Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Sexualization Of Women: Crossing The Line





Being an excitable a little girl wanting to learn new things, I ended taking swimming lessons. 

One week there was a parents week, and every child could show what they learned swimming.

All the excitement ended when the instructor shoved my head underwater trying to force me to swim…and then he brought me up for air. It was terrifying. It took me many more years till I felt comfortable in the water.

But this isn’t about that.

Yet here is one thing that I felt comfortable with.

On parent’s week, my parents must have left the locker room where I as a very small girl was getting dressed.

They came out to the swimming area to parents gathered around a small child.

A very small naked child.

It was me, sans clothing.

I was NAKED.

I think it was the first time I realized it is not ok to be naked,so the adults said, as in my baby book it looks like I loved stripping. :p

Once being  little I even went to church without any underwear. I  probably went along stripping everything off and my mother must have caught me halfway dressed before going to church.

But she missed a spot: p

Which leads me to one thought.

When do we, as children, see that boys and girls “have” to dress differently? We see little kids stomping around naked all the time. They can’t WAIT to get their clothes off.  

For kids it’s completely natural. 

And yet we get upset at little girls and tell them to go back in the house and get dressed while the boys run around half naked (if not completely.) Who made these rules?

A society that shames women.

A society that teaches women to be ashamed of their bodies, whatever the size…

So, when do girl’s bodies start to be sexualized and why are they shamed about their bodies? Why can boys AND men run around without a shirt on completely topless with their junk hanging out? (Doesn’t matter what they weigh either)

Why do too many judge women for being comfortable in less clothes? Just because a woman wants to feel comfortable in what she wears ( A bikini, clothes, whatever) and a guy who is wearing a speedo or shorts... who gets sexualized?

The woman!

I think we’ve been conditioned for too many years to be this way.

Hell, in Europe, women DO go topless. Here is my question… Why can men be comfortable, but women aren’t allowed? 

When do women start being sexualized and shamed about their bodies? Practically from the womb…

I don’t know if it’s worse in America, or not…but I have to wonder about it. What is the DEAL? (I would LOVE hearing about that in the comments below as I haven’t been overseas yet) 

Not long ago I saw a picture of a friend where everyone round in circles that got smaller and smaller…I looked at that picture for a second…ALL of them were completely naked. The only thing I could think was WOW…the FREEDOM in that picture…no one was ogling…everyone just looked comfortable with themselves. Everything in life does NOT need to be sexual. Everyone looked like they were just comfortable in their own skin. And I thought WOW, to be like that!

To illustrate my point on how women are treated, I give you this:

Last weekend I went to a park as a friend I consider a very gifted piano player had invited me to sing at a music in the park gig he had with his piano.

He had invited some friends, and we were all hanging around outside. One guy I didn’t know was playing a drum with some drumsticks sitting on a bench behind me.

It was hot as Hades outside, and I wore what I was comfortable in. ( A blue miniskirt with pants underneath- it was so hot I had considered not wearing pants with it, but I rolled up the pants into shorts, and had a halter top on…not that it matters… it doesn’t. )

Well that random drummer guy who I had just met (A complete stranger) stuck a drumstick from the drum he  played literally up my skirt when I wasn't looking. I was enraged…but at first I just cracked a joke (after all isn’t that what women are taught to do? Make men feel comfortable even when we are NOT? ) I was standing in front of an upright piano singing and my back was turned...(later on I found out the guy next to him had been egging him on saying "get it on" and this lady kept telling him to stop- he actually did it 3 times! He must have been doing it in a why that I couldn't feel it... maybe under my skirt but in the air at first and then got brazen enough to pull what he did)  I consider what he did assault... I thought “HELL NO” This is NOT OK!  I was singing and I turned around and ripped him a new one. I said “Don’t you fucking touch me." That is NOT ok. 

Then he tried to make excuses…and said” lets just play music” Like what he did hadn’t even happened.

 I said “NOT AFTER WHAT YOU JUST DID! No more mansplaining…. and there is no excuse whatsoever for what you just did”. I am not putting up with it”. 

Then he tried to explain it away even more saying:

“It could have been a dick.” 

Ok, I was LIVID now. 



I said “just because a woman is comfortable with her own body and wears what she is comfortable in, just like you can run around without a shirt, I should be able to be comfortable without being assaulted. 

You see how messed up this is??? 

I wish I would have said “guess what? Your hands that are on that stick, or on your “junk”??  YOU are the one who has control of it, and if you chose to “do” anything with it YOU are the one responsible. Not me.

Anyway, he finally just left…

Afterword’s someone (one of the ladies there) told me that the guy was putting out the drumstick pretending to catch my scarf that was dangling but where my scarf is and my skirt is are very definitive thank you ( I still can't believe she excused him... it's sad when women make excuses for men because it just enables them to continue harassing women and therefore lets the guy off- this is exactly my point: 

Here is where the HUGE problem is…women either pull together- and when they do, it is an amazing thing to see- or they  can turn into a mob, excusing and letting men get away with murder…this mentality of letting men off for whatever despicable behavior needs to STOP.)

Those that really know me, can probably figure out how and why I responded the way I did..

It doesn't matter to me what other people think... I don't wear things that make me feel comfortable for other people... I wear it for me because it feels good  (since I was Mormon and have covered up for most of my adult life- for the first time ever I have been able to feel the sun on my shoulders!)  I am wearing what makes me feel comfortable... I'm learning to become comfortable with my body despite what the Mormon churches bigoted idea of women has been.  And nothing pisses me off more than people acting as if I dress for them and not myself...( men have actually said things to me as if I was made to dress for them- There is nothing more arrogant than any male who thinks the ultimate reason I am wearing something pretty is for them. It makes me want to tell them off.)

