In the year 2015, you would hope that the definition of beauty and the objectivity of women would have changed from 50 years ago.
When I walk down the streets of Hollywood, a city I call home, I do not feel safe. Not because of crime or the crowds of people that hog the walk of fame, but because of the eyes that follow me. Even in long pants, a t-shirt that went to my neck and a heavy jacket, I still received lingering looks from some older men as I passed by.
When I walked to work over the summer I was always conscious of what I was wearing and the potential unwanted attention I could be drawing. I would walk with my head down pulling down my dress and ignoring the comments made by strangers instead of holding my head up high and being proud to be a woman.
We have made progress in equality, acceptance and tolerance, but where has respect gone? When I visited home my family was surprised to hear that I was not going out with different guys every week and did not already have a boyfriend. When I responded that I was trying to stay focused on the newspaper and with my studies, I was met with gazes of confusion. Instead of being commended for my focus I was told to “make myself look more available” because my independence may seem intimidating to my potential suitors.
As a little girl I was taught to be a strong, proud woman. Where did those teachings go? Society and my peers have told me that I need a boyfriend to be happy and the only way to get one would be to dress provocatively and not to respect myself.
I was appalled when I went shopping with a family member and was met with judgment after holding up the new shirt I wanted.
“Do you expect guys to like you wearing that?” he said. “Maybe you would get more attention if you wore that.” He motioned over to a mannequin wearing a deep v-neck-cut, mini-dress that had an exposed bra. I explained I did not want a man who would prefer me in that. I want to date a guy who respects me and sees past external beauty for what is within, a feature many have forgotten.
We live in a society that only sees beauty on the outside and does not take the chance to dive beneath the surface, missing the real beauty. A woman should not have to dress a certain way to get a man’s attention. Women’s beauty is not defined by one standard and certainly not any physical ones.