This afternoon, even a small comment from the one older white man in a small yoga class of four, including the teacher – about his cold, and how we should place our mats away from him… unless we “wanted” to catch it – ended up being innappropirate and, I felt, sexist. It seems like such a small thing, but being in that seemingly safe space, it made it so apparent how out of place and privileged the suggestion behind what he was saying was and yet once again, my body became an object. The assumed safety I expected and often feel in the yoga space (as it is almost always only women or non cis-gendered men) gave the perfect opportunity to see another example of the repetition of objectification that happens daily. It seems such a small example but it’s a needle in a haystack that’s a damn heavy a burden of a much much bigger problem. This is shown in the fact that no one said anything. That kind of “small” comment is allowed to be endlessly repeated.. This is shown in the fact that no one said anything this reiterating endless repetition. I will do my best to respond and change my behavioural silence the next time in the moment if I can.
When I was eighteen, I managed the front desk of a yoga studio. As the studio catered primarily to women, I was pleasantly surprised to see a man begin to attend the classes. When he scanned into class, his personal information popped up on the screen, so I could see that he was eight years older than I was at the time. One day, he came out of class and asked how old I was. When I told him that I was eighteen, he said, “Oh my god!” and asked for my number so that we could “go on a date some time”. I was flattered, and I gave him my cell phone number. A few days later, we attended a 6:15 AM yoga class together, and I wore leggings and a workout shirt. He told me, “Next time, you should probably wear shorter shorts”. When I told him that I wore what I was comfortable in, he rolled his eyes at me. I was reluctant to go out with him again, but it was a particularly hot day in summer, and he invited me to a “pool party” that ended up just being him and me. He kept pressuring me to take my top off. When I told him I had to stay out of the water because my mom was ill (ALS) and I had to make sure I heard the phone if it rung, he called me a priss and asked me to leave.