Alicia Keys' Reaction To Catcalling Will Break Your Heart

Photo: Everett/REX Shutterstock.
Alicia Keys just put into words what so many of us feel when walking down the streets in New York City. In a blog post titled, "A Revelation," the R&B singer opens up about dressing like a tomboy when she was younger to avoid unwanted attention from random men.

"I definitely started hiding when I got old enough to walk down my NY streets alone," she writes, noting that she would dress differently to protect herself from offensive — and potentially frightening — catcalling:

I started to notice a drastic difference in how men would relate to me if I had on jeans, or if I had on a skirt, or if my hair was done pretty. I could tell the difference, I could feel the animal instinct in them and it scared me. I didn't want to be talked to in that way, looked at in that way, whistled after, followed. And so I started hiding. I chose the baggy jeans and Timbs, I chose the ponytail and hat, I chose no makeup, no bright color lipstick or pretty dresses. I chose to hide... Less trouble that way.

Keys' sentiment is, unfortunately, one that New York women are all too familiar with. Just a year ago, actress Shoshana B. Roberts took to the streets of the city, secretly filming her 10-hour-long walk. What she experienced was a less-than-pleasant stroll. Instead, she was slapped with 108 different catcall phrases, ranging from "Hey, sexy. What, you don't wanna talk to me?" to an array of "Damn, girl"s. And the most frightening part about this attention isn't how frequently it happens — but that people think it's okay. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Catcalling is not a compliment, and it shouldn't be forcing women like Keys — and those who have experienced similar situations — to hide.

“You are allowed to be smart,” Keys continues. She adds that it was just the other day that she realized she shouldn't be concealing her "intelligence...physical appearance...truths...[or] thoughts," because of other peoples judgements. “You are allowed to be tough. You are allowed to be sexy… You are allowed to be yourself!”

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