So I’ve started and deleted and restarted and deleted and restarted this post many times. I have something I want to say, and I don’t know how to say it; I hope this draft will actually get published because it is a topic I am very interested in: The objectification of women.
I was watching a television show and one of the main characters was wearing a “revealing” top (this show is from the 90’s so it was considered “revealing” back then). This particular top put all her curves on display and showcased her entire back. She said she liked the top because it made her feel “saucy.” As she walked down the hallway many guys leered in her direction, nodding in approval. She then came upon three guys who threw out comments such as “who turned down the temperature in here? It’s ice cold” and “Damn where you been hiding those?” (The third guy, her supposed best friend, just stood there and laughed.)
The next thing I know she is calling in to the hurt line, saying she was sexually harassed and suddenly she is a victim and the guys were all sent to sensitivity camp.
Now, while I fully believe those comments were disgusting, one of the male characters said something that made me think. He told her if she didn’t want to be objectified, she shouldn’t wear the outfits.
Huh. I think he has a point. I mean, come on. Most every single girl has worn a particular outfit just to get a guys attention, be it from one guy or a whole room. Girls know (most of the time) exactly what they are doing when they put on an outfit. She herself said it made her feel “saucy” and to that I say, good for you! A lot of girls don’t wear clothes they want to because they are too shy. She had guts! But don’t think that guys are supposed to look the other way and not think typical guy thoughts because you are only wearing the outfit to make yourself feel good. Plenty of girls have admitted to me that guys making comments and calling out to them *IS* what makes them feel good about themselves!
But then I started playing devils advocate. You wouldn’t believe how many men stare at my chest. It is UNBELIEVABLE. And I will admit it, YES! Sometimes I DO wear a particular top that will draw attention. I have worn plenty of dresses (both on purpose and not) that have caused men of various ages to call out to me. But I can wear a t-shirt and guys will still stare at my chest. I mean, I can’t help it. I have boobs. Every girl does, mine just happen to be bigger than others. Does that give men the right to stare at them?
See, here is the issue. No matter what I put on, 97.8% of the time, I will have cleavage showing. It is just a fact. I wear camisoles under my shirts, I sew the neck line up a little, I wear sweaters, I do all sorts of things to make the cleavage magically disappear (which it never does). And guys (even my gal friends) always point this out to me. They say, “woah, Lauren, showing a little cleavage there huh?” And I look in the mirror and my shirt is up rather high but I STILL HAVE CLEAVAGE THAT I CAN NOT CONTROL. So I calmly point out that I can’t help it, and I shouldn’t have to dress like a nun to be modest. It embarrasses me when they say this stuff; it makes me feel slutty when I am wearing a perfectly fine outfit.
So where do we draw the line? I think that if a girl puts on a revealing outfit, especially if this is done on purpose because she wants attention, then she deserves every derogatory mark shouted at her. But if a girl wears a t-shirt, A T-SHIRT, or any modest shirt, then it is unacceptable for guys to objectify her.
So what do you think? Am I completely wrong in my rationale? Did those guys in the show deserve to go to sensitivity training? Would you consider those marks to be sexually harassing? I’d love some input.