We have all encountered this before. It is a comment made whilst the speaker is smiling cordially, sometimes almost laughing to emphasize the politeness with which the comment is meant. Other times, it is said in a lip-licking, cannot take my eyes off you, staring at your boobs manner. Still other times, it will appear to be said shyly. As if it is so true the speaker must say it aloud, that you must understand why it is being said, yet the words come out in a mere squeak. This phrase is:
“hey (insert pet name), I just have to tell you, you’re (insert adjective describing your physical attributes).” My least favorite version, “Hey baby, I just have to tell you, you’re so beautiful.”
This phrase, comprised of individually harmless words, forms a phrase so ear piercing, so obnoxiously masculine, that it’s utterance is enough to send me into a feminist-ridden rampage aimed directly towards the foul mouth from which it came.
The origin of this phrase lies in the “good ‘ol days” where the boys did not have to confine this speech to the hallways of locker rooms, but were acceptedly more open and loud about their sensations in public. They did not have to confine this vulgar-phrase to the smoke-filled rooms of bars and clubs, but could be loud and relish in their sights in any manner of public atmosphere. These “good times” are considered, amongst this same group, as more “Godly” more “peaceful” and certainly more “free”.
I must then ask, what is Godly about the sexualization of a whole gender? What is moral or spiritual about causing another human to feel as if their summation, their whole, their total value, can be defined in an instant by the glance of an eye which happens to catch the curve of her breast, of the softness of her skin. What, please do explain, is Divine or righteous about the origin of your thoughts, which rest more in carnal desire than in the search for value amongst another human soul?
I must then ask, what is peaceful about the subjugation of a gender, which is forced to feel that this kind of permanent abuse is acceptable? A kind of repetitive torture that eventually causes the development of numbness and disregard. What on earth is peaceful about the willful degradation of women’s rights around the world, when it is most easily expressed in casual conversation? Please, do explain, what is peaceful about your assumed superior right to speak over my right to feel safe, respected, and valued for more than physical appearance.
I must then ask, what is freedom when defined by a woman who cannot breathe peacefully in public, for fear of unwarranted verbal assault? What is free for a woman who cannot wear a garment, no matter how tight no matter how baggy, without the rightful fear that she will be accosted for her choice? What in this country is freedom for a woman, at all?