Before I begin, let me just state for the record that by, “asking for it,” I’m not talking about rape. I am a very firm believer that no matter what a woman is wearing, she is never asking for a man to force himself on her.
That being said, I am beginning to wonder that maybe, sometimes, women are asking to be ogled, even treated like pieces of meat.
It was Friday at 5:00 p.m. on the corner of 18th and Market Streets. For those of you that don’t live in Philadelphia, it was cloudy, rainy, windy and approximately 40 degrees. I was hiding in a corner of a building, doing my best to protect myself from the wind, sipping a cup of hot tea I just picked up at the Fourbucks, when a woman turned the corner and brushed by me.
In her heels she was about an inch or so taller than me, so 5’10” (I was slouching). She was wearing a tank dress that was so short, it barely covered her ass. It was so short (and tight) that as she walked up 18th Street she was holding down the hem so it wouldn’t inch up. If it did inch up, she would have been committing a crime. But that wasn’t even the worst part. She was a triple-D or a double-E (when they get that big it is hard for me to tell) and the scoop in the front was doing nothing to hold those girls in place. In fact, really the only thing the dress was doing was covering her nipples. I wish I could tell you what her face looked like, but as I explained to Salty later, I couldn’t see past her boobs.
As I stood there, aghast, I noticed I wasn’t the only one. Women were fighting their umbrellas against the wind to stop and stare. Men were hitting each other in the arms to make sure they saw what they were seeing. I turned away, shaking my head and smiling, only to see one guy stopped, almost paralyzed, staring, hoping that she would lose her grip on her hem and he would catch a glimpse of more of her. Another man stopped and asked, “Did you catch that?” He nodded, “I’m still catching it.” Then they both watched her walk into the wind tunnel.
But not before the second guy said, “You know that girl over there totally knows what you are doing.” That girl over there, was me.
The first guy shook his head and said, “I don’t care.”
And thus, the internal struggle begins. The feminist side of me wanted to scream -- she’s not a piece of meat you pig and defend this stranger's right to wear whatever she felt like without be objectified. But then the pragmatist in me stepped in and said, “Tati, let’s be real here.” After all, she wasn’t wearing that outfit for comfort. It was freezing and the skirt was so short and tight she had to hold it in place -- from experience I know that that isn’t comfortable.
So she was looking for attention. And there is nothing wrong with that. But then one can’t get upset when men stop and gawk as you walk down the street. See, it’s a lot like planting flowers in your backyard. Yes, they are pretty and smell nice and make it so much lovelier out there when you are enjoying your morning coffee. Sadly, though they also bring bees. You have to take the good with the bad.
Of course, in this instance, she could have avoided all the onlookers had she simply put on a coat. She would have also prevented that cold I am sure she caught walking around like that in the cold, wet weather. But I’m not her mother.