I work in Japan in one of the top international universities in the country. In a public seminar at my workplace with attendees in the room and on Zoom, one of the younger male staff wanted to ask a question through Zoom. There where a few technical issues with accessing the questions on the chats, so they ended up putting the chat on the shared screen from a different account. On the screen there was something about how to ask questions through zoom, and then a comment about one of the speakers: “X you look so skinny!”. I was livid, one of the other speakers appeared shocked commenting something like “Oh my God he actually said this”, but no one else commented on how innapropriate that was, including older staff present in the room or the target of the comment. In Japan, given that body diversity is highly problematic and there is a huge social pressure for women to be thin and small, it is shocking that these kind of comments are seen as just part of everyday life or are seen as a joke, and women just have to deal with it and get over it.
To all the people in my school who would try to sexualise my body, if a person has bigger breasts that does not make them any more or less sexual than someone who has smaller ones! I happen to be asexual and my body-shape is literally nothing to do with my sexuality or orientation, it wouldn’t matter if I wasn’t asexual either and does not give you the right to harass and try to touch me. Also why are girls shamed for their bodies and their sexuality no matter what it is? If I’m ace I am therefore a “prude”, if I wasn’t asexual it would be “slut” or something else nasty, it seems being female is enough for some people to give you a nasty label regardless!
Just read a news article (BBC News 10/7/2019) about a medical doctor who was told to “cover up” by American Airlines and wasn’t allowed on the plane until she wore a BLANKET to cover her outfit. There was nothing offensive about her clothing at all, she was wearing a playsuit which wasn’t even very short. The airline apologised but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. The Dr involved believes she was targeted for her race and her body type, which is really unacceptable.
I was at my local co-op on a Saturday with my 3 year old daughter. We get muffins and sit in the dining area to eat them together. Once a man in his 70’s says hi to my daughter and that muffins will make her fat. I was pissed, but didn’t yell at him. I just coldly gave him monosyllabic responses to his follow up chatting, which was racist. When he went away I told my daughter that she was not fat and she could eat whatever she liked. Another mom chimed in with the same. If I could go back… I would clap with every word, “YOU DON’T GET TO TALK TO MY DAUGHTER ABOUT HER BODY!” Later that day, I sat my baby girl down and told her I was sorry for not yelling at the man. That no one gets to tell her what her body should look like. I had tears in my eyes.
The head of my college acting department (a man) told me that since “I was the prettiest girl in my year, he was going to spend less time focused on me” during 2-person scene work. “You won’t have to get work based on talent, after all.” He said this in front of the whole class, and made sure to treat it like a joke so people laughed. I was too embarrassed to ever bring it up to him again, even in private, despite taking several more of his classes over the next 3 years.
Inspired by #TheySaid, except it wasn’t what he said, it was what he did. A boy in my year made a comment about girls shaving, I made a comment back. Thing is, I don’t remember what either of us said, all I remember is him pinning me to the wall and pulling up my trouser leg so he could make fun of how hairy I was. I think we were about 13, maybe 14 at the time. Weird that I only remembered this when I saw that hashtag and started thinking back about my body-shaming experiences. I wonder what else I don’t remember…?
When I was 15 a group of guys walked by and made gagging sounds as they passed me. I’ve hated wearing a bikini ever since. Also, Freshman year of high school, being told in front of the whole class by my personal finance teacher, “You’re not pretty enough to be a trophy wife, so let’s hope you get an A in this class.”
The prom awards at my sisters school consisted of “most nudes”, “biggest slag”,”most likely to be a prostitute”, “best nudes” and “most likely to be a lesbian”. Unpleasant ones for boys consisted of “best body” ironically for an overweight guy and “most spots” for a guy suffering from acne. The DJ present actually commented with “those were the worst awards I’ve ever heard” and left early. I feel sick and seriously worried about this future generation. *Prom arranged separately from school authority*
Today, my friends and I performed a dance to the song Single Ladies by Beyonce. We all loved the song and were so happy to perform it. After performance, which was so much fun, a teacher told another teacher “This is a christian school not a strip club”. We were all fully clothed and wore gold hoops. Beside what does it matter what we were wearing? A thought came to me after school today, if we were all boys wearing that and dancing to Beyonce we would’ve been thought of as funny and not sexual. Just because I have a woman’s body doesn’t mean it is inherently sexual. A woman shouldn’t have to be modest to be respected. Another teacher last year said that she could name the girls who were going to be raped in the future by the way they act and dress. This is just some of the sexism that exists in schools. There is so much more. It is a sad world we live in where we have to fight for equality. All of this is such a travesty. We need to change this.