On Objectification

I’m, typically, a quite confident person. It’s apparently something other people notice, as my TA observer today positively pointed out how comfortable and confident I am in the classroom. I’ve also been told that my confidence makes me seem a bit intimidating or stand-offish when you first meet me. Either way, it something I’ve grown into. Sometime I’ve built the past four years.

Today, my confidence was shaken.

Let me start off by reiterating how much I love fashion. I love shopping for new clothes; I love when I can find an outfit that fits me just right. That makes me look and feel good. For myself.

Today, I felt good. I looked good. And as I walked into the student union to grab some lunch and a coffee, a group of men decided to make it known just how good they thought I looked. Why they would assume that audibly objectifying me whilst I was two feet away from them was a good idea, I’ve no clue. I do know that it made me extremely uncomfortable. That it still makes me extremely uncomfortable.

There’s this stupid assumption that just because a woman (or man) dresses nicely, s/he have to be vying for attention. As if I wear the things that I wear to catch some dude’s eye. As if.

Even more terrifying is the thought that a man could openly sexually harassing women on Youtube as a ‘prank’ and not get his video taken down right away. That some people actually think it’s funny. But I won’t even get into that. (There have been amazing responses to the Sam Pepper clusterfuck on Youtube including this.) That people could look at a woman’s outfit and think that she deserved whatever treatment she received because of the way that she was dressed. It’s disheartening, to say the least.

I think the worst part is that I don’t think I would ever feel comfortable actively saying, “Hey. Stop.” Especially when it’s a group. This isn’t to say that they were threatening. They weren’t, at all. But, what if they were?

And now, I don’t know if I want to wear what I was going to wear tomorrow. Because it’s short. Because it could illicit a response that I don’t want.

I guess the overall takeaway of this post is to say that objectification is stupid. My body is my body, and unless I give permission, no one has the right to comment on it. No one.

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