I recently realised that being on the receiving-end of lewd stares and crude comments from unknown men is a common occurrence in my day-to-day life and up until now I’ve never questioned why that is or whether it’s fair to be objectified on the basis of my sex. And such an issue is faced by an overwhelming majority of women in society.
Wolf whistles, car beeps, long unblinking stares and suggestive comments from men, are what most women must endure when they decide to venture out of the house; and all of these are forms of sexual harassment.
Now I’d like to stress that such actions are in no way flattering… if anything they’re frightening when coming from complete strangers! I’ve been bothered by unwanted ‘admirers’ when I’ve been alone and walking to the train station, waiting to catch a bus or even when I’ve been exercising in the gym! Face coated in sweat and hair tied messily in a ponytail… I just don’t understand the appeal!
But even if a woman decides to wear a tight-fitted dress with heels, or perhaps she’s naturally blessed with having exceptionally flawless hair or a great figure, that does NOT automatically bestow men with the right to pursue her. Most of the time such men are harmless and are merely looking for an ego-boost… but what happens if you’re unfortunate enough to encounter a man who doesn’t take ‘no’ for answer? Such fears are valid and it’s only natural to be filled with feelings of anxiety when approached by a relentless stranger.
Moreover, chauvinistic retorts like ‘why would a woman make so much of an effort unless she’s intending to entice a man?’ Are absolutely ridiculous! If I feel like making an effort with my appearance for no absolute reason… you can be sure that I WILL and that’s purely to boost my own self-confidence and self-image.
And let’s just say for argument’s sake that a woman DOES get dolled-up with the intention of attracting the male gaze… that still doesn’t provide men with the authorisation to approach her in an unrelenting fashion. Know your limits, perverted men. No woman will EVER find a creepy stalker attractive!
So I’d just like to stress that women are NOT objects. We may ignore your shallow comments and continue to walk by, but that doesn’t mean that we sanction them or are grateful for them in any way. We silently walk away because we want to get away from you in the quickest and safest way possible!
Furthermore, these same men would absolutely, definitely suffer mild heart attacks if they ever saw their sisters or mothers approached and hassled in a similar way. And it’s absurd to me that such double-standards probably never even cross their minds!
Therefore I feel it’s vital that boys are educated from a young age, both at home and in schools, that women are to be respected and not objectified or sexualised. I’m certainly not implying that ALL men objectify women, but there is definitely a small minority that needs to be targeted and educated in the ways of treating women; or sexual harassment will remain prevalent in the day-to-day lives of most women.