Joanna Lumley: Wolf whistling isn't sexist - it's a compliment

Women who find themselves a target of wolf whistling in the street should stop muttering about everyday sexism and take it as a compliment, according to Joanna Lumley.

The veteran model and Absolutely Fabulous actress waded into the sexism debate as she argued too many people have become overly-PC "sensitive flowers".

"How can wolf whistling be offensive to women? It’s a compliment,” she told the Mirror newspaper.

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

Lumley as a model in the 1970s. Credit: PA

Lumley claimed people were "tougher" when she first rose to fame in the 1960s, whereas people are "very offended by everything" nowadays.

“When I was modelling photographers were much ruder, they’d say ‘You look frightful, what’s the matter with you?’ ‘You look podgy, you look fat as a pig’," she recalled.

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

She spoke out as a growing number of women push back against what they say is persistent casual street harassment by men.

Lumley has become known for her outspoken views on politics. Credit: PA

It's not the first time Lumley has made controversial comments over the role of women.

She was criticised in 2013 after suggesting women who get drunk and wear the "wrong clothes" are inviting sexual assaults.

"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.