Dear Men

Disclaimer: This letter is not meant for all men. Of course, there are men out there who give other people the respect they deserve – all people, not just men or women. This is to the other men – those men who leer at women on the streets like they’ve never seen a female before in their entire lives and you know who you are.

Hello there.

I am a young girl, going to be eighteen in a few months. If you read some of my older posts on my blog, you’ll know that I’m the survivor of molestation at a very young age. It affected me very deeply and led to being under medication for anxiety disorder and depression. And that’s why, it’s been a while since I wrote. Because I couldn’t even bring myself to write. But this letter is not about my past or my mental health. This is about what inspired me to write again. That inspiration is anger; anger that I experienced yesterday when I went out for a movie with my family and then had some walking to do.

Do you see this girl in the picture below? That’s my sister.

My sister
My sister

My sister is fourteen years old. She’s in Grade 10. She’s wearing her new top that we bought her. She likes it a lot and she was extremely excited to wear it. She wore the outfit in the picture to the movies yesterday. It’s quite acceptable, really, considering it’s really hot here. And despite her psoriasis, it’s not like she’s ashamed of her arms, or any part of her body, for that matter.

Oh, but look. Bare skin. Her arms are bare. And you can see her ankles. And it was apparently quite enough to have a volley of looks being directed towards her at once. Looks, that went from her face, down to her chest, then to her feet, then back up. Not once, not twice, but constantly. I am extremely protective of my family, and even more so about my sister. We had a long way to walk. Almost like a reflex, my arm went around her shoulders and we began walking a lot faster. I don’t think my parents noticed.

But hey, my sister has a pretty face and nice figure. Everyone says so. She’s attractive. Of course she’ll attract attention, right? Because of course, my fourteen year-old sister is on exhibit for you all to look at and talk about. If you had a sister, niece or daughter her age, would you look at her the same way too? Would you? I sincerely hope not because then you, sir, need help.

Do you see the picture below now? That’s me.

That's me.
That’s me.

That’s what I was wearing. Full-sleeve shirt. Denim pants. Shoes.

Oh, but what’s that? My shirt buttons are open? So you must look there straightaway? When you’re walking towards me and need to move out of my way, do you look at my buttons first? Is that all you notice?

My sister and I were not wearing ‘obscene’ clothes, were we? Or do you just get turned on by bare skin at all? How about the bare skin on my face? Do you want me to cover that up as well? Do you have a problem with bare ankles? Is that why my sister is attractive? Or are you focusing on her bare arms instead? Are you looking at my chest? Is your intent stare going to suddenly cause me to get attracted towards your lecherous self? Is that how your mind works?

See, I am really angry. Yesterday, a lot of men looked us up and down. I have been stripped nude by eyes before but that doesn’t make it okay and that definitely doesn’t make me any more comfortable with it. In particular, a group of men with who I made direct eye contact really irked me. I gave them a look that said – back off. And they didn’t. I am working on controlling my temper and I was with my family, so I didn’t do anything but clench my fists tight. It’s time you considered controlling your raging hormones in public as well.

Let me tell you something important about the way we women and girls dress. We don’t dress up to please or tease you. We dress up because it makes us feel good. We dress up for our comfort. We dress up according to our sense of style. We dress up for us. We don’t dress up for you to rip our clothes to shreds in your perverted minds and sometimes, even in real life. So keep your inflated ego aside. We don’t do things for you to notice us. We do them for us. Besides, we don’t need to do anything special to be noticed, right? Your hungry eyes notice anyway. A woman in a bikini at a beach and a woman in a burqa walking to a shop are all the same to you. Then don’t tell us that our clothes are calling out to you and ‘asking’ for attention. Because all this attention we’re getting? It’s unwanted.

What if a man made a pass at you? What if he stared at your pants like he was slowly unzipping you in his mind? What if he leered at you? Wouldn’t you be uncomfortable? And yet, when you do just the same with a woman, it somehow becomes all right. What makes it all right? How are we any different from you? Aren’t we human beings, just like you are?

I am not saying this as a girl who had to undergo the horror of being molested at five. I am saying this as a girl, as a young woman, on behalf of every woman in this world. Right from when we step out of our homes, you feel entitled to be able to feast your eyes upon us but the truth is, you are not. Your Y chromosome does not, in fact, give you the right to get away with treating us like dirt under your feet.

I am a girl, and I am angry because I have to fear violence and abuse for no reason other than the fact that I am a girl.

I am a girl, and I am angry because if I say ‘no’ to a man, it could be taken as a personal offence, as if I should feel honoured to have received his attention.

I am a girl, and I am angry because when I step out into the streets, I am transformed from a person to an object meant to please.

I am a girl, and I am angry because I am told to watch the way I wear my clothes and the way I speak because I might be provocative. How about you teach men to not objectify us for a change?

