Post Classifieds

All people deserve respect

By Kristen Howell
On October 30, 2013

 

I got married this summer and moved into an old house that has been converted into apartments. And that’s when “the bubbas” entered my life’s narrative.

 

As my parents were moving me into my new apartment in early July, we noticed some men down the street. They were sitting on a couch on the porch of their apartment building, guzzling back beers and throwing the cans on the porch. My dad nicknamed them “the bubbas” and commented on the apparent lifestyle that they lead. None of them gave off a very classy vibe, but I was willing to ignore them if they ignored me.

 

The problem, though, was that they didn’t ignore me—not at all. There was a full month after I moved into the apartment where I lived alone before I was married. My brother and mom stayed with me for a night or two to help me adjust, but they live 40 minutes away and didn’t want to stay with me past the first weekend – commuting back and forth gets expensive.

 

That meant three and a half weeks of taking the trash out on Tuesday night and getting mail on the opposite (and not well-lit) side of the house alone. It meant walking to and from my car at night and attempting to get my key in and out of my apartment door before anyone saw me alone.

 

You may think I’m paranoid, but all of this was because of “the bubbas”. They decided that it wasn’t the least bit inappropriate to yell and whistle at me when I came and went. They frequently took drunken walks past my house, and even decided that it was acceptable to begin walking toward me, and shouted things at me while I was taking my trash out, until I ran inside, locked the door and set the alarm.

 

I have been married slightly over two months, but that still hasn’t phased “the bubbas” who whistle at me from their porch as I walk to class. I can’t even go to the library at night without my husband escorting me.

 

All of this raises the question: “At what point did I become an object?” Intoxication or not, the catcalling of our lovely neighbors is demeaning and places me in the role of a non- person.

 

The men down the street have no respect for me as a human being.

 

They look at me only externally— never considering what I feel, never considering my aspirations, my loves, my ability to construct arguments and my capability to reason. Everything inside of me is just as valuable as a man; it is just encased in a body that has a different biological gender distinction.

 

Perhaps this issue results from the way that some women parade themselves around, as evidenced by the Miley Cyrus twerking debacle. But, there was little to no talk about any of the backup dancers on the MTV Video Music Awards that were just as scantily clad and offensive. Could this be because the backup dancers are also considered non-persons? Maybe it is because we have seen Miley’s “supposedly” innocent personality that we are so offended. We, as the American public, know her as a person and are therefore unable to consider her body without her mind. This poses a dilemma, as she cannot be viewed both as an object and a person.

 

I know that this is not only a woman’s problem. I’m sure the stereotypically attractive men (Tom Cruise or Leonardo DiCaprio, for example) may face similar issues, but from life experience, I have seen this as mostly the woman’s struggle.

There is no easy solution to this problem and I am not delusional enough to believe that my one article can change the world. But, what if everyone who reads this article could shift his or her view just a bit? Maybe when we walk past Victoria’s Secret in the mall, we can consider the fact that those beautiful airbrushed bodies are the home to a mind and feelings—a breathing, living person with a life outside of the modeling world.12

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