While attending a nutrition conference, my husband took a picture of me in a professional dress in front of a fruit background. Thinking the photo was great, I posted it on social media.
I received a ton of wonderful comments from friends and family, until this comment appeared.
Frankly, I was offended. First of all, I don’t personally know this individual. They are a friend of a family member. Second of all, yes, I am curvy, and reside on the top-heavy side. Considering the fact that I wasn’t posing provocatively or showing any cleavage, I found this comment to be unwarranted. Facebook offers an option to ask an individual who leaves a comment on your posts to remove them. I politely asked him to remove the comment and thought that it would just be removed without further incident.
I was wrong. What followed had my feminist blood absolutely boiling.
What is inherently wrong with this comment is that this individual is basically stating that by posting pictures on social media, you are leaving yourself open to negative comments, and if you don’t like it, you shouldn’t be on social media. So does this also mean that because if I leave my house and I am running the risk of someone harassing me on the street, I should just stay home to avoid those kinds of situations?
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it.
Comments like these are the equivalent to street harassment, or cat-calling. This behavior is not limited to personal interactions with strangers, and has become a daily occurrence for many women both outside their homes and online. Cat-calling helps maintain an environment where the mentality that women are the weaker sex and violence is allowed to thrive, allowing rape culture to continue existing. It’s not cute. It’s not witty. It’s not funny.
It’s offensive. It’s disgusting. It’s violating.
Cat-calling creates feelings of uneasiness, self-judgement and doubt. I actually thought about taking the image down when I first saw the comment.
“Should I not have worn that dress? Does it really draw that much attention to my breasts? Maybe I should have worn pants and a blouse.”
Uneasiness, self-judgment and doubt. And then anger. I realized that it is not my fault that this individual chose to see my body in a sexual manner while others chose to see it otherwise. It’s not my fault that this individual took time out of his day, away from his wife and his daughter, to comment on my body. It’s not my fault. It’s never any woman’s fault. The entire argument of “she was asking for it” holds no ground. No one ever asks for it. No matter how tight the dress. No matter how large the breasts. No matter how short the skirt.
This was my response.
To which I received a prompt:
No, good sir, I will not get over myself, nor will I be getting over myself anytime soon. It is you who should stop publicly objectifying women. It’s not funny. It’s not cute.
And frankly, you should be setting a better example for your daughter. You should be teaching her to find a man that is kind, respectful of women and a gentleman. A man who will appreciate that a woman can be sexy without making her feel uncomfortable about it. A man that would never hide behind social media and believe that it is OK to make offensive comments toward someone that they don’t even know because that person is not directly in front of them. You should be the walking, talking, perfect example of the partner you hope that she will someday find.
I hope you change.