Body Image: Comfort & Perception
Posted: Jun 26 2017
Perception, for me, has always been an interesting concept.
I pride myself on being an open-minded person; always trying to pivot in order to understand how individuals interact with the world based on their own life experiences. Recently, I had an experience of my own.
While on vacation, I had the displeasure to become acutely aware of a male gaze. It might have something to do with the fact that I would by no means consider myself curvy, so I always figured there wasn’t much for men to be staring at. Perhaps I had just lacked awareness before, but this experience changed my self-awareness and my comfort level.
The sexualization of women’s bodies certainly isn’t something new to discuss. But, for the first time in a long time, I feel as though I’ve experienced a change in opinion. I use to stand firmly behind my right to wear what I please, with no repercussions. But at the same time, how could I not bear responsibility for my choices? Though I absolutely still believe all women have a right to wear what they please without facing sexual harassment at every turn, I can’t help but also remember that how I choose to dress will be perceived in certain ways.
I’m still struggling to decide how this awareness fits into my life now. I have an idea of how I personally would like to be perceived, so my choices reflect that. However, there are people in this world who will always have an opinion that what I wear is too revealing, or perhaps on another spectrum, I would be viewed as too conservative. I don’t think there is any one true answer on how to navigate the complexities that women have to deal with when struggling to achieve freedom of expression in terms of dress, while simultaneously fighting the view of the female form as innately a sex object. For myself, this has led to some deep and continuous reflection, and a ripening of trust in myself to make decisions that I can stand behind based on my own convictions.
If you can relate to this experience in any way, please comment below with your own thoughts and opinions. How do you navigate in terms of attire in today’s world? What are your convictions? How can we treat each other with respect, regardless of what our comfort levels are?
Katarina Kalaminec // Lifestyle Writer