A few months ago, as I walked through Dubai airport alone, enjoying moving my body freely after sitting for eleven hours straight with a toddler on my lap, an attractive man in his ‘Taekwondo Team UK’ uniform walked past and almost stopped to look over his shoulder at me. Presumably he wanted to see if the front looked as good as the back. I smiled back but shook my head slightly – my partner and child were waiting for me. It had been a very long time since I had felt that attractive.
As I am sure you know an interaction like that can really make your afternoon. It’s no wonder that teenagers like to wear micro-shorts. I have heard concerns that woman who dress in revealing or sexualised clothing are objectifying themselves. Well so what if they are? If we are honest we all objectify people during the brief encounters with strangers in public life.
As you walk past a fine human specimen on the street, you don’t have time to wonder about their views on global warming or whether they’ve had a nice week, you have probably been too busy ‘reducing’ them to a sex object.
But why do we say ‘reduced’, as if sex is bad and sexuality is unimportant? As long as our young people know that their sexuality isn’t the only thing valuable about them, then we shouldn’t have qualms about appreciating and being appreciated for our physical attributes.
I think we are foolish to think that a person can dress anyway they like and be treated exactly the same as if they were dressed in a more reserved manner. If you are going to wear ‘The Dress’, the one that for some reason, makes you exude sexual energy regardless of the amount of flesh showing, then you need to be prepared for people to respond to that.
This does not mean we should expect to be treated disrespectfully, harassed or sexually assaulted. Quite frankly men are not animals that are driven to harassment due to some cleavage. In my experience harassment has come from men deeply uncomfortable with a woman being in what he perceives as ‘male’ space. The independence of a woman traveling freely at night, or working in an engineer’s office is unfortunately still perceived by some men as a threat to their control.
The independence of a woman traveling freely at night, or working in an engineer’s office is unfortunately still perceived by some men as a threat to their control.
Although, if there is no nearby ‘male territory’ to defend, I suspect that the person who comes onto a women with a wolf whistle or obscene language is really a coward. Unable to express their appreciation in a direct manner for fear of being of rejected, they are rude to protect their egos.
What if we had the self-confidence and the manners to give people we are attracted to a genuine complement? Imagine how confident, sexy and nourished we would be if instead of fearing harassment we were receiving complements. Instead of being ashamed of our own desires let’s be honest and celebrate them. Perhaps if we exchanged compliments more often, we could be sharing phone details, orgasms and even love more often as well.
Have you ever given a stranger a complement on their appearance? Have you ever received one? What do you think we could do as a society to celebrate sexuality, sensuality and beauty an inclusive way?
Photo credit:© Andres Rodriguez - Fotolia.com