Let’s begin this post with a scenario.
There’s a girl wearing what she calls, her day-to-day look, but what you see as ‘wow, that’s a really short skirt, or that’s a really low top, or what she’s wearing is so provocative I hope she realises that…’
A girl you don’t know very well has been sleeping around with a guy, or she’s always getting with guys on a night out, or she’s flirtatious. No matter how many times we say ‘you do you’ or ‘kudos to her’ or we just nod with approval thinking ‘yes girl!’, there’s some who label her as ‘slut’ or ‘easy’. No matter how many times you disagree with that stigma, without a doubt I’m sure one of you have had the fleeting thought cross your mind that ‘oh, she’s just presented herself as easy; how stupid’.
So she lay in the bed, content with her satisfaction but conflicted with judgement.
So let’s start again.
A girl you don’t know very well has just slept with a guy. Because she wanted to. Because she let him. Not because she presented herself as ‘easy’. For Christ’s sake, let’s all cut the act of sex a little slack and realise that it’s something that person wanted to do.
The amount of times I’ve heard people label the girl that sleeps around or is flirtatious towards multiple boys as someone who’s easy and basically a ‘slut’ or anything you want to name it, has become a problem.
We shouldn’t be able to feel so insecure, vulnerable and disgusted in our own skin by the looks and comments other people make. How have we still not progressed past this? As we grow older obviously acts such as sex don’t feel as much big of a deal as they did back in high school, but the labelling still exists. It may not be exteriorly expressed, but the thought, as I have asked around for this post, exists. That’s where the damn problem lies. We’re aware of people thinking it, through their body language and facial expressions. Some men still think it’s okay to cat-call, or to slow their car down as they drive past me and roll their window down and make a sly, grimy comment that they think will boost my ego – and when you either don’t respond or retaliate, they become rude and obnoxious making it seem as if you had asked for it and it was your fault you couldn’t take a compliment which didn’t come from an innocent place in the beginning. We shouldn’t feel ashamed of what we wear in public places such as the tube and receive glares and dirty, judgemental looks from strangers that trigger that sense of self-shame, even if it is only for a splitting second. I spoke to a friend of mine who expressed his discomfort with judgemental looks from a complete stranger eyeing him up for his ever-growing amount of tattoos and piercings. And the most interesting thing about it was his responsive feelings towards it; for a second, he felt ashamed of his body art and the way he presented his individuality. For those of you who know me, I’m all up for expressing yourself in your own way – individuality is key. For someone to try and strip that away from you because they don’t feel it’s ‘right’ or ‘nice’ is absolutely disgusting. For someone to be able to make you feel gross in your own skin, even if it is only for a second, should be told to mind their own damn business.
So she sat, waiting for her stop, suddenly uncomfortable in her choice of clothing for he couldn’t stop staring at her bare legs. Hell, we’ve all got a pair of legs.
She sat across from you, minding her own business and here you are, staring. But at what?
Too many times have we, women and men, been made to feel uncomfortable in our own skin – made to feel that we should dress down, or not act a certain way because that person sat opposite you on the tube stared you up and down like you were a bizarre piece of broken statue in the museum with a face that screamed “what on earth are you?” or not meant to express ourselves the way we do. I knew a girl who was in and out of bedsheets with multiple guys and she always presented herself as carefree and one who shrugged off judgement. But there was one conversation that made me realise she shrugged it off for others to believe that she didn’t care when really, all she did was care. But she was conflicted with her own happiness and pleasure she got from doing what she wanted. Aware of the insulting reputation she had, she carried on acting the way people labelled as ‘slutty’ and ‘easy’ and ‘dirty’. Why? Her convincing argument was because they were jealous and she said this with a sad laugh, as if she were still trying to convince herself of that. But you could see the pain she felt that others were judging her for it, but also the conflict she felt to continue doing whatever the hell she wanted to do regardless. And she responded to my questions that the worst thing about judgement was how conflicted you become with yourself. You continue to do the things you do that pleasure you but give you judgement because you want to prove to those who judge you that what you’re doing is alright – because it makes you happy. But it’s making you unhappy that others are judging you and creating a reputation on your behalf. She described it as an inner-battle; wanting to show them that she didn’t care when she did care because who doesn’t care about what people think of them?
So I say, enough with the judgement.
Enough with the disapproving looks.
Enough with the way some of you are able to make us feel it’s our fault for retaliating against a wolf-whistle/cat-call.
Enough with us not wanting to wear that cute skirt we bought.
Enough with us not being able to express that hell, we’re sexually active.
Enough with others constantly judging us behind our backs but to our faces, giving us ‘support’ for it.
Enough of the inner judgement rather than expressing it verbally and doing it the ‘high-school way’ where you were labelled.
So she glanced behind her, checking if he was still eyeing her up.
Over time though, that girl’s supposedly ‘friends’ who judged her, gave her something she wouldn’t have found so easily: smugness. To hell with the idea that it was men taking away her pride. To hell with the stigma that she was too easy and spread her legs too ‘fast’. She was the one, like the poem of Salome, who invited them to her bed. She was the master of her own choices and all that mattered was that it made her happy.
And so she sat, knowing that she didn’t care what people thought because all that mattered was how she perceived herself.
That girl you walked past today and judged a little for how short her skirt was, does not care about your judgement because she’s pleased with her purchase.
That discomforting look you gave someone on the tube doesn’t mean anything to them. It may have for a second, but because they’ve acknowledged it, they’re going to throw it over their shoulder and carry on walking. Because enough is enough, and it’s time that we retaliated against reputations made by others for us, retaliated against how others can make us feel on public transport or in a conversation or through body language and how a frown can honestly turn our day upside down.
So she looked away, suddenly intrigued by what was outside the window. Which of course, was nothing but pitch black darkness. But she had to pretend something else had caught her attention right? She couldn’t show that she was affected by your judgement.