A couple of months ago, I was casually waiting at a bus stop, minding my own business, when a woman entered my optical field. Seeing as she lingered in front of me, her eyes on me, looking expectantly, thinking she’d want to ask me something about the bus schedule (or something of the sort), I took off my headphones and waited for her to speak.
“I’m sorry to disturb you”, said the older woman. “but, you are a beautiful girl and you clearly have a fine body… why are you not wearing something a little more… revealing?”
“I like my clothes. Thank you very much”, I replied deciding to follow, cautiously, a more polite approach. (I was wearing a buggy t-shirt and a pair of shorts)
“Don’t you want to look sexy? To be taken more seriously”, she asked me then, surprised.
“Eh, no, thank you. I like my clothes and the way I look”, I insisted.
“Don’t you want to look sexy? Don’t you want to have that… something? A fine girl like yourself”, she repeated. “Don’t you want people to notice you?”
In that moment, it crossed my mind to get angry, but I decided, once more, to keep it polite.
“No, I’m fine. I like the way I look”, I replied patiently.
“Stupid girl”, she mumbled to herself and walked away, shaking her head.
I watched her walk away, not sure of how I felt about the strange encounter. More than anything, it got me thinking on how there were still women, on the 21st century that thought, that women had to look sexy, or hot, or be dressed provocatively to be noticed or taken seriously in any degree. As a feminist, I was surprised and confused. Women are worth so much more than their looks and it was hard for me not to get mad at the old(ish) woman and give her a lecture on female empowerment and worth.
It got quite a strong reaction from the people surrounding me, as well. At first, it was light and humorous, but after some time it got serious and extended to subjects beyond women and their physical appearance in today’s society. Funny how such a small event can trigger such a strong reaction. Despite that, it gave me hope, that as people, Greeks none the less, we can surpass our racist, patriarchic and rather negative past attitude and close-minded beliefs.