As a woman, I’ve been on the receiving end of this indictment multiple times throughout my lifetime.
Certainly beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this type of “attractiveness” judgment that society thrusts upon young (and older) women can send most of us spiraling down into a shame cycle.
The quote that titles this letter, “I mean, you’re like a six or maybe a seven,” was actually said to me.
I was about to start college in the fall in a different state, at a place where I knew hardly anyone, so I was doing what everyone else did: I networked online and tried to meet some people before I went out there.
But when I sent a snapshot of my 17 year-old self, posing with a friend, perched against oak trees wearing matching red sweaters on Niceville High School’s campus, that wasn’t quite the response I figured that picture garnered. I wasn’t sending it with the intention of receiving any 1 – 10 rating of my appearance.
The only other person I knew going into UT was a friend I’d gone to theater camp with in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1999. I’d become particularly abhorrent to him in the interim as well, much to my surprise, as we rarely spoke or hung out–we are Facebook friends, now, though, HA! (So this must mean that by now we’re cool, right? Facebook friendships are totally legit. Wink, wink.)
Other peoples’ opinions do not define us.
Their viewpoints, their judgments, their ideas of who you are based on a few interactions or a few photos don’t define you. We live in an age where judgment follows us; critics are far louder than fans and they can get to us any where, any time through various social media outlets.
We talk SO MUCH about equality and freedom, yet at the same time corroborate misogynistic ideals and perpetuate sexist stereotypes against women.
She’s a whore.
What a bitch!
Ugh, I bet she’s on her period.
She’s so thin she looks gross.
Any of these sound familiar? We need to stop shaming one another before we can truly work together toward breaking the glass ceiling and making a change in this world.
To the guy who called me a six or a seven: Fuck you.
To guys who rate women on a 1 to 10 scale: Fuck you.
You don’t own us; you don’t own our self-esteem. We do. And, guess what? You’re outnumbered. And we are stronger, faster, smarter and better than you ever estimated us to be.
There’s my six or seven self from Niceville High School in the slideshow above. There’s the infamous photo of myself and my friend on the high school’s campus in our matching sweaters that elicited the comment.
Just because I was moving to Austin, Texas from Florida didn’t mean I was going to look like a swimsuit model – that’s like assuming that a person from Texas rides a horse to and from work (if there are people out there who still believe in this cowboy-Texas-everyone-rides-horses-stuff, then WAKE UP! YOU ARE CRAZY!) every day.
Here lately with all of the media frenzy surrounding Donald Trump and his insanely sexist point of views on women and what women’s roles should be, I felt the need to say something. It’s 2016 and we still don’t make as much money as our male counterparts. This needs to change. As of yesterday.
The other slideshow I posted above is when my family and I lived in Aschaffenburg, Germany in 1987; when it was still divided into East Germany and West Germany. I thought I’d share. I always talk about it and write about it, but just found the photo albums housing these precious gems last week.
This editorial note is more personal than it is work-related; but the point is that sexism exists in literature, too.
Let’s stop tolerating the way we’re treated. Let’s “get fucking hysterical,” as our contributor Steve Carr said to me this morning, until we see actual change on the horizon.
Cheers, SLM Team,
Kelly Fitzharis Coody