I saw the strangest thing last week at the grocery store. Okay, maybe it wasn't so strange, I hear it happens a lot actually, but it was the first time I ever witnessed it.
I was walking towards the store. There was a tall girl in the parking lot guarding a 24-pack, wearing a t-shirt and shorts (temperatures were still soaring past 90F last week). There was also a young man leaving the store, himself carrying a case of beer. So while I'm walking, I see this guy who is between me and the store, and I see him looking... at that girl.
And you know, it was not a casual look. He looked her up, and down, and back up again... and down again. I was disgusted, absolutely disgusted. I can only assume she wasn't aware that he was ogling her... but from my perspective it was so overt, so impertinent, my distaste was overwhelming. I've seen dogs eye steak with more tact.
I think I probably have some men reading who aren't surprised, maybe you all are more aware of this behavior than I am (probably are.) But I bring it up because I'm not exactly the world's biggest hijab advocate. I'm not aware of anyone looking at me that way, but seriously, how can anyone in this society suggest that men, in general, are so well-behaved that women are "free" to dress however they like, according to their "comfort?"
How could any woman be comfortable under such a repugnant gaze? Is it freedom to feel like a piece of meat? I know some of you have commented on my other blog and made excellent points, and this post is geared in that general direction.
After this experience, I don't see how anyone in a Western society can legitimately argue that women are not viewed merely as sexual creatures. I'm not talking about a girl at a bar, a girl who is flirting, putting herself out there so to speak, a girl who has dolled and dressed up to get any attention, she was in a Food Lion parking lot and this random guy (who I could add was well dressed, not a "bum" off the street) is looking at her for no other reason than to gauge her sexual potential.
I felt dirty after watching him do this, and he wasn't even looking at me! So how can anyone after that say hijab is bad? If a woman is covered, I can't really imagine how she could be looked at like this poor girl was, and more likely wouldn't merit a second glance from a guy whose head has retreated into his pants.
And no, I don't think all men are like that, but if I ever had any doubts about women covering to avoid being viewed in a sexual context... they're gone. Shattered by the rotten stench of that "ogre."