What is cat calling


What is cat calling? An American phrase originating from the 1950s, cat calling is an insult used to put down a woman by a man, or any other member of a gender minority. It is a common form of bullying in the world of sports, and can lead to violent attacks. A person who performs catcalling is called a catcaller.

What can you do to stop cat calling? You can go out to a public place and report a catcaller to the police. Sometimes, the person performing catcalling could be arrested.

The catcalling scandal at the 2013 London Olympics

The 2013 London Olympics were held at the London Aquatics Center. In May 2013, The Sun obtained images from CCTV footage which showed two men urinating into a water cooler inside the centre. The images went viral and caused a huge scandal. The men were arrested, and two of them admitted to urinating into the cooler.

The water cooler had been installed to help spectators and staff who need to stay hydrated during events.

The catcalling scandal affected the 2012 Olympics as well. In 2012, two men catcalled female swimmers before the Olympics. One of the men was arrested for an unrelated sexual offence.

What is catcalling?

The term catcalling is used in the United States, Canada, Australia and Britain.

The Catcalling Scandal at the 2012 London Olympics

In a June 2012 issue of British men's magazine Nuts, journalist Jamie Bartlett criticised the treatment of female athletes in the 2012 Olympics.

It had become customary for fans to shout "Go Sarah" at Olympic swimming events. This is a reference to British diving star Sarah Read. She finished fifth in the 10 metre platform event.

Bartlett told the magazine: "I think there has been a sort of a rape culture atmosphere in the UK towards female athletes.

"The atmosphere at some events has been extremely hostile, male-dominated and male-orientated, and almost like a rape culture. It does seem to be almost tolerated and even approved of."

He told the BBC: "I think the general atmosphere at a lot of swimming events has been quite misogynistic. I think it has been very negative towards female athletes and the way the media have framed their coverage of female athletes."

Sarah Read and a fellow diver competed at the 2012 Olympics and were also targeted by fans. The comments they received can be heard in the clip at 00:37.

In the clip, Sarah says the "tasteless" comments could be offensive to her.

During the BBC programme, the athletes said that the treatment they received was unacceptable.

What is the problem with catcalling?

People can take offence to catcalling. It can also be a humiliating and sexual offence.

Catcalling is illegal in most parts of the world. It is considered abusive and unwanted behaviour.

"It is sexual harassment and it's a real problem on UK beaches and on UK streets," says Clare Balding, BBC presenter and swimmer. "We need to teach people that if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, they shouldn't be doing it."

Why was the BBC criticised?

People took to Twitter to criticise the BBC after the episode aired.

In the documentary, the women reveal that they were catcalled at the European championships in Austria in September.

"It's not acceptable and it's time that people knew what's going on," says Sarah. "If people keep ignoring it and going about their lives, it's just going to keep going on and going on."

What has happened since?

Two weeks after the documentary, BBC Radio 5 live apologised and said it was "sincerely sorry" about its treatment of the women.

The BBC has since been making efforts to show more female sport.

More than one-third of its programmes are now being made by women. This year, it launched a programme called The Big Screen and introduced a new gender balance on the shortlists for British Sports Personality of the Year.

But the BBC is still a male-dominated organisation. A report in March by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee found that men outnumbered women in the upper echelons of BBC governance. The director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, says it will not change without external pressure.

What did the BBC say?

The BBC has said it is committed to "more women and less bias". It apologised again on Twitter, in response to people saying it was "too late" to deal with its problems.

"We have taken steps to address any specific concerns we have received and apologised to them. This remains an area where there is significant progress to be made but we hope that our actions will demonstrate that the BBC is serious about this issue," a spokesperson said.

How did the BBC respond to the criticism?

One of the show's co-presenters, Clare Balding, tweeted "Not sure what the fuss is all about. We've made so many female programmes over the years", adding that BBC2 would be showcasing some female athletes at the London Olympics.

Who has been most affected?

While many have been talking about the problem at the BBC, some commentators say that other broadcasters are more egregious.

Image copyright BBC

In June, ITV was criticised for having, according to a recent investigation by Radio Times, 3,000-4,000 less female on-air personnel in a 12-month period than at the BBC.

The broadcaster has since made headlines by trying to hire more female presenters but critics have pointed to a lack of action by the BBC.

In 2012, in a report for the BBC Trust, the corporation made a commitment to make 50% of on-screen talent in 2012 the most gender-balanced in history. This year, it only made a target of 20%.

Some have accused the corporation of being too soft on the issue. BBC director of television Danny Cohen wrote in the Radio Times in April that some of the criticism was a "bit nannying" because it had never claimed to be "perfect".

"How can we expect to be perfect on day one when we haven't really been perfect in the past?" he wrote.

So is there a problem in TV?

Image copyright Getty Images

BBC director-general Lord Hall has acknowledged there is a problem, as have some on-screen presenters.

"We are aware of a difference in our talent pool and we are seeking to tackle that and we are doing that," he told the BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast in April.

But others, including BBC journalists, have said the problem is more widely spread.

In March, the BBC's former head of news Fran Unsworth admitted there were "clear barriers in getting to the very top".

"The pay is appalling, not as a journalist - but as


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