Are the two genders nothing more than the hunted and the hunting, the predator and the prey, in the jungle of primeval consciousness. Why are fashionable women seen as sex objects at social gatherings or at the workplace? Singapore-based Rina reacts against the ogling and groping, in the new column, every week. A Different Truths exclusive.
Our childhoods and upbringings are deep-rooted anchors that provide us with a baseline reference throughout our lives. We use it to give ourselves comfort even in the deepest moments of distress as we grow armours to deal with life or sometimes cast our armours to defuse tough life situations.
I learned to appreciate myself through a combination of clothing myself in a way that I first appreciated myself – this is ever so important to understand before anyone else judges me – and in conducting myself with a free-spirited friendliness that I’m always comfortable with. Every human – regardless of gender – has a right to appreciate themselves first before seeking social appreciation.
As I evolved through my beliefs and conduct, I didn’t see it fit to criticise men that thought women were outlandishly dressed or that women were conservatively dressed.
Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus is an over laboured but well-emphasised difference in the mental, physical, and purely social conduct of these two genders.
This understanding stops me from criticising a man, who sees me with a feeling of sexual desire based on my clothing; and regardless finding a way to appreciate another woman’s feminine physicality in a fully conservative attire.
I am of the opinion that he’s limited in his understanding of a woman and disrespectful in looking at us as sexual creatures alone – the base, animalistic instincts make such men just that!
It is his opinion of my clothing as is my opinion of his conduct – we must allow this difference space and continue with harmonious existence instead of plunging our world into deeper conflict.
I often wonder if the two genders nothing more than the hunted and the hunting, the predator and the prey, in the jungle of primeval consciousness.
It becomes dangerous when neither side is willing to consider the other aspect. Here I emphasise on the ardent need to look beyond clothing and a woman’s physical beauty alone.
The 21st-century reality is that our society needs women to be economically empowered because women offer skills and competencies that complement those of men. They must work as a team for a better synergy and work environment.
We complement a man’s directness and often abrasive attitudes humanely. We complement a man’s confrontational (read territorial and aggressive) and often political leadership styles with one built on empathy and fairness of opportunities. We provide a biologically created alternative to the male opinion that beauty and brains cannot co-exist.
Often at work, most men tend to treat a woman for one of two primary reasons – he’s either appreciating some trait of hers, or he’s keen to develop a more meaningful relationship with her.
Women often choose harmonious living over confrontation for matters that can be well resolved through a simple conversation or good conduct – negotiations rather than acrimonious arguments at times.
I have experienced at work when men couldn’t look beyond my dressing or be well balanced as they normally would be if I dressed to portray my self-appreciation. While this attention was welcome, I wanted appreciation for the work I did.
I sought opportunities to deliver on my primary excellence and grow to take on more responsibilities at work.
Unfortunately, a few of my male colleagues thought the additional responsibilities I could take were based on pleasing them sexually.
The casual touch on the shoulder developed to a caress, grab or squeeze around the waist. The complement of being pretty developed to commenting on how sexy or racy I was. The appreciation for a modern woman’s dressing degenerated into a sense of how easy I was for several men to ‘have’ me.
My comfort with my own conduct and dressing created trouble for me in personal life as well. Friends of my husband moved from subtly appreciating me – very welcomed – to overtly asking me if I fancied a fling with them. I asked one man how he could come to such a conclusion and he said it was because I wore clothing showing my cleavage and my long legs!
It made me wonder why he never thought of how unappealing he was because I’d be judging him too!
I thought the best way to deal with this is to be one of the boys – to compete with them, to be like them – behave and conduct myself in a way that they understand. Never mind the fact that I felt it was crass at times and obnoxious on several occasions. It could be that they were just being boys!
I realised that this is an approach that would never work. In all fairness, the two genders must have a comfortable existence being themselves and not having to prove that one is superior to the other.
Such ideal living would never exist as I learned the hard way. At work, my male colleagues just said they would appreciate my work more if I dressed more conservatively. It stunned me that my last five excellently delivered projects were lost on them and they still saw me from a purely physically sensual perspective.
Surely, it’s not a woman’s fault that nature created her with feminine grace and beauty. It’s not a woman’s fault that she has breasts that support life as well as provides pleasure; it’s definitely not her fault that her vagina is biologically needed, supports the existence of human life, and provides a man with enjoyment.
I had to stop my male colleagues by telling them directly – look but don’t stare or lech, appreciate but don’t offend, offer a handshake but don’t clasp my hand firmly.
Some men remained friends and we even became better friends; most others fell from grace.
I changed. I learned to believe women and men have their own ways of living their lives – some harmonious and some confrontational – and we must learn to succeed in our distinct ways, without imposing our methods or ideologies on one another.
Harmony, after all, symbolises a woman. A woman symbolises creation!
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Rina is an accomplished graphic designer with a strong knowledge of Adobe software, visual communication, multimedia scripting, human-computer interface, and also the knowledge of 3D animation and production techniques. Creative, resourceful and flexible, able to adapt to changing priorities and maintain a positive attitude and strong work ethic. Passionate about art, not only practicing it but also spreading, appreciating, and learning it. She is currently situated in Singapore.