My boyfriend raises his eyebrows at me, “That shirt is pretty low,” he says.
It was my shimmery gold shirt,
The one filled with little red triangles and intricate designs,
one of my favorites.
My boyfriend had commented on my shirt being "too low,"
or my pants being "too tight," before.
I laughed the first time he did it,
My mom did too when I told her the story.
“He’s so sweet and protective of you, honey,” she said.
I smiled back up at her, my mom the feminist.
It felt a bit ironic.
My mom, the feminist who thinks it’s cute that my boyfriend comments on my clothing when he isn’t in approval of it
He has the right to tell me if my shirt is too low because he is just being protective.
Protective of what?
Protective of other guys looking at my chest? Because that’s what my body is right? Something to be looked at.
An object that needs to be covered up in order to be taken care of. An object that’s only purpose is too be looked at.
So why for any reason would I wear a shirt that is a little lower than usual other than to objectify myself?
I just like the shirt.
I know my boyfriend was just being protective,
But why aren’t I protective of him in this way?
Maybe because masculinity, means me not questioning what guys wear.
But for girls, it seems to be the opposite.
Femininity is ironic,
it is sexy but innocent.
It is vulnerable.
And it must be protected.
And society has given men the job of protecting women’s bodies.
It’s not just my boyfriend who has commented on my clothing, my guy friends have too, and I see it happen to my other girl friends as well.
But what guys don’t realize
Is that their ‘protection’ of our bodies,
Takes away our right to them.
It takes away my right to wear whatever shirt I want.
Maybe because I feel beautiful it in.
Maybe because I feel strong in it.
Or maybe, I just really like its gold shimmery pattern that is filled with little red triangles.
I am learning to be strong in my own body. To remember that it is my body and no one else's. I have the power to do whatever I want with my body and no one else can have that power over me. I am learning to love my body and respect my body. My body is what I see the world through and through which I interact with the world.
If you are ever feeling like you are not in control of your body or struggling with valuing it, you can call Teen Link to talk it out. Just like you can call us for any other reason. We are an anonymous phone line for teens and answered by teens. The people on the line are there to listen—no matter how big or small the issue. Teen Link’s number is 1 (866) 833 – 6546. The line is open every night from 6 – 10 P.M. If you prefer to chat, visit www.866teenlink.org. Chat is available all week.
And always remember, you are beautiful.