I am infuriated by the male gaze: it angers me when men look at me in a proprietary way.
The other day at a party, a coworker’s husband looked at my chest as I approached him.
He smiled as he looked at my breasts, pleased, like a kid in a candy shop.
I felt my inner anger alight.
Part of me responded: Put a scarf on to hide your chest, it’s showing more than usual.
No! I will not hide myself as if ashamed. This is not my problem nor my shame. It is his.
Part of me responded: You don’t have to hang out here if you don’t want to. Go home early.
No. I will stay. I will not lose out on a nice time because of him.
Part of me responded: Talk to other people. You two don’t have to interact.
No. I am a thinker and a strong woman. I will stay, and he will hear my voice.
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I was sure to not avoid him. I spoke without fear. I voiced my ideas and point of view.
I did not worry about being liked.
I noticed that he began to look at me differently. I noticed that he started to open up more.
Over the course of the evening we connected as human beings: laughing, listening, teaching, storytelling.
I left feeling like it was a start.
I am perceived as an attractive woman.
I choose to be seen and heard as much more.
Food for thought:
#8 on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Feminist Manifesto