I am a girl, and I am angry because when I do speak out, when I want to do something about it, I get told that this is just how ‘boys and men are’. What are boys and men? Disrespectful filthy persons lusting after what they think is their right?

I am a girl, and I implore you to reconsider your mindset. You would not enjoy it very much if you constantly felt like an animal in a zoo or an exhibit at a museum. Hungry looks are not a compliment. Respecting me, and other women is.

Not yours unless I wish it so,
Basudhara

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7 thoughts on “Dear Men

  1. Dear basudhara, nice to read ur blogs after a long time. Your blog has deeply moved me. Not just this one. So many things to say. But to cut it short u hve absolute freedom to dress up d way u want. . Its ok iif ppl are appreciating somethin beautiful . But stalkin staring with a wrong intent would definitely make any lady uncomfortable. I understand.molestation was somethin menally excrutiating for u and i feel reali sad when i hear this . And u being protective abt ur family is completely justificable. Stay safe is wat i say for now

  2. How proud I feel about having such a brave, independent, self voiced women such as you as my friend while reading this. Everyone in a sensible state of mind worthy enough to be called humans would know you are right. But to those ‘insects’ who think themselves to be above Women, to think of Women as objects of pleasure… To them I say.. My Dearest most sweetest fellow beings, I am also a man, and I also like watching girls all dressed up in whatever form they please and like seeing such beauty around me. But, dear fellows, please learn to respect these angles of beauties by giving them a simple smile or just giving them a small nod of your head in the most humble of ways, to appreciate their beauty, if you so desire, or I have to warn you…. These angels of beauty might seem small, fragile or in your filthiest of words.. Objects you can manipulate to your wishes, but these same Angels have the power of making you scream your very Mothers name.. Who I might remind you is a Woman too.. While they beat you white and blue and this is coming from a guy who has spent two years of his life building him up in the gym. So, my dear insults to the society of Men, I think you are the ones who need not just to be careful in todays new world of brave upcoming women, but you need to be very very afraid!! For you my friends are going to land up in BIG HUMOUNGOUS loads of trouble if you ever dare look up a woman in such a way again, for Todays women!, will not only peel you from top to bottom, but they will bring you down to such a condition that you will never be able to think of anything more of your own wives than look at them as your sisters!! And if by chance as their nature is, they spare you or anything that is left of you… We.. The real Men!! Will not be as forgiving as they are.. So take this not as a warning, but as The Final Threat!! cuz after this, there will be nothing left of you! And that, my dear’s is a Promise!!.

    And to my Dear Friend I say, I salute you Girl!! You have proven how strong todays women truly are. All I ask you is to stay strong, be yourself and not to change for this world. As you my friend are one of those gems who are born to change the world and its thinkings. So, I salute you once again!! And wish you all the very best for your future, which looks very bright to me.

    P.s- I know you can handle it and all, but just in case, you ever need me to take care of the remains or anything, do let me know ;)…I am just a call away…:)

  3. Hey Basudhara!

    Great read, and I understand you’ve been affected by it at a young age. But I don’t agree with tarring us all with the same brush. You’re going to get judged by practically everyone when you go out somewhere.

    I had this same talk with my mom a few days ago, we were going out to a restaurant and I went without changing, in the same clothes that I wore at home, and without brushing my hair. My mom told me “People won’t get a good impression by this, why can’t you just dress up neatly and try to act presentable for once, you’re growing up now.”

    My response was “I wasn’t born to impress anyone, I do things the way I like to do it, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

    As expected, people were looking at me in a holier-than-thou way, both men and women. But I really didn’t care much, it wasn’t going to affect my life in any way.

    I understand that my point of view is different from yours that you feel you’re being ogled and stuff, but it’s practically the same thing if you look at it from a distance. You’re being judged. In my case, I’m being judged as “Dirty and rebellious” and you’re being judged as “Hot and a great figure” (FYI, that’s not from me, it’s just an example xD).

    Everybody looks at you and judges you, it’s not just men. My advice is to simply not give a damn about what anybody else thinks of you. You weren’t born to impress to anyone. Do things your own way. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of all this before, but I’m simply reiterating it in a way that it applies to this situation here.

    Cheers, and keep writing, I’ll be watching out for more.

    1. Well, you’ve read it now.

      I know it’s not just about women. Everyone is judging everyone else in some nook or cranny of their minds. And most of the time, those opinions of others are things I overlook. It isn’t my fault if people are going to be ignorant and refuse to live and let live. What I do dislike though is being looked at like fresh meat on sale, like I can be sampled, like women in general can be sampled.

      I fully understand your point of view about being ogled at and I know it happens not just to women. I assure you I’m not a misandrist.

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