Hey everyone, I know that this isn’t my usual format but stay with me because hopefully I am going to make it worth your time. This month, I’ve decided to let my blog post stray from its normal lightheartedness and instead get a little more serious and talk about how comments impact a girl’s self-esteem.
About a week or so ago I posted a picture (surprise, surprise right) of a shirt I bought from Forever 21. I put it on the gram, got some compliments on the shirt, got some funny comments from my friends about my belly button that was showing, it was no biggie. I forgot about it and continued on with my day. However, I soon was flooded with comments from random people questioning my motives for posting the picture. “Why did you post a picture of your chest on Instagram?” “Dude, what was up with that boob picture?” And my personal favorite, a video of someone mocking my voice and saying, “I’m Ainsley and I post pictures of my boobs on Instagram.” My only reaction, “Hold up, what???!!!” I can’t seem to recall anytime where I had ever posted a picture of my boobs, so if someone would like to point it out, that would be great. Sure, enough all the ties lead back to *drum roll* the picture of my shirt (Aka the boob pic).
Weirdly enough, a couple days later when I was sharing this event with some friends, they all jumped in on how they had all been the victim of comments just like these. They told stories about how inappropriate comments were made about shirts that end at the waist instead of covering their butts when wearing jeans, to stories about dress code violations for pants that had rips above the knee. Seriously, have you ever seen a pair of cute ripped jeans that only had holes below the knee? Exactly, didn’t think so. That’s because they DON’T EXIST! After hearing all of these different accounts, I realized that my situation was not a random thing and that the fact that we all experienced these types of scenarios wasn’t purely coincidental. We were all simply victims to a much bigger issue. The objectification of teenage girls.
Now, at the moment when I first heard the joke about my picture, I was hurt. I know that these people didn’t mean it to be cruel or hurtful. It was a joke they thought was innocent and harmless. I think that that was what bothered me about the situation the most. My main issue, is that these people honestly thought that comments like these were an okay thing to say. They didn’t see anything wrong with it because “it’s only a joke.” At the beginning, I may have been embarrassed about the comments, but at this point, I am just angry.
I am angry that actions as innocent as posting a picture of my clothing (that covered everything) online, or my friend wearing a shirt that didn’t fall to her ankles, is so quickly interpreted as sexual. I am angry that people feel they have the right to make rude comments about my body when no one asked for their opinion. And finally I am angry about the way these comments made me feel. Personally, in that moment I felt belittled and self-conscious. I felt like I should take the picture down. But, I knew I actually didn’t want to. I liked the picture. That’s why I posted it in the first place…because I liked it. By taking it down I would be giving in. I would be saying that I agreed that the picture was inappropriate, when I know it wasn’t. I should never be ashamed of my body, but these comments made me feel guilty, like I had done something I wasn’t supposed to. When in reality, I had done nothing wrong.
By objectifying teenage girls, we strip them of their personality and self-esteem. Putting into their minds that only their bodies are important. It shouldn’t matter whether my whole chest had been on display in that picture or if I had been wearing three turtlenecks, not a single person should feel like they have the right to make any inappropriate comment about my body without my permission.
I am a 15-year-old girl. If you decide to sexualize my $11.99 shirt from the clearance rack then YOU are the problem, not me, my picture, or my adorable shirt.