By: Kate Krassowski, Regular Contributor
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” -Unknown
I think a lot about the little girl I used to be and wonder if I make her proud. I want to respect her and make sure the people in my life are positive and respectful to her, too. It’s easy to go into adult mode and put on a brave face, but as we grow older we forget to hold on to a piece of the innocence that we once had.
I will never understand a man’s need to whistle at me, ask me ‘what’s goin’ on’ while looking me up and down, or make kissy noises to me out his car window. In some circumstances, as long as full sentences are used, it’s okay for men to come up and kindly introduce themselves. But I know the first behavior happens to most women, and it’s happened too many times to count. But that little girl inside me who wants to believe in all the good things of the world always feels sad when it does.
I wake up in the morning, brush my hair, put on a little makeup, and wear something that makes me feel beautiful (sometimes something that makes me feel comfortable), but the point is, I wear whatever it is for me. To me, I look pretty and confident, ready to take on the day. Apparently to that man in his Lexus, I looked like a sex object that he can make kissy sounds at while I cross the street. He doesn’t give me any respect and drives away feeling cocky, leaving me to feel ashamed as if I did something wrong.
It infuriates me.
I know I can’t change everyone in the world and focusing on being angry isn’t helping either. I guess when I think of my life, I’ve always been more interested in ice cream sundaes than alcohol. I looked forward to nights at home with my family and my dad baking cookies, rather than raging parties. In my head, I’ve lived a very color corrected life where things are brighter and happier. Of course, not every day was like that. I’ve had my share of misery, too, but I try so hard not to dwell on those moments. So when I’m reminded of the joy that I had as a child, I want to hold onto that feeling, and I can’t stand it when negative, rude people feel compelled to objectify me or anyone else.
I wish, as humans, we treated each other with the same kind of protection we would give a child. I wish that a man would think twice before he whistled out the window. As a woman this makes me feel the same as a little girl would if she were wearing her favorite sundress and a car sped by spraying mud all over her.
Maybe I’m overreacting; a lot of people would say I should be flattered. But I don’t think there’s anything flattering about cat calling and blatant disrespect. I want to feel important, valued, and beautiful. Thinking about it, no one should be able to take that away from me, but that’s not something that’s easy to let go of overnight. Those kinds of comments still hurt, but one day I hope to be confident enough and love myself enough to not be shaken by the ignorance of others. I want us all to walk through life radiating compassion and confidence. Imagine what kind of world THAT would be.
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She moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland, OH after graduating with a B.A in Film Production from BGSU. She is passionate about speaking out against how women are viewed in the media and being part of changing it.