A woman who was scolded by a random stranger for wearing shorts is sharing the “disturbing” experience on Facebook.
On Thursday, Taylor Beth Walker, a 19-year-old student, was pumping gas in Summerville, S.C., when a man at the next pump advised her to “put your pants on.”
Walker wrote in a post with a picture of her outfit, “I am disturbed….It’s hot as hell here in SC and I’m dressed appropriately for that weather. This man saw me at a gas station and said, ‘Where are your clothes? You need to put some pants on! Haha!’ I could tell he wasn’t trying to be rude, so I said, ‘I am wearing clothes, I have shorts on,’ to which he replied, “I have a daughter your age, that’s why I felt justified saying that.’”
Even though Walker laughed off the man’s remarks, she was left fuming. “He actually thought his opinion mattered — it was so patronizing and condescending,” she tells Yahoo Style.
The issue, according to Walker, is bigger than her experience. “Some of you might be thinking this comment was harmless and no big deal,” she explained in her post. “Maybe it was harmless, sure, but it was entirely unwelcome and proves a major point about our culture.”
She went on to explain exactly why this particular incident speaks to larger societal issues:
“When this man saw me, he immediately saw a body that SHOULD be covered up, something sexual that shouldn’t be on display for others to see, something to be ashamed of showing. He didn’t see a body dressed for the summer heat, he saw an object that could be ACTED upon (not necessarily by him but by any person), a thing to be observed by other’s eyes. Well guess what, I’m a WHOLE person with thoughts and feelings and intent. I’m so much more than skin, flesh, and bones. More than the amount of skin that you can or can’t see. But that’s not what he saw and that’s DISTURBING. His immediate thought when seeing me was, ‘Woah, she should be more covered up, I should comment on that.’”
A similar incident occurred recently in Texas when a teen wearing a long T-shirt and shorts was approached by a woman who told her she looked “trashy.” And high school students — mostly girls — are often shamed for breaking school dress codes that tend to unfairly objectify female bodies.
Walker’s mother, who was sitting in the car at the time, was equally outraged when her daughter recounted what had happened. “My mom is from an older generation, so in some ways, she’s internalized this type of misogyny,” the teen tells Yahoo Style. “But she understands how annoying it is for young women to go through this all the time.”
Walker says that while the experience was stressful, it’s an important one for men and women to hear. “We just have to keep talking about it.”
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