I’ve been ruminating over my own experiences as a pretty woman for some time now. On the one hand it has definitely benefited me in some ways. I understand that it can benefit me in larger ways that I don’t necessarily notice or know about because of the reaction our society has to attractive people. Here’s the thing, some days the positives probably do outweigh the negatives, but at 2 in the afternoon when I’m having to threaten to cut some guy on a bus to get him away from me and random bystanders are ready to victim blame because I had the nerve to wear shorts on a hot summer day it doesn’t feel like it.
I know street harassment (hell misogyny in general) knows no bounds and that women of all races and sizes deal with some version of it. I’m not trying to downplay anyone else’s experiences. I’m just focused on what I’ve noticed since I gained enough weight to move from a B cup to a D cup. I’m pretty in that way people are when they have symmetrical features, the genes for straight white teeth, and a socially accepted body type. Please note, I am not saying this is the only way to be attractive, it is simply the way in which I am attractive.
My decision to go natural, and put my hair into comb coils means that I now have longish hair with a minimum amount of effort. In the past when I was the aforementioned B cup and had a habit of wearing my hair short I’d run into harassment probably once or twice a week. Now? It’s pretty much daily. Some of it is definitely because I present as very feminine now (I have a grown up job that requires business casual attire and in the summer that means a lot of skirts because I hate long pants when the sun is trying to broil me alive) and that seems to make some men feel as though I’m dressing to attract their attention. Some of my harassers have gone so far as to claim that everything I do is to attract their attention. The other day I actually had a guy insist that I wouldn’t have sat in the same row as he did on the bus if I wasn’t interested. Apparently the concept of public transport eluded him. Then again so did the idea that he wasn’t entitled to my being receptive to his overtures so we went the standard misogynistic insult route when I didn’t play my part of his internal script.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010
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