I started reading this article just now. It’s no doubt excellent, life affirming and all that – but I’ve had to stop reading. It started, shockingly, like this:
“Excuse me ma’am, I really enjoyed your yoga class tonight. But I wanted to come by and tell you that as a yoga teacher, you need to lose weight. Namaste.”
That was bad enough, but when I got to this –
…we need to start a revolution of self acceptance and love for who we truly are—and for once, not care what anyone else has to think or say.
– I just had to stop. I have no problem at all with that sentiment. It is indeed a great thing to love yourself and not care about anyone else’s opinion. My feeling is – we shouldn’t always have to!
How, in what universe, is it acceptable to stroll up to another person and tell them to lose weight!?! That is outrageous!
Coincidently, this is something I’ve been thinking about a fair bit lately. I’ve been reading articles and watching vids discussing the casual, everyday harassment of women by men. The basic problem seems to be that many men feel entitled to comment on the clothes/appearance/facial expression/sexual habits of women they don’t even know. They may claim it’s “just a bit of fun” but that does not make the experience any less frightening or oppressive for the women involved.
For some reason I was thinking last night about one experience I had while camping by myself in Spain. A group of young frenchmen – 3 of them I think – took to lounging around, entirely uninvited, right outside my tent. They were all laughy and smiley but they made sleazy comments about my figure and had the air of a hyena pack so I felt threatened. This went on for a day or so but I just tried to ignore them. Then, one afternoon as I was reading in my tent, I heard the tentflap being quietly unzipped! As a woman alone – and entirely uninterested in any of those grinning boys – my instinct kicked in and I immediately reacted to protect myself before anything else could happen. I exploded out of my tent in fury, scattering the startled men (and turning over some nearby picnic furniture). I showed, very clearly, that I would not be easy prey and the pack left me well alone after that. Was it an overreaction? Perhaps – but I’m very glad I never waited to find out for sure.
I’ve had a few similarly unpleasant encounters over the years – but I’ve also met some interesting and respectful men in my travels so I am by no means generalising. I’m just using my personal experience to illustrate male entitlement. Men! A woman, especially a lone one, is not there for your entertainment. She probably does not want to have sex with you. It is very likely she was not thinking about you at all until you attempted to thrust yourself into her life. If she turns you down this does not make her a lesbian/tease/frigid. She is just a human person with the right to interact – or not – with anyone she chooses. Back the fuck off and have some respect!
Incidentally, I realise the attempted body-shaming of the yoga instructor above was carried out by a woman. That does not make it any more or less hateful. Just as a rule of thumb – unsolicited personal comments and criticism are not okay. Ever!