A few weeks ago I was walking down a street on my way to the gym wearing a pair of patterned leggings and a large hooded jacket. I passed a man who I would guess was roughly the same age as me whom I had never seen before. Upon seeing me he made a comment about my “nice” pants and then, as I had just passed him, I heard him mutter about my bum being “nice” too.
This is not the first time that a complete stranger has felt it is appropriate to comment on my body nor will it be the last. I imagine that, at some point in her life, every single woman out there has received unwanted comments about her body from a random guy who thought it was okay to make them.
I receive these comments with a mixture of feelings. They annoy me because the men who make them have no right to do so. They frustrate me because the same men do not seem to understand why they don’t have this right. They bore me because I’m regularly told the same things about my own body and, quite frankly, I am sick of it.
Most of the time I ignore these sleazy remarks but that day I decided to bite.
I turned around with a big fake smile on my face and, as innocently as I could, said “Oh, I’m sorry I missed that. What did you say?” This guy who had no problem whatsoever sexualising me 10 seconds beforehand turned bright red and stuttered that it did not matter. Now, I knew exactly what he said but I wanted to see if he would actually say it to my face rather than under his breath. I asked the douche again what he had said and after a little bit of coaxing on my part he admitted he had said “nice arse to go with them” (meaning my gym pants).
“Do you really think that’s an appropriate thing to say to a woman that you don’t know?” I asked him with my sickeningly sweet smile still plastered across my face. As I expected, he had no idea how to respond to this question and instead let out a stream of incoherent stuttering that he hoped would count as a sufficient explanation. It didn’t.
There and then I decided I would take one for the girls everywhere sick of men objectifying them. As it happened I was planning on running a few errands after the gym, however, after seeing which direction this guy was heading in I decided I would rearrange my plan for the day and do the errands first, resulting in me heading in the same direction as this guy.
I followed him. I trailed closely after him for a good 10 minutes all the while telling him why it is not appropriate for men to treat women like they are slabs of meat, however, if there was a brain in that head of his then it did not take this information in. In fact, I think he was probably too preoccupied with increasing his pace in a bid to get away from the crazy girl wittering about sexual equality to let what I was saying actually sink in.
My actions did not achieve anything but I certainly enjoyed watching him cringe. All I can hope is that in future, when he is about to make an unwanted comment to a woman he does not know, he will remember what happened last time and the fear of encountering another crazy bitch will deter him from doing so.