It was a Sunday and I was already in a bad mood. The people who had left church were coming in with their crying and hungry children, not to mention their own bad attitudes. It was just like any other Sunday really, nothing unusual.
I had sent my cashier to take her break, and suddenly I was alone at the register, waiting for the next customer to come up. I was tired and ready to go home. I didn’t want any trouble, just for the day to be over.
An older guy came up to the register and sat down his purchases. I asked him how he was, the same as I do for everyone who comes up to my register. Unlike most people that work retail, I actually do want to know if someone has had a good day or not. I actually care about people I don’t know, it’s how I was raised.
The guy gave me a quick “fine” and asked me how I was, adding something about how he thought I was fine. Of course, I ignored it and continued on ringing up his purchase. Just for him to repeat himself, making sure I heard the degrading words he had said to me. At this point, I did what I always do, I laughed it off and moved on.
I handed him his change and told him to have a nice day, with a nice smile. Unfortunately, he took this chance for his eyes to roam over my body as if I was some kind of object on display for his viewing pleasure.
Now, I have never had this happen to me and at first I was taken aback. Then, I wanted to hide, wondering what I had done to warrant the look he gave me. I wanted to cover myself, even though I was fairly covered already. I felt like trash, dirty, like I had some how given this guy the impression that I was a street walker.
I did what I do when anything happens that makes me feel uncomfortable or causes an opinion that I feel the need to share. I went to Facebook. I said something about how I thought it was degrading for men to think this was okay, to look a woman up and down and make her feel uncomfortable in her own skin. And to also made me feel like I had done something wrong.
The first response that I got was someone telling me that I should take it as a compliment because some guy liked what he saw. And the comments continued like this. It annoyed me so much because it made me realize how diluted we are to things like this. I had comments telling me that it was just a look and I should get over it.
What happens when that look turns into something more? And what if I was your child getting that look from some guy?
It’s wrong and disgusting and disrespectful. It made me feel uncomfortable and violated. I had people tell me that this happens to them all the time. When did this become okay? To be looked at and appraised by the men around us? I want to be valued for my mind and my personality. Not because you like the way a shirt fits me or how my curves are the kind of thing you like.
We have become a world where it is okay to “judge a book by it’s cover” and it has to stop.
I was even asked if things would have been different if the guy was someone I found attractive. Of course, I had to stop and think about this and my answer is no, it would not have been different. It still would have creeped me out. I am more than a bag of flesh and bone. I am a person with a beautiful mind, big personality, and a bright future.
I am not saying that looks do not matter, because we all have our preferences. What I am saying is that it is not okay to size up anyone like they are a piece of meat. And the fact that so many people feel it is okay to be gazed at like they are just some object is a sad realization.
So, tell me what your opinion is in the matter. Do you think I should just get over it, or do you think I, or anyone, has the right to feel objectified by this?