The Nonconsensual Sexualization of Unintending Young Women

At the age of 10 I had a way of walking I’m certain had been with me since I first learned to walk. There is nowhere I could have learned it, and I hadn’t given it any thought to have learned it in the first place. But it was called to my attention at 10, because it was “provocative.” And it wasn’t brought to my attention by men, but by women. Girls, in fact.

It was one foot in front of the other, a hip-swinging walk. And it was not okay. And the girls let me know this immediately. “Stop acting so stuck-up!” “She thinks she’s a model.” “Why do you walk like you’re all that?”

Of course, I didn’t think I was “all that.” And at the age of ten, being rather sheltered from all things overtly sexual, I was thoroughly bewildered and confused. This was how I naturally walked, and it wasn’t something I could change because I had no idea what I was doing wrong. It weren’t as though I could see myself walking and compare it to others. Eventually, though, I did learn to “fix” it. What’s interesting is not only the accusation of sexuality that I never implied, but the fact that I was not allowed to be sexual. These were girls who wore lipgloss, tight jeans, and midriff tops. They weren’t stereotypes–they were whole complete people, who cried when I wrote them sad stories and were fiercely loyal to each other–but they played into stereotypes. They gossiped, worried about their weight, talked about boys, copied each other’s homework, and had serious mean streaks. And consequently, they categorized and forced me into a stereotype. I studied and read and wrote and dressed conservatively (thanks mom) and contributed greatly to class discussions and was overall smart (though they were too!) and therefore was not allowed to demonstrate any kind of “grown-up” confidence.

Ten year old girls don’t walk the way they do to be sexual. They walk that way because that’s how they walk. When the girls cornered me for long legs and swinging hips, it was the confidence they attacked. I’m sure they had some idea that it was interpreted in the world as symbolic of some sort of sexual power, but it only just forming in our understanding. As far as they were concerned, this was power play. I was not a part of their clique.

“You can’t walk like that.”

I was a sweet kid. It’s hard to believe now, and it frustrates me when I remember it, but it’s frightening how soft I was. Watching the girls, I forced myself to change the way I walked because I genuinely believed there was something wrong with me. I walked like them instead. I remember the process, asking a friend of mine, “Do I walk weird?”

“You walk so gracefully, like a swan.” she said. “Don’t listen to them; they’re jealous.”

“Swans are clumsy on land.”

Looking back, there is so much about this that disturbs me. It was my first introduction, I can see, to the sexual interpretations of others forced onto me in a dangerously she-was-asking-for-it-like manner, while I have no involvement and no desire of involvement. I didn’t intend for anything–I was just living my life. I couldn’t intend anything; for crying out loud, I was ten. And yet this is so deeply ingrained into the mentality of society that it was pushed onto me by none other than ten-year-old girls, who themselves had no idea what they were doing, but had somehow come to understand the significance and had learned to police “sexuality.” And I “fixed” something that didn’t need to be fixed to appease to the fabrications of patriarchy, unwillingly, tearily, and self-destructively.

Growing up, the prevalence and instillment of the incident became clear. Everyone thought like this. At 12 I had a red dress I loved wearing. Still conservative, mind you, my mother picked out my clothes. But one day I put it on, and she told me to change it.

“Why?”

“It makes you look pretty. I don’t want… you getting the wrong kind of attention.”

Even then, I wanted to scream.

Did I mention this dress covered everything? Everything? Full-length sleeves and full-length skirt? It doesn’t even matter what it covered. I wasn’t wearing it to be sexual: I liked it because it reminded me of the dress one of the characters of an adventure book I was reading wore on the cover. I felt like riding dragons and finding ghosts in my dreary castle. It also doesn’t even matter if I were wearing it to be sexual, had I not been 12: it doesn’t give anyone the right to involve themselves without my permission.

My mother doesn’t tell me I’ll be raped, but she sure as hell implies it. “You could be kidnapped,” she says. “And… used. For business.”

I would say my mother is paranoid about sex trafficking, but she isn’t paranoid. She’s right. What she isn’t right about, however, is suggesting that being “unpretty” would somehow save me. And while she didn’t make me accountable for the possibility of rape (though it disturbed me greatly that she consistently hinted my life would be utterly and entirely over) she did make me liable for others’ interpretations of what “message” I was sending by the way I dressed.

