Let’s Talk: Is Joanna Lumley right about wolf-whistling? 11



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You might remember Joanna Lumley as the hilarious Patsy in the show Absolutely Fabulous?

Well, she’s making headlines at the moment – but not for her acting skills.

Joanna has been slammed for comments she made in an interview with the Daily Mail.

You might be wondering what she could have possibly said to be criticised.

Well, the Ab Fab star defended men wolf-whistling  at women.

“How can wolf whistling be offensive to women? It’s a compliment,” she said.

“They’re saying ‘Cor you look all right, darlin.’ What’s wrong with that?”

The 70-year-old spoke about her days as a young model in the 60s and said people were “tougher” back then.

“You knew someone would whistle in the street and you weren’t insulted,” she said.

She also recounted how photographers back then would say rude things to her such as “you look fat as a pig”.

“It was good-natured banter, you kind of got on with it, it didn’t upset you,” Joanna said.

“We have become more sensitive flowers nowadays, people are very offended by everything.”

So, what are people saying to criticise Joanna?

There’s been a range of comments from people on social media in response.

“Joanna Lumley has clearly never been whistled at whilst by herself at night by a group of men because it doesn’t seem like a compliment then,” wrote Twitter user gmountjoy1.

“Wolf-whistling is a compliment, says Joanna Lumley. Yes, but some of us don’t need that reassurance from random men.” Julia Hartley-Brewer wrote on Twitter.

It’s not the first time Joanna Lumley has been slammed for something she’s said.

In 2013, the actress was criticised for telling women to “dress properly” to avoid being sexually assaulted.

This isn’t the first time Lumley has found herself in hot water for making some controversial comments about women.

“Don’t be sick in the gutter at midnight in a silly dress with no money to get a taxi home, because somebody will take advantage of you, either they’ll rape you, or they’ll knock you on the head or they’ll rob you,” she said.

What do you think? Is wolf-whistling a compliment? Or is Joanna Lumley wrong?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Depends on your confidence I think – and I agree, in the day time only. Funny we should be talking about this now we’re 60ish! I had my share of wolf whistles thanks guys, but I never put myself in a dangerous situation. You go Joanna – tell us how you feel xx

    1 REPLY
    • I agree with you Pauline and yes I had wolf whistles too. Felt quite flattered and no I never dressed like a tart. Joanna is right, so many people these days are just looking for a reason to be offended.

  2. I think things are different now – being wolf-whistled when you’re young is just light-hearted fun, and as you get older it’s very embarrassing when you hear a wolf-whistle and realise it isn’t for you! But I didn’t think men/boys whistled any more – in fact, I can remember when you could hear men just whistling at work and they don’t seem to do that either. Maybe because the music isn’t really musical and tuneful???

  3. I agree. Hell I used to think I was pretty good when I got wolf whistled. Poor little princesses these days just need to whine. Get a sense of humor girls.

  4. It used to give me a ‘buzz’ to get a wolf whistle when I was younger. Heck I’ve wolf whistled at guys! Everything is so PC these days, there are worse things to worry about. It would make my day if some half blind guy whistled at me now! hahahaha As for her comment about being sick in the gutter etc, I couldn’t agree with her more. Where have the standards gone? What she said is true, unfortunately.

  5. Back in the day it was an expression of appreciation and admiration and accepted as such by women happy enough within themselves to welcome a flirtatious acknowledgement of their femininity. These days its considered as and being reviled as lewd or lascivious behaviour by people who could benifit from the experience. Its a sad world where something so innocently intentioned is turned around in such a way. Ive not heard any disparagement of women who exclaim at a mans desirability as being sexist. And the wolf whistle is not entirely mans province either. Ive been whistled at and on occasion provided harmonies mutually enjoyed….hahahaha. Lighten up ladies and other detracters Joanna’s right a bit of harmless fun. Ignore it or enjoy it but dont police it. Not being able to whistle tunefully i enjoyed other methods of distracting a womans wiles. haha . Cant sing either so im told. Didnt stop me though haha. Moral is accept the fun that enters your life, love, and
    being. Appreciate yourself when others do while you can. No one likes a wowser..

  6. Some people should get a life.A wolf whistle was a compliment,sadly I am now past the age of getting them!

  7. I have been wolf whistled at, in my younger days,and I have whistled at guys.
    If it happens now days they end up in court because it offends someone.
    I just laugh and carry on walking.

  8. I think Joanna is absolutely right. But then, I’d agree with ANYTHING Joanna said! She’s very agreeable lady, (wolf whistles, metaphorically), a very beautiful, very clever person!

  9. Joanna you are a shining star, how can we duplicate you beautiful and common sense too. omg just too much. 🙂

  10. I’m nearly sixty seven, as a young woman, I dreaded walking past building sites or other gatherings where men worked because I would get wolf whistles and shouted comments and I did not like, it made me feel very exposed. While I agree most men doing the whistling were probably just doing what seemed the thing men did, I am really glad it no longer happens.( not that it would now because I am old).

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