So…men take note...just because a woman is comfortable in their own body just like you are without a top on a hot day (Or whatever you wear, or don't) don't automatically assume (which makes and ass out of you and me:p) that they are "easy".  If a woman wears a sun dress that has a bit of a lower back it doesn't mean they want to be touched by a man... on their arms, back or anywhere at all if you are behind them. WHY do some of you automatically think its ok???

This has happened numerous times, and it annoys the hell out of me. I don't like it. This happens where I work out in the pool at the gym too. WTH??? Its not ok. I OWN MY BODY, NOT you. 

There are times it feels like some men act like they own women’s bodies to do with what they like, and this is NOT ok.

There is a guy I know  that does it in front of their wife, even where he stands in a way that his wife can't see him do it where it’s even worse. This has been happening off and on and I've had enough. I may not haul off and hit him, but he is going to get a piece of my mind if he doesn’t stop, and I may not be polite next time. I do NOT like being touched. (By men anyway who aren’t my husband... women I'm cool with.) (By the way this older gentleman touched me and then while I was in my dress hanging out with the ladies in a room is well liked there)

I have a friend who had this to say about how women are treated:

"It's only some men, and yes, they touch you on your skin and that's so inappropriate!!! Its so creepy!! A guy that's trying to flirt with me will be very delicate about it and I may have signaled that I'm flirting, and that's welcomed. But when I'm just present, talking, not flirting, don't fucking touch my skin! It's molesting feeling. Most men aren't given any signals anyway that they can touch me, anywhere.”

The thing that bugs me the most is that I feel like I need to be polite about touching (There’s that making men feel comfortable despite my discomfort thing again that women are so good at. Ug!)   but I don't want to alienate any of the women I know where I frequent (most of them are older ladies where I am are all pretty old school- .which means some are the type to pretend there is no problem- which ADDS to the problem- (there is a guy at this place I frequent that sits in a certain area and stares at me- till I move out of eye shot of ...he looks women up and down...not just at me, but at the other ladies too- I call him on it and he finally stopped-(its just creepy)

I heard that the ladies I know there  talked about it at some breakfast and they had decided that it really wasn't a problem...so I stood up for them for nothing....though I would still do it again, especially since he stopped doing it. Why is it too often that women don't stand up for each other?) 

Now that I have been thinking about it, I’ve been looking into different things and I am thinking I need to stand up for myself, but I wonder…as a child, having to always defend myself, did I feel everyone was out to get me? Is this what’s happening now in some ways? Why do I even have to question myself about it? (YAY, being a woman is so confusing sometimes:p)

In life now, do I need to keep up a wall, or can I take it down? I don’t know.

(My husband and I were talking- here’s what thoughts came out of that below)

A few days later, I was recounting the experience of the guy sticking that drumstick where the sun don’t shine with a friend at the Gym and her husband sat in a chair close to her as I was recounting the story…. His wife said "well, men just can’t control themselves."

Oh boy.

Now what if they had a son and daughter and they had been standing there with them?

What lesson would they have learned? The boy would have learned that “it’s ok to act like an imbecile”.
 “Men will be Men” also equates to “Boys will be Boys”... And what boy wouldn’t want to hear  “Hey do what you want, stick that thing where you want, take what you want, because you just can’t control yourself, and no one will blame you, cause it’s just in your nature, because, hey, you’re a Man!!!???”

And what of the daughter standing by? What lesson did she just take in? “Hey, don’t get mad when he puts his stick up your dress, because he just can’t control himself.” It’s bad enough as a child, and when she grows to be woman, and someone does it to her, or worse.



 “Oh, it’s ok, because, Hey, he’s a Man!!! And they just can’t control themselves”. “Oh, don’t tell on him, because it’s my fault, I was asking for it, because, hey, he’s a man.”

When that daughter is a mother, what do you think she will teach her children? And when she is a grandmother? What does she tell her grandchildren? But don’t worry; she is probably just reinforcing what their mother is teaching them, what she herself taught their mother…

Do you get it? It’s perpetual, and reinforcing.

So, what are you teaching your children? Who are you excusing?

I think there is a word for this, it’s called enabling.

But it all comes down to this… What are YOU teaching your children? Your Sons AND Daughters?

So in FIN, you have to ask yourself this question, what perpetual lessons are you leaving for MANkind? (hmm.. I mean humankind), what is your Legacy? 
  
Choose the lesson WELL. Tomorrows generation of women may suffer because of it…or not.

Its all up to you.


8 comments:

  1. This is brilliant! Thank you for sharing your experience and your insight.

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  5. Sheila Kelly's Ted talk speaks to this exact issue. Her movement has literally changed my life and the way I view myself, my body, and the world around me. I've learned to love my body in ways that I didn't even know were possible, have gained an incredible community of empowered, like minded sisters (a tribe, really), and have uncovered my erotic creature. I have come a long way as a recovering Mormon but know there is still much to be unraveled. I'm so grateful to Sheila and her movement for providing women a safe place to explore their bodies and their emotional sexuality, both of which were unexistant as even an option for a young, Mormon girl or even for grown women of the faith. Keep growing and expanding! It is indeed our true nature. Xoxo
    http://youtu.be/Lrdn4lazVBc

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  6. Thanks Ammie...I will check it out when I have a free moment :) thanks for your comment... and the video! :)

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  7. THAT WAS POWERFUL!!! Thank you Ammie. (and I got to see a Daniel Craig in a bra ;p)

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