Feminist Sunday: Everyday Sexism (Part I)

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Feminist Sundays is a weekly meme created at Books and Reviews. The aim is simply to have a place and a time to talk about feminism and women’s issues. This is a place of tolerance, creativity, discussion, criticism and praise. Remember to keep in mind that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, although healthy discussion is encouraged.

It’s been a while since I wrote a Feminist Sunday because I have been super busy. But, I really missed the posts and all the healthy discussion and sharing that comes along. I am surprised every Sunday about how much of your personal and private issues you are willing to share in this community. So, thank you.

Spring is here and temperatures are rising which means… Spring clothes! I am thinking of white jeans, short-sleeves and, in general, more exposure of everyone’s bodies. And, somehow, people think they have the right to comment on women’s bodies which I think is always rude and a bad idea. I wish people stopped and thought before opening their mouths if they would be voicing the same comments to a man.

This may sound a little extreme and I am aware of that. Just recently I lost weight because… life. I really have no idea why. And everyone has a right to comment on how good I look now, so I ask myself: “How did I look before?!” Hand in hand comes the thought: “If I lose more weight or if I re-gain it. How will I look?” I also ask myself why people think they have a right to comment on my body when I usually omit anything not only about their bodies, but about their minds too.

As I am writing this post, I am also thinking of Everyday Sexism and how personal comments are still not considered an aggression. There are even women who do not consider it as such, but if you ask them: “Would you cross the street to avoid it?” Most would say yes.  Here it is a video of how ridiculous it would be if women acted like some men do. Why is it that when women do it is “ridiculous”?

So, what do you think about this right to talk about a woman’s body in such a free way? How does it affect you?

11 thoughts on “Feminist Sunday: Everyday Sexism (Part I)

  1. Interesting post – as always! I’ve recently lost weight too, and I’ve also noticed how many people comment on it. I think it’s to do with how women’s weight is constructed in society – skinnier is always seen as better. If I’d put on weight, no-one would have said anything, certainly not told me I’m looking “too fat” whereas they think they can say I’m looking “too skinny” because even though it’s presented as a negative, they think I’ll take it positively. Similarly, one of my friends is very sporty and is trying to build muscle for her sport. She’s had a trouble finding information to help her do this, because she pointed out that while men’s health magazines are all focused on being muscular, women’s health magazines are all focused on being thin. I think both genders are under pressure towards ideals they are supposed to obtain, but I do think pressure on women is more prevalent.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story! I think people mean “you are thinner” as a compliment and most of the times I take it like that. But, it also triggers other questions like, if I re-gain the weight, will I get compliments as well?

      As for your friend, I had never thought about it. There is this idea of being thing, but also kind of fit, isn’t it? You just can’t be “thin/skinny” you have to look a little bit strong to fit into nowadays’ beauty patterns…

      1. That’s very true, I think the beauty ideal is to look toned too, which is fine as that’s healthy, but for people like my friend who want to go a bit beyond that – to bulk up – there seems to be this unspoken thing that it’s not what women should aim for, as you’re striving to get bigger, not smaller. She’s proud of getting bigger, but I know she feels a simultaneous pressure that it’s not what she “should” be doing. It’s a complex issue!

        1. I totally agree with you. I hope she manages to negotiate what she wants, what is healthy and what society defines as “beautiful”.

  2. I struggle to keep my weight down. However, although I’m conscious of staying healthy, I’ve reached a point where I try and make myself feel good through my clothing choices and that gives me confidence. I do often get compliments from other women about my clothes and it’s great. However, people – and it’s always women, actually – do feel it’s okay to comment if you’ve lost weight (or they think you have, often I haven’t – I don’t know why I look different, perhaps it’s the fit of the dress I’m wearing?). It seems as though it’s something we should all aspire to and I find that disturbing. Surely the aspiration should be to eat well and stay fit? And you’re right, people don’t make these comments to men; it’s as if their appearance is no one else’s business…

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Naomi! I knew you would like this post 🙂

      I totally agree about the thin/healthy dichotomy. People do not mind your health, just how you look and they take for granted that if you are looking great, you are feeling great as well. I read somewhere that people were telling Eva Longoria about how great she looked during her divorce and she admitted it to have been the most miserable time of her life. But, she had lost some weight and people liked her best that way which posts lots of questions, doesn’t it?

      And yes, clothes are key to this issues as well. I should have written something about it although maybe you’d make a great guest post 😉

  3. Thought provoking post, as always. One thing I’ve noticed that women tend to do (and I’m guilty of this too) is referring to another woman’s appearance when we want to cheer them up. We might say something like “I really like your dress” or “your hair looks nice today” with the best of intentions, but we wouldn’t generally say things like that to a man.
    I guess women’s appearance is much more of a public commodity…

    1. HI, Sam! I tend to do that and used to comment on other women’s weight when I was a teenager, but I stopped when I realized how awful I felt when it was me they were talking to.

      Just curious. Is it harder when you’re pregnant? I would to hear! xxx

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