My mother meant well. She was terrified to death of losing me, a defenseless child, to predators. When I hit my late teens and was not so defenseless, she promptly allowed me to “dress pretty” again. Before class, now a young woman of 17, I walked past the mirror in my bedroom and slid into a well-fitted black dress that zipped on one side. I tugged up the zipper and it stopped, leading me to believe I’d zipped it all the way. In actuality, the zipper had stuck at the curve of my breast, exposing the black lace of my bra.

“Nahida, you look gorgeous!” my instructor exclaimed in third period psychology. “Come here.”

“What is it?” I asked, walking up to her desk.

Without warning, she reached out and yanked the zipper upward, closing the dress completely. I stood for a minute in shock.

“You’ve been walking around flashing everyone all morning,” she guessed grimly. And then, I won’t forget the look she gave me–more than just disapproval, it was blatantly, almost hatefully, accusatory.

Whore!

“I–I didn’t know,” I stammered truthfully. “I thought I zipped it.” Please, please, please believe me, please.

She had dismissively returned to grading papers. “Thanks,” I murmured and walked back to my textbooks. My psychology teacher liked me–not only as a good student but as me, personally–and I liked her, which made her reproach all the more scathing.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of it. The forging of a false reality by those who have no business interpreting my behavior and policing me occur even here. Whenever I write a sex-related post, men–men this time, Muslim and non-Muslim alike–submit comments that clearly assume I am attempting to ensnare them with the subject of sex, even if the entry itself has nothing to do with seduction and everything to do with my perspective, experience, and feminism. Just because you don’t see a point, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. There are other commenters who very much see the point–so I take it the problem is you, not my writing. And if there weren’t a point? Well GTFO–that’s what I wanted to do, and that’s for me to decide. You need to see your way out. I’m pretty tired of receiving comments along the lines of, “Modesty, sister!” and “STOP TRYING TO SEDUCE ME!”

I am not, in fact, trying to seduce you.

The Internet is a big place. If you don’t like the discussion, don’t participate. Don’t read. Find something else. Don’t lecture me about modesty when you’ve clearly lost yours, arrogantly believing you have any right to tell me these things or command me to stop or interpret my behavior and involve me in your incorrect interpretation by submitting such comments or that you have any say on how I should live my life or what I should write about.

The whole delusion of she must be attempting to be seductive or she wouldn’t be wearing that / talking about this is at its core egotistical. And, fine, let’s say a woman is trying to be seductive. What the hell makes you think you’re the one she’s trying to seduce? And if you aren’t, what the hell makes you think you have any right to shove yourself into her business? Your thoughts are your own: you are free to notice her, think about her, fantasize, etc.–you are not free to involve her, through actions or words that disclose what’s going on in your pants, unless she specifically consents and makes it clear. And this consent is not infinite. Or “a light switch” as they say. And this goes both ways. Were I to fantasize about a man I knew, I wouldn’t tell him this, thereby involving him, unless I was certain he wouldn’t mind hearing it. Otherwise, yes, it is harassment–I would be involving him against his will and making him feel extraordinarily uncomfortable.

It astonishes me to no end that men have a problem with this. A lot of guys wouldn’t appreciate being hit on by someone they’re not interested in–but they expect women to accept it. Would a straight man put up with being hit on by other men? If it ever happens, tell him to quit bitching. Don’t listen to pathetic excuses like “I don’t want to be hit on by someone I’m not into” or “That’s just really creepy, and I don’t find him attractive.” He’s clearly a vagina.

Like the ten-year-olds previously mentioned who categorized me–and themselves–into stereotypes, the actions and very real personalities of women are often fetishized as though they aren’t whole or they belong in compartments of sexuality, a mentality that enables men to “sample” women of each respective fantasy and ultimately objectify and limit them to these. And there are several. The “innocent girlfriend”–popular among religious men and Nice Guys–whom men protect not out of selfless care and love but for the sake of being the first ones to “corrupt” her, or to fulfill their own fetish through the limitation of her personality. The “experienced whore”–her supposed “opposite”–and then of course the deadly dichotomy, whom few women are–and when they are, they are viewed as deceitful, mind you–and destroy themselves attempting to become. Smart girls are fetishized for their intelligence, not for being whole people from whom we learn and with whom we expand our perspective, but for “Hey I slept with this really smart chick.” And don’t get me started about “beautiful exotic girls.”

We don’t revolve around you. And my personality is not a fetish.

What people don’t realize is that there is a point at which slut-shaming and prude-shaming are pretty much the same damn thing. Literally. When you shame a woman for “dressing like a slut” and therefore supposedly bringing inappropriate advances upon herself, you are also prude-shaming her for not tolerating such behavior.

