Thursday, 15 January 2015

What Do You See, When You See Me?

What do you see, when you see me?

A youthful, energized woman in her early 20s? A youth who is noticably different from others? A girl, whose tits you are curious about? Or perhaps, an instrument for sex?

What do you see, when you see me?

I experience being sexually objectified on many occasions ever since stepping into adulthood. 

I was asked how much I cost per night to sleep with.

I was offered by a rich manager to be his 二奶(secret girlfriend outside la). He offered to buy me an apartment in KL wtf.

When I was 18, I was sexually harrassed in a convenient store. A men groped my thigh from under my knee-length dress. 

When I go shopping, some men stalk me.

Whenever I am alone on the street at night, I get wolf-whistles about a nice body and big tits this and that. I even got offered free rides with the condition of a consensual sex.

(All of which happened when I am not wearing anything revealing)

When I talked about this problem to others, almost all females have experienced the same too. But instead of the question "Why would men do this? It isn't nice", I get reactions like the ones below:

"I guess you were wearing too sexy stuff."

"Aiyo, what to do? Take it as a compliment that people find you hot lo." 

"You probably shouldn't walk alone at night" 

"Why are you overreacting? IT IS NORMAL!" 

I started pondering why getting sexually and verbally harrassed are considered normal. It's happening too often, so often that we internalise the concept that as long as you're a female, wolf-whistles happen on you, and all you must do is to avoid them. JUST AVOID THEM.


We are supposed to live in a world where we feel safe enough, even from verbal attacks, to be able to carry out our daily work. As long as I have any commitment outside my home, sometimes, I cannot avoid walking home late at night. 

So how do I really avoid verbal harrasment or the danger of getting raped? I can't leave my vagina at home! 

I have come down to an answer: By being a man.

Which is pathetic because, since when our society have become one that is so unsafe for females? 

Ever since I become aware of sexism, I stopped dressing up like a woman. I stopped wearing feminine dresses that accentuate my curves, short pants and high heels almost completely. I spent a large amount of money buying coats, long pants and male-cutting outfit because I know this kind of outfit gives a sense of power, which I need desperately, to protect and distance myself from not just strangers, but also from my colleagues. I want to change the initial impression I gave them, which is expressively sexy or physical wtv it is, although honestly, I haven't done much to make them think like this of me. In fact, I work VERY VERY HARD to change this impression. I want people to see past my physical appearance and give credits to my character. I am very independent, brave and daring for my age. I am vocal about gender equality and I am a social activist. I am smart and I am very knowledgable about many other stuffs. I am opinionated and I speak out against the wrong-doings. 

Then I realise that sexism and sexual objectification isn't just placed by men on women, but also BY WOMEN ON WOMEN! 

In medicine, sometimes we need a student who is willing to take off his clothes for us to study anatomy. Usually, this student would be a male as it is more convenient especially when we are studying the structure in the chest and the heart (females are not encouraged as we have breasts). Last week, the laboratory assistant wanted to give us a chance to learn about how to handle a female patient in examining the heart so she requested to have a girl to strip. The female volunteer was required to take off her bra to ease the study process.

Immediately all arrows were pointed at me because my colleagues think I'm the sexy girl. They were like OMG Jinghui u da sexy girl u go! WTF la you think I'm very comfortable at being naked ah?! 

Anyway coming back to the topic, another friend of mine, A, almost went for it and I really appreciate and am thankful that she was trying to help me. But eventually I still went for it because of peer pressure. I mean, HOW TO NOT GO WHEN 10 PEOPLE WERE POINTING AT YOU LOL this is quite f***ed up and funny at the same time.

Update: Okay la you may be over-imagining now haha. Guys were blocked by the curtains in the surrounding so no worries. Thank you for your concern. :)

Update-update: I don't think that we should place the responsibility on a certain individual. This is a phenomenon which we all face and have contributed to. All of us are responsible as a society. On a side note, a friend just told me that if I was uncomfortable, I could have just refused. I know this exactly. But during that moment, nobody was willing to go for it. And when the lab assistant says if somebody don't come up now, we cant proceed with the learning. Well I guess just go do this shit was what crossed my mind then ahhaahhahaa

That was when I learned that, people have already tagged me, and the tag is not removable. They label me as a sexy girl. I have COMPLETELY stopped wearing anything that's revealing for 2 years. I am the only female colleague who dress up as a male to class. I don't act girly or femininely in any way at all. I even stop wearing pretty dresses to special occasions.

