So, this is my first *feminist* post. I've been thinking a lot lately about the male gaze, and how it effects any and all women, including myself. I've been reading a lot about it all over the inter webs, first on Rookie (1 & 2) and this essay on thought catalog. It's another tidbit of societal norms that's going to continue to pick at me, probably [sadly] for as long as I live.
Today, before getting ready for another day at my "fashion" merchandising internship in an office, I ironed a pair of short, black, high-waisted shorts. I thought they'd be fine; it's a casual office. I come downstairs and my parents repeatedly say "no, no" and tell me to change– my shorts are too short. Then my dad tells me "there will be men around!" I was taken aback, yet hardly shocked after a second thought. Kendall Goodwin worded my feelings of anguish very eloquently:
" I suspect it’s difficult for men to imagine a world in which their bodies have long been inextricably linked to their value as an individual, and that no matter how encouraging your parents were or how many positive female role models you had or how self-confident you feel, there is an ever-present pressure that creeps in from all sides, whispering in your ear that you are your body and your body defines you."
I just think it's interesting how I have to change my shorts because it's my duty to shield my body from the non-permissed and unwanted male gaze, even at the friendly environment that is my work office. After expressing my anger to my parents, I was written off as hysteric and dramatic, like I always am about my "issues". ~~~Soooo sad~~~
As a women, I guess I'm always going to have to deal with this. I guess my body is always going to be public to stares and scrutiny in the way a male's body never will be. But, I refuse to be mad about it if I'm not going to do something about it. I'll try my best to be vocal and not take shit thrown at my face like this, but that's not going to take away the omnipresent male force that's going to shame me for just being a woman.