Although I feel that I am playing blog roulette with the subject of this post, it is something that I was invited to get off of my chest, and I can’t turn that down. I will just preface this by saying that this post is not aiming to stereotype, over generalize or alienate any group or individual, but to explore an issue I have been dealing with.
It’s me, Becca. I am a young, attractive woman of which I am very well aware.
How awful does that sound? I wouldn’t know, because I would never actually say something like that out loud. Don’t let me confuse you. I find myself attractive, enough. Like everyone else in the world, I have things I dislike about my physical appearance here and there, but overall, I am grateful for my looks. I am confident, enough. But if you can believe it, this post is about much bigger things than being pretty. You’re world just shattered, didn’t it? I know. I heard it.
Now, stop looking at my ass please.
Is it just me, or is there a reason harass is pronounced “her-ass”? As much as I wish I could, I have never been in a man’s head. I love men. I even envy men. Y’all seem more laid back, less judgmental of your friends, and more straightforward in general. Plus y’all actually look good with wrinkles. But, I often wonder if men ever desire to be in a woman’s head. I wonder if any one man would ever actually desire to feel what a woman feels. Especially when that colleague walks by me scanning my entire body like a bar code. Especially when that look is followed by a comment about how he can’t help but look at my ass. Forget asking how my day is going. Whether you want the knowledge or not, here it is. You’re in my head:
Don’t make eye contact. He does this every time. Why can’t he tell how uncomfortable that makes me? He is about to comment openly about my ass again, I can feel it. At least that would be better than him making another comment about how much he would enjoy me in a mini skirt. If he does make the ass comment, I will have to laugh it off awkwardly. Otherwise, I will surely forever be considered that cold, bitchy girl. I should start wearing potato sacks. Hell, I practically do anyway. Probably wouldn’t help. God this is so unnerving. I wish I could disappear. I need to learn to just deal with it. I guess.
No, I shouldn’t have to deal with it, but I am also too chicken shit to do anything about it. Receiving a genuine compliment is wonderful, but sexual harassment is not. So where is the line? I don’t know. What I do know is that it gets crossed, and often. With every unwelcome sexual advance, it leaves me with a hopeless feeling that no matter how smart, creative, successful, funny, caring, or driven I am, I will ultimately be reduced to a piece of ass. The worst part is that laughing it off is a common response, sort of like a nervous coping mechanism. I know, because I do it. But this only encourages the behavior. The whole cycle is just confusing and disheartening.
Sexual harassment isn’t something I ever truly thought was real. I remember discussions about it in college Ethics class. Call me oblivious, but I remember thinking to myself, “People don’t act like that anymore. Not in today’s society. We have learned better than that”. Apparently, not all of us have, and I am encountering a lot of those people.
This got me thinking about how I might be seen minus the sexual partition that can overshadow the other attributes that make me, me. What would I look like to someone across the room if all he could see was my sense of humor, my personality, my passion or my soul, and would it hold his gaze? I like to think so, but it has become difficult to tell. Would he like me sitting Indian style on my coffee table reading to myself as I occasionally tuck my hair behind my ears and snicker aloud when somethings really funny, or would I have to be dressed in lingerie for him to even take time to envision that?
Is it all just a misunderstanding between what men believe women like to hear and what women think of men’s sexuality? Did I somehow lead that guy on, or is that way of thinking only a form of making excuses? Or maybe this is simply a result of the inherent nature of our sexes. These are all questions that have convened in my mind.
I wish that woman and men were more inclined to let each other know how things make them feel. We can’t possibly know someone’s every intention, but it isn’t entirely impossible to gain some perspective if we just ask. If no perspective is available, then we can always fall back on empathy. We forget to use that. Obviously, I don’t have all of the answers, but I would like to open this up for discussion.
Note from Le Clown: Becca was Freshly Pressed yesterday for her post Hanging Up The Tutu. I’m proud of you my friend. It is a well-deserving post.