I recently saw a post by one of the lovely plus size ladies I follow, Leah V. It began with TW: Sexual advances*
In the comments she shared "TW: Trigger Warning to this post for sexual abuse/sexual assault. This is safe and open space to talk about your experiences, heal, or just read, listen."
Her post went on to describe how sometimes curvier women, who have larger hips and boobs are subjected to being oversexualized, including ladies who have larger hips and boobs earlier in age.
As I continued reading the post, she described an experience I can relate to all too well, unwanted sexual advances. She went on to say more things that I wholeheartedly agree with in addition to the fact that curvier bodies are subjected to being over sexualized. Even at a young age. "Cuz of my body many feel like that can touch me, talk to me any kind of way."
I can remember growing up with larger assets, having comments made to me on the street and in school. I remember being touched at school and catcalled when walking down the street with and without friends. I remember men trying to talk to me when walking in or out out of a gas station or store.
As I grew older not many of these things changed. There were still men gawking, catcalling, and harassing me for a number. There were male friends who would make comments about my body and want to touch me. I remember a time in high school where me and a male friend where hanging out after school. He asked questions about why my body look the way it did.
Not fully understanding what that meant at the time, I didn’t know how to respond. To be honest, I still don’t know how to respond to something like that. I got it from my mama?
The guy went on to ask if he could touch me, rather certain parts of me. I told him no but he didn’t let the conversation die. He continued to harass me about my answer, pleading with me to change it. I didn’t.
I held my ground and he became unhappy with me. He was accusatory and one of his talking points was that I should be lucky that he asked to touch me in the first place when he could’ve just done it on his own. Lucky?
We weren't friends for long after that. I’m all about people showing their true colors so thanks for that.
Maybe the way I looked was the sole purpose for him being my "friend." Who knows?
It’s always shocking and disappointing when a guy doesn’t know how to take no for an answer but it’s especially shocking and disappointing when someone you consider a friend, someone you thought respected you acts the same way as random guys do toward you.
For years, my shape has seemed to attract a certain type of commentary and a certain type of male harassment. Because of how my body looks, for some reason, some feel they can talk to me any kind of way and even touch me.
Leah finished the post by recalling a time on the beach being harassed by a man making unwanted sexual advances toward her. "Whether my ass is out or is covered. I’ve gotten sexually harassed/assaulted. I’m sick of living my life in regards to if a man wants to hurt me that day."
Her story resonated with me and many other women (as evidence by the comments on her post), reminding me of countless instances where unwanted sexual advances were made toward me. Multiple instances where I've had to repeatedly say no before being left alone, where I've felt the need to life or cough up a fake name and number to get out of an uncomfortable situation.
Last week I stopped by the store before work, so around 8 in the morning. I was walking to the store from the parking lot, and so was a guy who must have arrived seconds before me. He was only a few strides ahead of me as we approached the store. Before reaching the store, the man turned around and began walked away from the store, in the direction he came from.
Maybe he left his phone or wallet in the car? Maybe he forgot to lock the car doors?
Not thinking too much of it, I continued walking. I walked through the automatic doors. Not sure when the man from the parking lot turned back around to walk to the store but he was now behind me, about the same distance I was behind him originally. It made me beg the question of whether or not he actually needed to go back to his car, or wanted to use the opportunity to walk behind me for a better view.
It's happened before. I've walked past or stood near men, and watched them from the corner of my eyes readjust to position themselves in a way that provides a better or more thorough view of what I got going on.
As the man walked into the store behind me, he commented that I looked nice. More than likely my ass looked nice. I thanked him without breaking stride or turning around to make eye contact. He continued to talk, asked if I was cooking this early in the morning. I ignored the question and kept walking. He then asked if I had a boyfriend. I said yes. Still walking, without breaking stride or turning around. He asked if I could have friends. I said no. He made some comment about not being mad about my situation before walking off in a different direction.
I could write a book full of stories with my experiences with unwanted advances from young adult to present day, but overall the problem with the scenarios is the fact that I have to say no more than once. I’ve tried being upfront about my non interest, I’ve tried lying, I’ve tried simply saying no and none of that seems to be a deterrent.
I've avoided certain businesses and locations because some people working there have tried to hit on me before and made things uncomfortable. Sometimes men have a way of eyeing you like a piece of meat, sort of devouring you with their eyes. It can be very unattractive and unnerving sometimes. I'm sure all ladies like a compliment here and there but in these situations it’s all about what you say and how to say it. It’s about respecting a woman’s feelings and worries the first time around. It’s about understanding a woman and not making her want to run for the nearest exit.
I've spoken to men in my family and friend circle who have confirmed that curvier bodies get a lot of attention, and stated that I should not be surprised by such encounters. I've received "advice" from them, telling me to concede, to give a guy my number for the sake of getting out of the situation safely, suggesting I block the guy later.
My question is why? Why should women have to give in to men who feel entitled to their body? Unfortunately, we live in a rapey, misogynistic society that views women as objects of desire and nothing else, and it really, really sucks.
It’s ridiculously unfair how many men put women into uncomfortable situations every single day. I’m sick of it. Women having to live their lives in regards to if a man wants to hurt them that day is a disappointing norm.
Do you feel that because of your body type you’re over sexualized? Have you experienced unwanted advances?