 24-year-old Shoshana Robertsa secretly filmed herself walking round New York City in October, she was catcalled a total of 108 times in 10 hours.

The video soon went viral, with thousands of women on YouTube commenting to say they can relate.

Unlike these women, Celia Imrie clearly doesn't understand the wider implications of catcalling.

Later in the Glamour interview she says she "grew up in a generation that fought for women's rights" and although she doesn't consider herself a feminist, she believes those in her generation "did work quite hard".

"Which is why I think it's outrageous that women are still paid less than men," she adds.

What Celia fails to realise is that catcalling (which she thinks is totally fine) and the gender pay gap (which she disagree with) are related.

By laughing off catcalling, we perpetuate the idea that commenting on a women's body is fair game for men.

In doing that, we also contribute to sexist notion that a woman should be valued for her appearance, but a man should be valued for his actions and intellect.

I'm not suggesting that catcalling is the sole reason for women being paid less then men. It's also not the sole reason for why there are more men than women in boardrooms.

In fact, I don't even think catcalling is the main reason for the shockingly high statistics surrounding violence against women in the UK.

But turning a blind eye to catcalling certainly contributes to all of the above, by teaching young men that they are entitled to treat women however they damn please, because a woman, after all, is just a "nice arse."

Celia Imrie's comments in Glamour villainise women - like me - who hate being catcalled.

But we don't need to "lighten up" about catcalling, we need to shout about it and tell the world that IT'S NOT OKAY.

Because if we don't, we'll never get anyone to take us seriously about any issues regarding gender equality.