Is my dress provoking you?

#OOTD when I was harassed: cream colored dress
Body parts showing: face, neck, décolletage, 1/3 of my upper back, arms, hands, fingers, lower leg, portion of my feet
Number of Catcalls: 4
Number of lewd stares: Too Many
Where catcalls happened: Lanuza, Ortigas Ave, Robinsons Galleria

I’ve always written about my street harassment encounters and everyone knows I hate them. I get cat called and street harassed almost everyday, from house to office and vice versa. Most of the time I shrug them off. I’ve learned not to listen or ignore them. But today and yesterday I noticed an increase of cat calls and lewd stares (I’m not imagining them, I know a lewd lingering stare when I see one). I realized I’ve been wearing a dress and that must have been the reason.

I realized too that whenever I get cat called or stared at, I suddenly get self-conscious. I try to look at myself: is my cleavage showing? Is my dress/skirt too short? What are they looking at which I should hide? I notice I’ve learned to bow my head down hoping not to see men staring at me or hoping they won’t shout “Hi babe” or “Hi ganda” or “Sexy.” Sometimes they don’t shout, they whisper to my ear when they pass by me.

I am tired. I am tired of having to check what I’m wearing, having to look down and see if I’m showing too much skin, having to hide my body parts. And I am tired of being scared what these men might do to me.

So today I am posting this dress I’m wearing when I got cat called and street harassed early today. Because I am tired and I am no longer taking this well. I’ve started to hate walking home or walking out of the house. Sometimes I feel helpless already.

I am sure I’m not the only woman who goes through this. It’s an everyday occurrence we think is normal but it’s not. It is rape culture and it is harming women.

Cat calls are not compliments. They make women feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

It’s time for women to be empowered. It’s time for men to be educated. It’s time for a culture change. It’s not about the way we dress, it’s about the way you look at us. Our bodies are not yours to look at and objectify.

I will document the street harassments I experience and what I’m wearing when I get them. I want you to see how much women are objectified in a world where we say we have closed the gender gap. Because until women running naked on the street without anyone trying to harm her is impossible, gender equality also remains impossible.