Seriously, just stfu.

47 responses

  1. Every time one of those outraged thowb-wearing, beard-stroking, Muslim men gets kicked off an airplane, I feel like telling him, "What did you expect, honey? You were dressed so provocatively!"

  2. Good post. It's sad how early people sexualize girls, including other women.Your example of walking is significant; I'm sure it applies to many other young women as well. Walking, when I was young, was significant for me, too; it's a gender-marker, a signifier of who we are. To avoid criticism I was getting (as a boy) that my walk was too feminine, I learned how to strut like a macho man. At first it looked ridiculous but then it looked more natural — and the criticism ceased. I resented having to change my natural walk for one society approved but that was a price I paid to fit in.

  3. I've never had a walk that would drop anyone to their knees…but apparently my very blue eyes (when I was young…they are more blue gray now) had some kind of affect…which got me into trouble through no fault of my own because when I looked at someone…I really looked at them. Straight in the eyes…gave them my full attention. Then I went to the middle east where apparently women are not meant to look directly at people talking to them…mainly men…it's considered shameful and inviting. My ex constantly nagged on me in those first years trying to break that habit…until I eventually just started looking at the ground or over their shoulders or anywhere but at them (whomever they were..could even be a woman). By the time I divorced my social skills were crap…I have had to relearn how to look at people. Some people seem to think Im being rude because Im not looking at them when they speak to me…but it's a hard habit to break (just like the first time) and Im working on it. I find this even more irritating because I spent 23 years in a country in which the men do nothing but look at and critisize women..yet apparently the women arent supposed to look back. How sweet. I have ensured that my daughters do not have this hangup…the only eyes that should be "lowered" are those that are looking with intent to critisize with a lashing tongue. Verbal abuse is so ordinary…so accepted…that children are raised to believe it's a legitimate form of conversation.

  4. LoL coolred, my teachers used to say that I could kill with my eyes and that I really need to "change my attitude" for that very same reason.It's funny. Paying attention becomes rude.

  5. Love it. (This comment x-posted from my comments section): I totally should have looked at your blog before now. Out of curiosity, have you ever read “Is Multiculturalism Bad For Women”? I also just noticed your sweet animal rights section … I’m thinking of writing a post about that soon, so let me know if you have any preferred online resources.

  6. Oh, I haven't read that! It looks incredibly interesting. Thank you!I would love reading a post by you about animal rights.. and bleh, no, it's difficult to find sources online that don't resort to ableism and class shaming. =/ Or if they do they tend to focus on discouraging people from eating meat at all rather than eliminating animal cruelty (battery farming and the whole horrifying process) which I've found quite ineffective. x_X

  7. "Would a straight man put up with being hit on by other men?"I have asked that time and again, and it's a topic that none of them (the straight men who insist it's OK to say anything they want, anywhere they want, to any woman they want to) EVER want to acknowledge, let alone address.

  8. Oh wow.. so funny that I would read this on the same day I've been having personal issues with dealing with my oldest daughter and my fears surrounding her dressing appropriately without shaming her. She's entering pre-adolescence and I'm struck dumb from time to time by how she holds herself, so small but adult-like. On one hand, I want to let her express her personality and femininity freely, while still maintaining age-appropriateness, and yet I want to encourage her to grow while fighting the urge to keep her a baby.

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  10. Fantastic post. We walk “that way” naturally, because of our bone structure– and yet so many of us learn to walk with a stiff, constrained UNHEALTHY method of movement– and only because of other peoples’ insecurities.

    One thing I feel I must disagree with you on: As a 40-something woman who has worked through many of these issues, I’m not convinced that your mom was so well-meaning or protective of you when she wanted you to look “less pretty.” I think that parents who act this way are in fact putting their own needs above their child’s needs. Some parents have a need to keep their child “young” and therefore tied to the family/parent, and they can’t do that if the child grows and develops and becomes independent by meeting her own needs.

    • I do know my own mother. And that’s quite a terrible thing to say about a woman who’s endured harassment in her childhood, was then told to take it as a compliment because she was beautiful, and then endured years of domestic violence–and whose thoughts and behaviors in this rape culture would consequently be raised to a state of traumatic panic about the children for whom she’s worked late hours and sacrificed everything.

