It happened to me yesterday. I was listlessly checking my email when I noticed a text ad that I must have seen more than 10, times. Yesterday I joined the masses.
Volunteering Sexism and Machismo: But a female traveller will also face prejudice around the world, in the form of sexism and discrimination, misogyny and objectification.
She will have to deal with the resulting fears that may arise. Is she safe in this culture? Should she actively alter her behaviour, or her style of dress? How can she best minimise the impact of a potentially threatening situation?
Above all, she will learn to trust that feeling in her gut. So after eighteen months travelling through Latin America, I thought it was necessary to address the biggest issue I faced there. The stooped figure of a man in his seventies was approaching slowly, walking stick in hand, and I began to smile even before we passed each other.
He was sweet; his suit looked a bit too big for him, and I immediately thought of the quintessential photos you see of male Latino pensioners.
My head was swimming as I marched along the street, thinking disgustedly about how many grandchildren he probably had.
How on earth could a grandpa ever think it was socially acceptable to leer at a young woman like that? The machismo element of Latino culture seems to practically demand that men make these types of comment, and I received them so often that I almost stopped noticing.
What I did keep track of, however, was the way it changed me. Walking along the street and noticing a group of teenage boys ahead, a cluster of old men, even a single male figure leaning against a wall while smoking a cigarette; all would prompt a stiffening of my body, a lengthening of my neck, a slight curl of the fists, and a quickened pace.
So what was I doing to prompt this behaviour? Well, I was either alone or with other women, for starters. Then there were my clothes. But South America is different. We were heckled by Colombian men walking past, even as we posed for this photo, because our legs were bare.
So I would pull awkwardly at the edges of my shorts, rearrange my vest, and start walking more quickly. Maybe I became expectant that this behaviour would come my way, so noticed every time. Maybe I focused too much of my attention on it. Not just annoying or uncomfortable — it was downright threatening.
Some boys learn the staring techniques from an early age. During these incidences, I often wondered whether I was simply being too reactionary — too soft — and that other women might not find it a problem.
Hell, they might even enjoy the attention that I found so problematic! Plenty of skin on show. I wanted to see what treatment she received from the occasional groups of boys and men that punctuated each corner.
Also, I wanted to see how she reacted. As we approached a group, I saw their eyes switch to her body. I saw them look her up and down, lips stretching into smiles. Her head remained upright, her speed never faltered, and she walked straight past them. The only assumption I could make was that she had the same mentality as I did: The way I chose to travel in South America may have had an impact on how much of this attention I received, of course.
Moreover, my major issue stemmed not from the staring itself, but from what it represented. Did these men think they were entitled to some sort of dominance over me? A type of ownership of my body that I was unaware of? Of course, encountering this type of behaviour on a regular basis for eighteen months was always going to reach a boiling point.
For me, that happened on a side street in the small town of Cienfuegos, Cuba — my last country of six in Latin America. My friend was from Paris:The Affect of Media Beauty Standards on Women's Self Esteem - The Affect of Media Beauty Standards on Women's Self Esteem In the daily fight for the emancipation of women and the pressures and influence of advertising, women of all ages are coerced into physical and psychological self-torment trying to achieve an optimum look or image.
Published: Mon, 5 Dec Women have been seen portrayed differently from the year s until present. Back in the days, women dress well, covered with clothes to show that they have class, hair done in such a way that when hats were put on, elegance will show.
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