I’m starting to notice that sexual harassment/unnecessary sexual remarks can come from both genders. I know this might sound like a *duh* moment, but I wasn’t aware that women can bully women by dressing “cute” or “sexy”. Honestly, I thought the only way I could be bullied is if they didn’t like my outfit or how I wore something. I didn’t know that I could potentially be bullied for how I looked in my clothes. I haven’t had a problem with women harassing me since I left high school. Usually I wore what I wore and that was it. I used to be a very conservative dresser. I still make sure that I feel appropriate in what I’m wearing, but I don’t hold back as much as I used to. Instead of only wearing pants, I now wear dresses and skirts because it’s what I feel the most confident in. Basically, if I don’t feel comfortable or positive about what I’m wearing, I don’t wear it.
I’ve received attention in the past and present that I feel is unwarranted by others who are mainly older than me by at least 15 years. People who tend to fall around or under my age don’t typically react to my apparel. At all. I might get a compliment here or there or the occasional, “Why are you pairing those two things together?” by my sisters, but other than that I receive no feedback. The comments I receive (Negative or positive depending on how you take them) are mainly by individuals who are twenty or thirty years older than me. Women either delight in my apparel and mention my great taste daily, or there are women who tend to knock me for dressing “my age”.
Example: Today I wore a blazer over of a U-necked top, a knee length skirt, kitten heels and tights. I made sure that I wasn’t bearing any cleavage, that my skirt fit properly and that my tights were lined up correctly (They had a line going up my leg). I knew that the tights were considered a little risque but I paired it with a skirt that reached my knees so I felt confident wearing them. Today a woman said to me, “I can’t believe you’re wearing those.” I looked at her and didn’t know what she was referring to until she specifically pointed to my tights. I looked at them and glanced at her confused. “Well, they are cute.” I didn’t react the way I should have, or wanted to instead I talked to someone next to me about how violated I felt. This wasn’t the first time the woman had made a remark to me about my appearance. She’s very passive aggressive and often will compliment me then make a back handed compliment a moment after. She often says, “I wish I could wear that, but I’m not in my twenties.” Then smirks at me. I’ve been bullied all my life, and the bullying stopped once I turned 19 and left high school. I’m ill prepared because I didn’t expect to be bullied at age 25.
Women aren’t the exception, men make remarks too. Men that are around my age make comments that I look nice or that they like what I’m wearing, sometimes they’re appropriate-other times not. However, I’ve noticed that usually men in their twenties or thirties are not as forward as men who are twice my age. I hate it when men tell me to smile. If I wanted to smile, I would smile. I have a terrible time at retorting back quickly (Hence why I write), so I haven’t said anything back (Ergo that is partially the problem). Men twice my age touch my arm or the small of my back as if I gave them permission. Or they will say, “You’re too young for me, but…” That’s not appropriate! It’s kind of disgusting that you’re making these remarks when you could have possibly conceived me.
Women are the only gender that are bullied, but I’m no expert in the male harassment/ageist department. Men, what kind of things are you harassed about? Women, what other ways do you feel harassed?