      • I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you or your mother. I was just offering my perspective, based on my own experience. I know I’m not alone in my perspective. I was offering a different way of thinking about this type of experience, for you and others. It’s not about insulting, it’s about understanding. You can think about it and agree or disagree with me, but I’d prefer not to be attacked.

        I’m a bit shocked at the hostile response to my comment. I’m sorry if my comment came across as hostile. It wasn’t intended that way.

      • Well the comment was specifically written in terms of my mother (you said you were convinced my mom wasn’t well-meaning) not of the experience–and she is a very real person, not a hypothetical one, and she isn’t here to read what’s written about her. People tend to be attacked when they attack. And I only said that was a terrible thing to say when you don’t know the person; I didn’t say anything about you or your family.

        I’m sorry if there was any misunderstanding.

    • This was a great post. Although, I wish I had stopped reading before the comment section. I want to add, Nahida, that Ms. M did not say she *was* convinced your mother was not well-meaning, as you stated. Please read her post again if you’re feeling attacked. What she said was, “I’m not convinced that your mom was so well-meaning”. There *is* a difference. She is not saying your mom wasn’t, simply that she was considering other options. The options she mentioned are viable for many parents of young girls for the very reasons you brought up in your article. I was shocked and saddened by your incredibly angry-sounding & defensive (knee-jerk?) response to Ms. M. I am guessing that your mother is a very tender subject for you and that you feel quite protective of her and your history together (guessing, just guessing). I would encourage you to be more open to your readers’ thoughts and observations and handle them with a bit more kindness. And Ms. M.: your reply was gracious and open — clearly the same place from which your initial comment came. You were both tentative and gentle in your initial post — obviously not “judging” or “diagnosing” anyone (really, Debra?). I hope you don’t feel shut down for introducing another way of thinking about this issue or encouraging others to look at it differently. I hope you don’t feel that… “You can’t walk like that.” I was listening loud and clear and had the same thoughts while reading the article. Thank you for taking your time to post!

      • Are you kidding me?! Nahida doesn’t need to be “open to her readers’ [judgmental] thoughts”. This is her blog, a safe place, where apparently she can’t talk about her family without them being attacked! Ms. M’s comment didn’t NEED to be written in terms of Nahida’s mother, she could have simply said, “In my experience parents who do this aren’t well-meaning.” Then she’s separated the situation. It DOESN’T MATTER if she was “simply considering other options” for her mom, because she had no business judging her mother! And then talking about how “it’s not about insulting it’s about understanding” with a faux “I’m sorry if you’re offended” apology.

      • I don’t feel shut down for introducing another way of thinking, I feel shut down by others using my mom as a basis–and MENTIONING her with their projections. And then claiming that I have a problem with other ways of thinking and reading comprehension issues. And then being “shocked” at my reaction at being lectured about “understanding not insulting” while failing to understand how “shocked” I must have felt when someone used what I’d just disclosed to pass judgment on my mother.

      • Debora*. And if you read the other comments, you can see people managed to express themselves without talking about someone’s mom.

      • Barbara, thank you for hearing what I was trying to say.

        I don’t have anything to add, except that want to be clear (Kelshels) that I don’t make faux apologies. I’m sorry for the hurt I caused, and I meant that.

    • Hi Nahida: First, I want you to know that we’re on the same side here. And I am truly sorry for all that happened to your Mom. I lost my dear mother to cancer recently and her life for many years sounds similar to what your mother went through. It’s all been very painful and will be for a long time, I am sure. I also want you to know a bit about my background which might help you understand where I am coming from. I am a feminist psychologist with a long history of teaching at the university level in both Women’s Studies and other departments and also in private practice focusing on women and children, mostly girls. I’ve read some of what you’ve written and had some questions myself regarding the dynamics about which you wrote. I hope that simply stating that I was “not convinced” would not offend you or cause a strong reaction. I realize in this case it’s your mom so it’s very personal, but when you put very personal things out for public viewing you must be prepared for people asking questions or commenting in ways that may not align with your thought process. I was planning to share this article with college students and some mothers and girls in my practice. I love this piece for the most part. I am sure I will have to address why you think as you do on many topics throughout the article. Because I will encourage people to deconstruct. I would be very disheartened if my students didn’t ask questions before they were “convinced”. Do I disagree with what you came up with? No, I don’t. Am I convinced? No, I am not. This isn’t an all-or-nothing place. I’m not a psychic. I have your perspective and what I know about women and mothers, and mostly that’s all I have. As far as students go, I think your strong reaction will leave them even less convinced because your stance is so firm that it has left me and some colleagues wondering if you’ve considered other options and arrived at the one that best fits rather than the one that just feels the best or least painful given your mother’s past. I am not saying that this what you’re doing but the defensive stance makes it appear that way to some people.

