Women tell us about the first time they were objectified
‘It’s hard to pinpoint because it happens so often’
It was about eight o’clock at night, I had just finished work and was walking home. Two boys who couldn’t have been any older than twelve went past me on a bike and shouted ‘you alright beautiful?’ I ignored them, but they were so young, it was almost laughable. Then I started thinking. What if they hadn’t have been young? What if it had been two full grown men heckling me in the street? How would that had made me feel?
I then remembered the first time I ever felt objectified as a woman. I was about the same age as these two boys. A boy came past me on a bike, said ‘nice arse’, then followed me, asking me for my number. I remember feeling embarrassed, intimidated. By a boy who was the same age as these two boys who I had just laughed at.
I decided to ask other women about the first time they felt objectified and the most recent time it happened. here is what I found:
Amy, 21, student
The first time? Probably so long ago, around the age that boys started to pull girls because they thought it was cool; the age that people think more about lad points than the people they’re preying on. To put an exact time on it, it must have been around age 16 or 17, I really liked this guy but the only thing he seemed to care about was having sex with me. When he discovered I wanted to take things slower he seemed a lot less interested. Those kinds of things can really damage someone’s perception of their self worth.
It’s really hard to pinpoint times because it’s such a regular occurrence in life nowadays it almost seems normal. I think clubbing culture kind of contributes to objectification. I remember not too long ago though, two guys made a £5.00 bet that one of them could get with me.
Lily, 23, Waitress
The first time I felt objectified, I was probably about 15. I was at the rugby with my dad and his mates who are all in their late forties, fifties. Me and another lady were the only women there and there were many comments about the way I look. They were talking about my bum and what I was wearing and stuff. I knew it was all a joke but I didn’t like it and felt embarrassed at that age.
Ever since I guess I get it all the time, especially if I go out and I’m dressed up, or have a lot of makeup on or am bearing skin. The most recent time would be working behind a bar, and comments from locals, commenting on the fact that I was eye candy or a female working behind the bar. I get it constantly especially in this line of work. I’ve also noticed that since I’ve had my hair cut short, I’ve had a lot of comments bout not being feminine enough and being obviously gay. It doesn’t make me feel great to be honest, but now I tend to stand up for myself, rather than in the past when I just kept quiet.
Daisy, 20, English Literature and Creative Writing student
The last time I felt objectified was probably when I went out a few weeks ago and some guy who was about 40 slapped my ass and when I told him to fuck off he said ‘if you weren’t so uptight you might enjoy it!’
Laura, 20, Admin Assistant
I can’t really remember the first time it happened, but a few months ago a creepy bloke followed me around Sainsbury’s and then asked if I was single at the card section count. It was quite scary. I was aware he was following me a little way into my shop. I didn’t quite hear what he said the first time and then he repeated himself. I told him I certainly wasn’t and he eventually walked off.