Yet the label stays. 

But it doesn't matter whether the label stays. What matter is, they think that being labelled as a sexy girl means I am more comfortable at being naked. 

What makes you think that you can label me as the "sexy girl"?

What makes you think that a "sexy girl" is more comfortable to be rid of clothes, than you are?

What makes you think that a "sexy girl" deserves to be targeted when a topic regarding sensitive parts of the body is brought up?

If you think a "sexy girl" deserves to be rid of clothes more than you do, do you think that she stands a better chance to be raped too?

So if one day I really get raped (touchwood), what are you going to say? Are you gonna say, "OMG she got raped, but what to do la she's the sexy girl she has big tits big butt ma"?

What makes you think that a "sexy girl" is more comfortable to be rid of clothes, than you are?

I have feelings too. I am just as uncomfortable as you when I have to be half-naked in front of 10 people.

So why am I subjected to stripping? Why only me?

Update: After reading this, some people asked me, "aiya small matter, just get picked to get some clothes off ma, why you making such a big fuss?"
But take note, why subconsciously, would people pick me out of the crowd? Why me? Because subconsciously, we make judgements. Subconsciously, you decide who you think should strip for the day: Me. Your subconscious decisions are powerful, so powerful they become your instinct, they determine your character, your openness and your judgement. And it is a big deal because, even if it didn't happen to me, the attack would have been directed to someone else, someone who is tagged the same label beside me. 

Update: I don't blame my colleagues for this. They are not at fault and in fact, they are just like everyone else and they are nice people. This is what our society have done to us. And it's up to us to make a change :)

Honestly, I am not upset that this happened. In fact, I am happy that it happened as I have learned something new. So whoever reads this, don't be sorry for what I have gone through because I'm not sorry myself :) I totally understand how it feels when people force you to "volunteer" when you're unwilling, aka peer pressure. Now, I have a better understanding on prejudice and sexual objectification. 

I discover that there are still rooms for improvement for our generation and our mindsets. I also learned that sexism has to be eliminated not just from the mindset of men, but from the society as a whole. This incidence has affirmed my commitment as a social activist to eliminate sexism and sexual objectification. As a feminist who promote gender equality, I naturally become very interested in body image and the influence of social media. Now, I have gained interest in sexual objectification too.

Now, I have a new question. 

Is Sexual Objectification all about victimisation?

For me, yes. I want people to concentrate on my character and inner strength. I want people to see what I've done and what I've achieved. But people only see superficially. I can't change that much. I am the victim here.

But what about people like Kim Kardashian, who encourages not just sexual objectification but also motivates women to objectify themselves? In fact, now in the modern world, many powerful celebrities like a tons of Victoria Secret angels also objectify themselves and become famous. They are powerful, popular, and their bodies become their utmost assets. 

Just scroll through Instagram. There are hundreds and thousands of men and women posting revealing and provocative photos. They have thousands of likes and they get sponsors, money etc. It has evolved into a form of empowerment.

What about them?

I hope to be able to make some more time out to conduct a new research (uni syllabus), besides my current one on body image, to study sexual objectification. :)

I hope this entry would raise some questions on the circumstances that happen very often in the society, yet we always take them for granted. For example, we think that girls getting wolf-whistles is normal. I hope that I have triggered some thoughts, and inspired you in some ways. Let's fight for gender equality together. 

Update: Upon reading this entry, many have sent me messages and express concern. Thank you so much for your concern! Haha just to clarify, I'm as happy and blur-headed as usual. I am definitely not an ounce affected. I share my entry because I want people to be aware of things that happen to many girls out there. I want to make it a point that everyone, man and woman, should share the responsibility of eliminating sexual objectification in the society. 

Update Update: I was angry. I am relieved now. No worries :)

Thank you for taking your time to read this!

What do you say about sexual objectification?


  1. That's very brave of you to voice this out. Disappointing to learn about this.

  2. I admire you for who you are, not your physical appearance. Thank you for always triggering me to think a lot after reading your words. :)