      Being unconvinced isn’t judgmental — it’s called critical thinking. It’s begging for more information. So someone doesn’t mindlessly swallow your line of thinking — big deal! Help them see where you’re coming from without attacking them or being defensive. Maybe we’re challenged and need help understanding. If I were offended or reacted strongly every time a new college student attacked feminist theory, or every time a parent came in defending their child (who couldn’t possibly have shaken their baby, raped, etc, etc.) I’d be out of a job and would have more stress than I’d know what to do with! I also wouldn’t change hearts and minds. Shutting people down and being hostile doesn’t change them — but it may serve the important purpose of protecting us from having to see things another way. Just because you didn’t see Ms. M’s point doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. If you don’t want to be questioned, then just say that at the beginning of the comment section so that all this time and space isn’t wasted garnering support while alienating any readers who may disagree with you or have questions. Or simply moderate those posts out. I am sure you feel very supported by your friends here and that’s nice but I wonder how many of them would feel safe questioning you. We were discussing today in class the “price” of speaking up and consequences of loss of voice in girls and women. For this reason among others, I really hesitate to shut people down without hearing them. We’re all here working at understanding each other. I may still share your article but at issue is the idea that anyone who holds so tightly to a belief system that it cannot be questioned is not a good (feminist) role model for budding feminists. Or maybe I will share it for just that reason. In closing, do I think you are “right” about your mom? Yes, given her history and the fears she expressed in parenting. Am I sure? No. I rarely feel “sure” about why people do what they do, I just do my best and leave a little wiggle room. I am also sure you’ve spent a long time thinking about this before writing this article. But please, for the sake of your readers, take a step back and realize that this comment section sounds more like an adolescent clique with most members on your side (well, it is *your* blog after all) and lots of ugly words and accusations. In the end, we’re all on the same side. It’s just sad. I won’t post any more and sorry if I’ve written a novel. With love and respect…

      • Just because you don’t see disagreement doesn’t mean it’s not there. I happened to tell Nahida privately that I thought Ms. M had a valid point, she just executed poor word choice in doing so–and even if she hadn’t, there’s a risk you take weighing in on others’ intimate relationships. Nahida got offended, Ms. M apologized, Nahida accepted her apology, unicorns held hands and danced around magic purple mushrooms. All of this before you decided to descend the vaunted halls of academia and grace us with your wisdom.

        Seriously, the best way you could come up with to clarify that Ms. M wasn’t psychoanalyzing Nahida was to ACTUALLY psychoanalyze her yourself? Did you never learn how to talk to people in your psychology career or are you just so used to addressing subordinates? Speaking of which, I don’t know how you do it in academia, but generally on blogs it’s polite to ASK to use someone’s words, not simply inform them you’ll be taking their word and distributing it. I’m sure 98% of the time they’ll be thrilled (I’ve never been turned down), but especially in the context of the rest of your comment you sound like you’re talking down to a child. A very bright child, but still one vastly below your level.

        Rather than blaming your poor reception on cliqueishness, would you just think for a moment if you’d actually say this to, I don’t know, a neighbor? If so, may I suggest Judith Martin? http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-yoga-teacher-begins-her-class-bent-out-of-shape/2011/07/08/gIQAvgrUdI_story.html She’s far more practical than people give her credit for and may give you some insight on how to avoid this sort of situation in the future.

      • Barbara, quite frankly I’m amazed that you continue to assert yourself here without realizing how patronizing you sound. I made it clear I had a problem with Ms. M’s wording, not her point. And it was shitty wording. She could have said “I’m not convinced parents who do this are well-meaning / in my experience parents who do this have not been well-meaning.” If you aren’t aware, being empathetic and careful with your words is a huge part of feminism. Instead she made it specifically about my mother, about whom only I know. She then apologized (which I do admit I felt the same way KelsShels did, that it was disingenuous [WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME OUT FOR BACKSTABBING YOUR MOTHER]–but when she made her intent clear I let it stop.) I did not address the rest of her first comment, because I did not have an issue with the rest and saw the point. I had considered modifying her first comment and simply taking out the sentence referring to my mother, but decided it was not in my right to change parts of her comment without her explicit permission.

