As a young woman, I had to get used to the weird stares from creepy guys.
Through my annoyance and frustration, I would ask myself:
Why is it ok for men to objectify me simply because I try to look nice?
Recently, at a pool party, I had the opportunity to further reflect on this. A fellow mama friend made a comment regarding her teenage son and the bikini-clad girls at the pool party:
“My poor son! These girls walk by like that and he must resist so much temptation!”
I knew exactly what she meant. Yet, this simple statement revealed a popular convention that holds women to a higher standard than that of men. It is a standard based on the pretext that men are, in some way, helpless to the “hypnotic” effects of feminine beauty.
And oftentimes as moms, we perpetuate this norm.
I admit there are fashion faux pas and styles that can look more vulgar than beautiful. I also agree it is quite natural to admire the female form, much like we appreciate art.
However, we must put a halt to this widely accepted notion that excuses someone who objectifies another, simply because of their attire.
As if clothing should have the power to dehumanize!
I believe all people possess a great value – even if they do not see that worth in themselves. I am also confident that boys and men can rise to the occasion and elevate their minds so they can see humanity in others first.
But they will only do so if we give them that chance. If we teach them when they are young.
That it is never OK to objectify anyone.
Far from better, nowadays, both men and women are objectified by both genders.
So, in reality, this goes out to both my girl and boy mamas: Please don’t blame others. Let’s teach our boys and girls to appreciate what is beautiful, along with the person. And to have enough self-awareness to hold themselves accountable.
Only then can we begin to see a change in the way we see others and even ourselves. To see the beauty within every single one of us that surpasses the physical. And find deeper connections. Dare I say, find something a bit closer to world peace??