Yesterday, I went shopping with my mother. We ducked into Victoria’s Secret to see if they were offering a special that she had heard advertised (she wanted the tote bag that came with the purchase special). I started looking around the underwear, as it was 50% off, and found a few cute pairs. But, then, as I rounded the display, two men walked up and one started looking through the underwear. His friend commented on the prices and the man looking said, “Well, then, she can get two.” So I can only assume that he was buying Christmas gifts for his significant other.
I, of course, went about my business silently (they could spot the 5 for $27 deal for themselves), as I dislike inhabiting close quarters with strangers, much less talking to them. Then, the man’s friend suddenly burst out with, “If I see another girl in tights with a washboard butt, I swear I’m going to throw my phone at her ass. Tell her to stop ruining the tights, man.”
It was that comment, as if that woman’s – or indeed any woman’s – body was his to comment on, that suddenly made me not feel so much like buying cute underwear. I didn’t feel cute and far from glorious. So I put the pairs down, walked away to my mom, and contented myself with nose-nuzzles from my daughter. It is a bit difficult to explain exactly how I felt in response to the comment but it felt as if I were the one being judged, as I had indeed been judging my own self all day (there are extenuating circumstances that I acknowledge but they are neither here nor there). I have fitness, nutrition, and weight goals to work on, yes, and I will get there, I know. But, in that moment, I found myself feeling objectified in place of the girls to whom he was referring and my spirit felt low under the added burden. It didn’t last for long but it was poignant enough that here I am writing about it a day later. If something is still on my mind after a night’s sleep, then it is something worth discussing. And body image and acceptance, by ourselves and others, always is.
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