FEEL: Angry About Being Objectified

I have fallen into the trap of wearing a, not imposed, uniform to work. What with the daily commute of walking 3 miles, a train and a tube, in crammed conditions, comfort is important but also the ability to walk fast is crucial. I have therefore come to rely on the lazy attributes of minimal chic. A pair of bikerboots, plimsoles or Birkenstocks with differing textures/prints/colours of jeans and a plain top be it a cashmere sweater or silky T. So this morning I decided to shake it up a bit and I wore a similarly plain top, but I put on a skirt. This is ground breaking news to report to you. Well it isn’t, is it?
What is worth you reading about is the fact on my less than a mile walk to Wimbledon train station I got honked twice and had one charming fellow yell something suggestive out of his window as he drove by. It’s so wonderful to know that my legs are that desirable these guys just cannot help themselves (not) but what is so shocking about a girl wearing a skirt in July?
My next sentence was going to describe the weather and conditions on the tube to justify my choice of ensemble. Why on earth did I almost just try to justify wearing a skirt? Why does my wearing said skirt mean I have to listen to men leering at me? I shook off my anger at the unruly and objectifying men and this was truly shaken when upon arriving at work I received a plethora of compliments. My boss began the run of niceties with “Ooh you look lovely! Are you off out tonight, eh?” No I’m not even going out this evening, I’m desperate for an early night, I just am not wearing jeans and Birkenstocks. My friendly colleagues made me feel better although ran the point home that I had let myself get into a style rut!
However, the man related drama developed further while waiting to buy a salad in Mayfair. A man walked past me as I stood with my back to the pavement queuing to get in the door of the popular lunchtime bistro, and stroked my legs. Full on ran his hand across the back of my legs. At first shocked I was stunned for a moment and rendered speechless. Then I realised what had happened. Are my bare legs an invitation to be leered at all day, to receive sexist jaunts, and even, to be touched against my will? NO!
I’m wary of how to explain best that me making an effort with my appearance and obviously with the objective that people think I like nice and yet when it is clearly working and strangers are validating my efforts that I am offended. I want to look good because it makes me feel confident and it makes me feel well put together, in control and on top of things. I want my boyfriend to think I look great, I want my colleagues, even, to think I look nice rather than not. I also do not object to strangers thinking I look good as opposed to bad. However it changes when there is a sexual undertone to the leers and when somebody invades acceptable personal space and does something that makes a woman feel uncomfortable, by any degree.
This is a continuous issue. Many of you reading this might jokingly think “I wouldn’t mind receiving a honk”, indeed my Mum feels rather smug like “I still got it” when she gets one. And I am aware not to take things to seriously but actually it is serious. The honks are the start of it, but when being touched and, further still, defences are made in the courtroom such as “She was dressed provocatively” well then there is nothing to joke about.
For a moment with such a list of skirt related incidents today I felt self conscious and longed for my style rut attire back. But I will not. I look good in my skirt and I'm allowed to say so. You can even say so if you feel the desire. However what you are not allowed to do is consider my skirt, my fellow females' dress, my wonderful womens' low cut top as an invitation. It is never an invitation unless she says so. And today, I say NO!


This entry was posted on Friday, 11 July 2014 and is filed under ,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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