        My mother is not a theory, for you to compare to feminist theories that students attack. You are actively silencing my rights as a person INVOLVED to tell the story of what happened to me by misconstruing it rather than telling your own. You were not there, and you do not know her, and we don’t have to talk about how we’re professionals to make valid observations about human nature… or to back them up.

        I’m certain I would have considered Ms. M’s point without you, with blanket judgments, deciding to start lecturing me about how I should be kind to people who neglect the common courtesy to make sure they aren’t attacking someone’s very real family member whose history and whose triggers are unfamiliar to them. “I’m sorry, my wording was shitty, but can you see what I meant?” would have sufficed without the whole “I’m shocked you’re attacking me for insulting your mother!” The comments had an air of ageism from the very beginning; thanks for contributing and insensitively comparing this–very real trauma–to adolescent cliques. Of course, it was patronizing even before then (tsk tsk you should be kinder!) Not to mention the sexist implications.

        I’m also certain that Derailing for Dummies (it would be also thoughtful and polite to read the comment policy) has an entire section on the “you’re being defensive!” derailment as a means to discredit people, in conjunction with the whole “be nice or my students and colleagues will think you’re a meanie–you don’t want to be unpopular do you?” (and I’m the one with a clique, yay.) It must be very convenient for you to sound so calm and cool knowing now that I wouldn’t say anything about your family or your situation and refusing to move and give a little ground even when it doesn’t at all take away from your point, just shows a little respect for people. Because again, “This reminds me that MY mother did this, in my experience” is far different from “I’m not convinced HER MOTHER was well-meaning.” There is a difference between asking questions (even “do you really think your mother was well-meaning?” wouldn’t have offended me) and making a terrible judgment about what you don’t know exactly because you don’t have that information–and pulling that information out of someone, more than what was chosen to be willingly given, and then giving them a free psychoanalysis session without their consent. You are not entitled to that information, or to them obliging to your demands to listen to you tell them about their own family members. And there is a difference between apologizing genuinely (which I now do believe Ms. M did–and honestly did from the beginning, where she clearly said she “didn’t mean to insult [my] mother” implying that she, in fact, did, even if unintentionally–though her claim that she was the one attacked is what detracted from it) and apologizing for hurt feelings and not for what caused them.

        If you wonder whether my readers are afraid of questioning me, perhaps you should ask them yourself.

      • I didn’t know you had to be part of a girlish clique to understand that it’s common politeness not to talk about people’s mothers. Or to be condescending about how they should handle their blog.

        And for the record, I’m a first-timer here.

      • you only commented for brownie points. soon you will join the rest of us in unthinking obedience.

        /end psychoanalysis

      • Aziza! Don’t forget we’re supposed to braid each other’s hair and talk about how awesome Nahida is and what a mean witch this stupid professor is with her grown-up sounding words and how she just DOESN’T GET IT.

    • Ms. M, I wouldn’t worry about it. Like I said below, you probably shouldn’t have used the wording you did, but you apologized, Nahida accepted, I doubt it will have any impact on you in the future. Nahida and I have argued over politics, race, and feminism before, and I’m sure many of her other commenters have too.

  11. felt an echo of being told to untuck my shirt and tug it down to cover my butt(which were clad in baggy jeans) when i hit puberty, and to cover my hair lest males be rendered incoherent on seeing it. Puberty was such an annoyingly confusing time of being told to cover up the shame of the female body. it was never openly discussed. the whys of covering up. we were hissed, scolded or shouted at to cover up whatever offending body part was showing to whichever adult took offense.

  12. I just want to say that I really enjoyed the point of view of this post. Thank you, Nahida, for putting yourself out here for us all to read about and consider your thoughts on subjects. I found this very thought provoking and inspiring to read. Thank you again for sharing.

  13. I lived in Saudi Arabia once and had to wear that awful abaya thing and I STILL got sexually harassed by a “thowb -wearing beard-stroking” moron. It doesn’t matter what a woman wears, men sometimes feels it is their divine right to force their attentions on her.

    I was twelve by the way.

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  15. I think its a sad story .. I don’t understand why a person cant dress the way they want period! and it doesn’t matter if your male or female just keep your hands to yourself, well in public it wont be civil to walk around half naked or even full naked but I’ve seen that before its not disturbing me enough to make a comment towards them (male/female) just let them be with their decisions ^^ peace

  16. Pingback: The Nonconsensual Sexualization of Unintending Young Women | KeepItDeen

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