Judge me, but do so silently.

Why do men often think they have the right to express their opinion about a woman’s appearance or behaviour when it is totally inappropriate?

Scenario one: I used to have this manager, (and I use that term loosely) who used to be inappropriate with the female staff. It never went completely over the top but there were arms round the shoulders, hands on the back, accidental brushes by, general creepiness.

One day he looked me up and down and said “You’re too skinny, you’ve lost a lot of weight, you need to eat more.”

Now he probably deemed this as a compliment because every girl wants to be told they are skinny, right?

Well no, actually.

First of all, while I had lost weight, I was not unhealthy or ‘too skinny.’ Second of all, don’t look me up and down. And lastly, you are my manager not my boyfriend or even my friend. Totally inappropriate for you to comment on my appearance at all. Also I actually took this as an insult. I don’t want to look ‘too skinny’ or even skinny at all actually. I want to look healthy and fit of course but don’t assume I want to be skinny please.

For future reference to males (and females) of the species, telling a girl she is too skinny is not a compliment.

Scenario two:

We’ve been back at work for the new year for about a week or so. We all go out to the pub on a Friday night.

There’s a new guy from work who approaches me and introduces himself. I’ve talked to this guy several time before at work but he insists he’s never met me. Upon more questioning he discovers he has in fact met me.

He says, “Wow, you look a lot different with makeup on. You look a lot better when you put some effort in.”

I kid you not, those were his exact words.

I am of course gobsmacked (and slightly amused) So I just sit there and listen to this guy. Keep in mind I have barely even said hello to this guy. He doesn’t really require another voice for a conversation if you know what I mean. He then proceeds to tell me how he thinks we should “just be friends.” and how he once had a relationship with a workmate and it didn’t work out (small wonders) so he’s really sorry but he doesn’t think we should go there. He finds me attractive but it’s just not to be.

Now you understand I am completely heartbroken as I have missed out on this fine specimen from the dating pool but I eventually pick myself up and carry on with my so called life.

So what’s my point?

I guess it’s that men have a sense of entitlement about having an opinion on a woman’s looks or actions. .

But it’s not just men, is it? We constantly judge each other on our appearances and I know I have been guilty of it.

Maybe we should try to say more positive things about ourselves, each other and our bodies as women. Maybe if we say these things and start to believe them, future generations (as well as current) will stand up to these men who think they have the right to tell us how to look, what to wear or how to behave.

Also, if someone is saying something to you or about you, confront them and let them know it is not o.k. Do not be afraid of someone’s opinion because in the end only one opinion matters.

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