To that woman in Pizza Hut, who I think was with her family, her son and grandson, or maybe her brother and nephew. Who’s son/brother was checking out a woman in leggings. When your grandson/nephew came back to the table and told you “Dad’s watching that woman.” When you smiled at him like this was a little joke. Like this was acceptable behaviour. Because your son/brother is of the generation where objectifying women is not only acceptable but encouraged man to man. Where objectifying women is overlooked by other women as we feel intimidated to stand up and call out this behaviour. Yet men have no issue standing up and cat calling us.
To that woman in Pizza Hut, who’s young male relative noted behaviour of his father, looking to you for your opinion. Your acceptance, your smile, they will form vertebrae of the backbone of how he treats women. They will continue the system we women want to break.
To that woman in Pizza Hut, this is what I wish I’d said to you. “Please talk to your nephew/grandson about what he saw. Please talk to your nephew/grandson about how it’s not okay. Please talk to him about what he witnessed in an open way, allowing for conversation but making it clear the actions of his father aren’t okay. Please talk to your son/brother about his behaviour. Please talk to him in a way that women from your generation couldn’t imagine having the freedom to talk in. That I wish you now felt you had the freedom to talk in.”
But of course I said none of this. I am a feminist. I am a woman. I am comfortable being in uncomfortable conversations. And yet I let this opportunity pass by. Another globule of cement fixing a sexist brick on this young man’s wall of ideals.
To that woman in Pizza Hut, who was objectified by a man from a time I wish was further in history than it seems, I am sorry I did not speak out for you. I hope next time I will do better.