Infantilization

Imagine you go to a party. You put on a cute low cut top that is completely appropriate for this party. You feel great, you like your look. You wear a coat because it’s cold. You enjoy the party, you are having fun with your friends. You step outside for some air, or a smoke, whichever it happens to be in your case. You’re enjoying a quiet conversation with a friend. Suddenly, a man comes up to you, a man who you’ve never met, and buttons up your coat.

A man comes up to you, puts his hands on your clothes, and adjusts them to his liking.

This is commonly referred to as the infantilization of women in the patriarchal society. Women are seen as over grown children, and like children, they need to be shown what is right and what is wrong, they don’t have the cognitive capacity to make their own decisions. This attitude is disgusting and still very pervasive. This is the thought processes behind horrific laws that have recently passed, such as making a woman get permission (!!!) from the father to have an abortion, even if the father was her rapist! This is the thought process behind men attacking our reproductive freedom, because what could women possibly know about what’s right for them? If women have no agency, of course there’s nothing wrong with a man coming to a woman and adjusting her clothing as he sees fit.

This happened to my friend, Sarah, in what is considered to be a very progressive country, Norway. Here is a conversation she and I had about it:

Alex:How did you feel when that happened?

Sarah:Dumbfounded and offended, but moments later EMPOWERED because I finally had a good argument for why he shouldn’t do it.

You know how you often feel like something is wrong but you can’t articulate it until way later? But I was like, you can offer me your scarf if I look cold, but don’t touch me or pull my clothes, because you wouldn’t do that to a man hahahahahh. Not today, Satan!!!

But initially humiliated, that’s the feeling I was looking for

I was wearing a reaaaally low cut top and slut shaming myself pretty hard. So for someone to even insinuate that I should be more covered up, even if it was because of the weather, was so embarrassing

A:Yeah like you’re somehow wrong and he’s gonna set you straight. Like a parent to a child.

S:Like I can’t decide how much clothing I need . Because ground breaking concept: you can dress like a baby if you want, that’s a fashion statement, not a signal that you need a man to help you cover your basic needs.

 

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