This is by no means a novel topic or something that hasn’t been written about so eloquently by generations of women before me. However, after feeling publicly demeaned and objectified in front of students and staff at the high school I work at by a random man this morning, I am so upset and embarrassed. I felt this deep sense of shame and embarrassment that I know I shouldn’t but still do.
I felt embarrassed and tried to rationalize the situation, I thought “well, I guess my pants are a little tight today and I put some extra time this morning doing my hair and makeup.” This rationalizing was immediately met with anger though. NO! No one should scream sexual comments and talk about a woman’s looks as she is walking into her place of employment, or EVER for that matter.
I felt embarrassed as the high school students laughed and the school staff just stared. I didn’t know what to say or do, so I just gave the man a disgusted face and rushed inside the building.
It has been hours since it happened and I’m still sitting here deeply upset by it, but the embarrassment has worn off. I cannot blame myself for the actions of others, and I cannot let the sexist remarks and actions of another person make me feel worthless. The anger I feel is coupled with fear, because in that moment I was not FLATTERED, I was scared.
I was scared because I’ve been taken advantage of by men in the past, and I know that at any moment a random man can just do whatever he wants to me. It’s heartbreaking to know that no matter how smart, successful, and capable I am, I can always be reduced down to a mere sex object by a man.
It’s also so frustrating that this experience is all too common for women, and that often times when we do say something or express our feelings to either the harasser or someone outside of the situation, our feelings are belittled and reduced. Some people think it’s flattering, or worse they can’t even comprehend why it’s such a big deal to you.
I feel so defeated and just plain sad.