The Big Bad Wolf
by third planet living
Well, as long as we’re on the subject of growing up female, I guess I should just leave the vent open and get it all out.
Chelsea and I were recently schooled on this particular form of the whistle, (which we all know by sound, but which we didn’t know by name), when we went to a Burlesque Brunch at a local bar.
Wikipedia defines it as “a specific sound made to show appreciation for something or someone, (originally a person thought to be sexually attractive).”
“Originally” my ass, take it out of the parenthesis y’all, that is what it is used for, and what it always will be used for, for the rest of eternity. Wikipedia further comments that the term “wolf-whistle” developed around a slang use of the word “wolf” meaning a man who gives unwanted sexual attention to women.
I was talking to Jo Anne recently, and I believe we were on the subject of feeling irritated when someone is interested in you based solely on your looks, which you deduce based on the fact that A) You’ve never had a conversation with this person or B) You’ve never even met this person, and yet, there they are… all up in your grill. It’s a little insulting.
This is interesting because, we all want people to think we’re attractive, and it does play a huge part in the initial chemistry between two people… so why does it bother the hell out of me? I think it comes from this thick skin I’ve developed after a lifetime of being stared at, “wolf whistled” at, made to feel overly conscious of and protective over this body. This body that learned to feel ogling eyeballs from across the room. Old men, young men, strangers, men I knew… the butcher, the baker, the mother trucking candlestick maker; they’ve all been reasons I’ve lowered my eyes in crowds. Reasons why, while my sisters were putting on glam make up and flat ironing their hair, I was not. I was avoiding getting dolled up because I felt it would be inviting more of that negative attention. Dressing down, blending in, basically trying to disappear… that was my gig because that kind of attention made me completely uncomfortable. It was being put on display without permission, and I never felt that I could just relax.
Of course not all men do this. I was raised in a family of men who do not do this, and I’m well aware that women are capable of it too. It’s an exercise of power, and it makes me wonder why I never exercised my power and my voice to put an end to it and protect myself. Call some of these wolves out. Why did I let these rude people influence how I dressed, or didn’t dress, and how I carried myself?
It’s a crime I tell you! And I’m still cleaning up the crime scene, sorting it all out.