People listen to me differently, depending on how they judged me when first looked at me. Click To Tweet
A particularly annoying side effect of being a girl is knowing that I will always be judged on what I wear, no matter how intelligent I might be. Everybody looks at me before they listen; that’s normal. The thing that really gives the problem is that people listen to me differently, depending on how they judged me when first looked at me.
You asked for it! Did you look at you?
I remember this summer I was walking around the city in shorts. Because it was hot. I wanted to wear as little as I possibly could without feeling uncomfortable. I was pissed off by all the catcalling on the street and the weird looks in the bus. I don’t know why some men just can’t handle the view of my legs – but they can’t, they should at least keep for themselves if they like them or not. Although catcalling and street harassment is a problem, it’s not the point I want to address today. I want to write about the way these people saw me. And I am just 14.
So later that day, when I arrived at my friend’s, I complained, telling him that he is so lucky, as a guy, not to face this kind of problems. He didn’t comfort me; he didn’t say that it was not my fault.
The only thing he was able to say was ”Seriously, Isa, you asked for it! Did you look at you? I mean, those shorts are just so short; no normal man could possibly not stare at you! And anyway, why are you such a Drama Queen, just take it as a compliment!”
I was simply too shocked that day to give any answer, so I’m going to do it now:
1) I didn’t ask for anything!
2) Yes, I looked at myself, and I think these shorts look lovely on me
3) I don’t think that ”normal” men are the heterosexual men who are rude enough to stare at my legs long enough to scare me. Once again, I am still ‘only‘ an adolescent.
4) When somebody I don’t know allows himself to judge me, only through my body, and thinks that his opinion is important enough to be heard, that’s not a compliment. That’s just a lack of respect.
I wouldn’t dare that!
A few weeks ago I decided to wear that beautiful black skirt that has been hanging in my closet for ages. So I matched it with nice tights, a white T-shirt and my favourite shoes, and went to school. When I walked into the classroom, I immediately found myself surrounded by all the girls in my grade, even my friends, who didn’t even bother to say hello, and just stared at my skirt, or mostly at my legs, which weren’t very hidden by my skirt.
And just as I decided that I would be the one who says hello first, one of my friends looked at me very seriously and told me ‘‘I wouldn’t dare that, Isa”. Another girl came forward, touched my shoulder and asked me as if it were obvious that I had dressed like this for a guy ”For which one of them did you put THAT on for?” pointing at a group of boys.
Oh no, this was going really bad. Now that they had noticed that we were talking about them, the boys started staring at me too. I had a presentation that day, and while I was explaining something about romantic art, I had this weird feeling that no one even listened to what I was saying because my legs were much too interesting to focus on than anything else.
I felt so terrible with everybody staring at me and talking about me that I went home during a break to change into jeans and a sweatshirt. When I came back, I had the feeling that they started to listen to me again, but when I came home in the evening and saw the skirt lying on the floor, I had this awful feeling that I failed. I had let them decide for me, instead of wearing what I felt beautiful in. And by coming back in pants I had told them that they won and that their behaviour was okay. When I went to bed that night, I was sure that I am the worst feminist ever.