This morning I debated a cami after I got dressed. My shirt is kind of low-cut and I know we are on the maintenance list so I was wondering if I should dress more “appropriately” if they came over. Should I wear something to fill a little of that gap that almost but doesn’t quite show what little cleavage my B cup has to offer? And then I started to wonder:
Why should I have to dress a certain way just for them? This is my apartment. Do I seriously need to go out of my way to wear a second shirt just so they don’t have to worry about where their eyes land?
I left the room with all my cami’s still in place in the closet. This thought process reminded me of an incident I tried to avoid with my husband after we picked our kids up from spending the weekend with my in-laws.
On our way back from getting the boys in a Kmart parking lot two towns over, we headed towards a grocery store closer to home. As we’re driving down the street I notice a female (I have no idea what age) walking down the sidewalk wearing headphones and carrying a bag of some sort, I don’t even remember. There was nothing remarkable about her; nothing that I would consider attractive enough to point out to Kasper and nothing odd to call attention to. To me she was just a female walking down the street. Until Kasper saw her. He made one comment and I found myself struggling to keep the feminist inside me from popping out of her unlocked box like a horror movie, clown-faced Jack in the box. Let’s not think of feminists as people who earned our fright, please.
There are certain subjects that Kasper has requested I don’t bring up with him. One of those is feminism and anything related to feminism unless I will be as calm and patient as possible. I’m not overly passionate about feminism but when someone has a view I don’t understand I’m very eager to hear why they think this way and then pursue more answers which is where Kasper gets frustrated with me. I have this friend that has somehow taught me a new way to think just by being herself. I’ve never met anyone like her. One time she made this very simple post on FB asking what is modesty. She might have even posted just those three words. I made the mistake of trying to answer her. I started out with the obvious
It’s dressing in an appropriate manner.
That’s what it is, right? She asked me what that meant. I told her it means dressing for the occasion, for what the situation calls for. She asked who deems what is appropriate. You can probably see where this line of questioning is going. Every answer was followed with another question. Needless to say, I ended up wondering what the hell is modesty, anyway? And that was clearly her point. She was trying to get me to question with her what modesty meant. She wasn’t trying to redefine or, heaven forbid, ban it as I have heard other people believe feminists are trying to do. She was trying to point out that people need to understand what modesty is and how it came to be. Who decides what a person should wear? Who decides what is appropriate? Why do I have to protect your inability to control your eyes? And why are you okay with this?
She could use another two inches on her shirt.
I ignored Kasper’s statement. My head was burning with the need to point out his [faulty] thinking, especially in front of our boys. But I kept quiet. I knew that if I spoke he would be offended and it would turn into a fight because I would have this insane compulsion to explain to him why I disagree. He would think I was trying to push my views on him and then I would get stuck trying to explain how that wasn’t at all the case. It wouldn’t have done any good to fight like that and I would have kept on being quiet if the next person we passed hadn’t been a man mowing the lawn without a shirt on. Now, I’m not against the #FreeTheNipple movement but it is something I debate in my head often and I cannot find a valid point against freeing anyone’s nipple. It seems to be about resetting societal norms and changing our views of the human body to one more natural and accepting. But to be perfectly honest, I think men should be the ones wearing shirts, not women. The underboob sweat might not be so bad if I could go without a shirt when I’m in my yard. I wouldn’t run the risk of getting chest or armpit hair in anyone’s food while I cooked (unlike men) and women would probably have less body issues if more women with “real” bodies went topless in their yards and at barbecues and wherever else men go topless.
I put my stank eye on Kasper
I cleared my throat and he looked at me totally clueless. I asked him where his opinion was of that man. He asked what man I was referring to.
He continued with his cluelessness, asking me what man and what was wrong with him. I told him, probably in an aggressive tone, that there was a man back there that had no shirt on while he was mowing. He said he didn’t even notice.
Much to my dismay, my loving, open-minded and unknowingly mildly feminist himself, husband had no idea what I was trying to get at but was preparing to respond to my impending emotional burst of feminist ideals anyway.
You noticed two inches of a girls muffin top [which I had noticed btw but didn’t acknowledge], half of which is covered by the bag she’s carrying yet you don’t see an entire backside of a topless man whose disgusting sweat is gleaming in the sun? And you think she’s the one that needs more shirt?
There could be many reasons why he noticed one and not the other but there would have been few I would have accepted. I would completely understand if he had admitted something like he noticed her because he’s a hetero guy and he tends to notice females more than males and maybe felt I would feel less insecure if he said something negative about her. It’s weak but acceptable. Or I would understand if he said honestly that he thinks females shouldn’t walk around with short tops and meat at the waist. I would secretly take a green check mark off my Reasons I Think Kasper Is Awesome list but that one next to honesty would stay and that’s a good one. His obliviosity [<–I don’t think that’s a real word] to the double standard he just applied to the two people right in front of us is what really upset me.
It’s not that I want him to change his views to fit mine because I don’t; but I would like for him to acknowledge that his views are somewhat molded by what others think is right and wrong. It’s okay for a man to push a lawn mower topless. I get it; it’s hot and we’ve all mowed lawns in the summer so we all know how much it sucks to do it with a shirt on. Men take off their shirts, it’s totally acceptable. A woman does it in a bikini top and she’s a slut calling for attention; she can’t feel hot and sweaty and take action to change her situation without some ulterior motive that involves promiscuity. I don’t want my sons to carry on with this line of thinking. They should understand that the way a woman dresses is not (in most cases) a reflection of her sexual character and even if it were it is not an excuse to judge her or deny her the same respect everyone deserves upon meeting them.
If you think it’s acceptable to force others to dress by the standards someone else set, that’s your prerogative to have that opinion but it is also mine to choose to feel and act differently. I have to find a way to explain this to Kasper without coming across as someone upset with the world because men love boobs so much that society has found a way to profit off them by essentially marketing them as sexual objects. How do I express to him without forcing my opinion on him that the female body should have just as much right to dress how she pleases as the male body? I just want to know why is two inches of love handle more appalling than a man’s entire sweaty backside?!