Author’s note – (18/10/2017) This post was originally published on 19th July 2014. I am republishing, more than three years on, as the post feels as relevant as before with the current #MeToo publicity. For my take on the #MeToo movement, check out #METOO: A GUIDE FOR THE MEN IN MY LIFE.
What is it about the hot weather that makes men go weak at the knees? Okay, boys, today the mercury hits 30°C so, I admit it, I’m wearing shorts. Short shorts at that.
But guess what? You’re still just some random guy, mentally undressing me in a rather obvious way (eyes swivel up and down, a stupid grin on your face).
Do you think you’ve got a chance with me? Honestly? You think that this oi oi-worthy super hot woman in, heavens above, SHORTS, would give you a second glance? Let alone stop, turn around, and say “Hey hot stuff, I just loved how you unashamedly stared at my breasts and then used a godawful chat up line. Fancy coming back to mine?”.
I know you probably don’t mean to be aggressive or scary, but being a woman walking along the street alone, I feel intimidated when you assess my sexual attractiveness and, on that basis, say hello/whistle/ogle.
So do you think you’re being nice? All through winter, when I’m snuggled up in my fleece-lined anorak, earmuffs on, you don’t give me a second glance. Then summer arrives, I wear a t-shirt, a dress or shorts, and all of a sudden it’s “oi oi” from passing white vans, wolf whistles from building sites, and “good moooooorning” from passing (male) pedestrians. And guess what? I don’t feel flattered or like the luckiest girl in the world to be on the receiving end of one of your slobbery dog looks.
Perhaps you think I should just loosen up, chill out. Of course, there’s no law against you looking at my body. And of course, in this heat, in shorts and t-shirt, it’s just ASKING to be looked at. I mean, if I’m going to not wear a burqua, I should just EXPECT to be ogled. You’re just showing appreciation for my womanly curves and beauty. Aw, sweet.
The problem is, you don’t get it. I’m surrounded by tv programmes, newspapers, and adverts showing scantily-dressed slim girls, admired for their looks, surrounded by fully clothed men, admired for their success. As a woman I am bombarded by messages telling me that my only worth as a human is as an object to be looked at by men, to look good. I don’t blame you for this, but as a man you can’t understand what this is like. You can’t understand what it’s like to be publicly appraised for nothing but your perceived “hotness”. This happens to me every single day when the sun comes out.
I actually don’t want you to publicly judge me on my looks, to appraise my body, to intimidate me in the street. So why not give me a break? It’s 30°C out and I assert my right to wear shorts without harrassment.