Here's how my morning started...minding my own business, packing groceries into my backpack to bike home and behind me, I hear…
2 guys making cat-call-type comments. It took me a minute to realize they were talking to me. I ignored them, only to have them get feisty, making racial slurs. As I mounted my bike, I yelled back at them, "have a good day AND don't be an asshole" and they backed down. Empowered but still shaken I peddled quickly out of the parking lot.
A friend recently told me how uncomfortable she felt working at a job where the marketing team repeatedly wanted to use her face/body in promo photos for the organization because she meets the cultural ideal of beauty (for now, our bodies are always changing).
Meanwhile, folks who don't meet the cultural ideal of beauty are bullied, trolled, and forced to field life threats on a regular basis.
The fact that body objectification happens at all, to anyone is bullshit!
It goes WAY back to the Renaissance when artists, aristocrats, and generally white, privileged, men started defining ideal beauty. To learn more about the histories of body objectification, read or listen to Fearing The Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings.
I get and fully accept that my white, able-body, thin-ish, young-ish body has all kinds of privileges including the fact that situations like today's encounter have only happened a handful of times in my life and none of them have been life-threatening.
If you find yourself in similar situations as I or my friend, I hope that you feel safe and empowered to tell the perpetrators they're being assholes.
And if you're someone who thinks that you're offering a compliment when you comment on another person's body, please stop. That's also objectification.
There are many other compliments that you can offer someone that has nothing to do with their body. Please take a mindful minute to think outside of the body-objectification box.
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