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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Comfortability question (yes I know that's not a word ;-))

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Author Topic: Comfortability question (yes I know that's not a word ;-))
WesLuck
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I'm doing an assignment with some other people. However, I am a bit thrown by what some of the young women are wearing. Now I normally don't worry too much about it, but having the shoulders showing and special eyeliner has caused me some issues. I like to look people in the face (eyes), regardless of what they are wearing. But I found today that I was a bit uncomfortable about the revealing stuff, and I said to the group that I was feeling uncomfortable because of this. Yeah it's funny when it's not you and my dad said I shouldn't have brought that up in a group, but sometimes I get tired of always never talking about this sort of thing. Problem is, it's an issue for me, and I feel very vulnerable about it (which is why I probably shouldn't have mentioned it in the group, but I was feeling really uncomfortable and thought I should). But when I am doing a group assignment I prefer to concentrate on the issue at hand, and not get worried about what someone is wearing.

Can someone give me some ideas about what to do about this? I know everyone in my group, plus my dad would be having a good laugh *at* me about this, but I am kinda hoping for some verbal re-inforcement here. I so hate that whenever you talk about anything like this it is so uncomfortable, but the reason I brought it up in the group was because I WAS feeling uncomfortable and I thought it would disrupt the group work. But it probably would have been better to shut it up and not say anything.

Some advice and positive re-inforcement would help a lot here. I am feeling very embarrassed and vulnerable for bringing up an issue no-one really speaks about in any public or semi-public forum. Note that I do not want to go out with any people in my study group, I am just finding it uncomfortable when I look them in the eyes.

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Robin Lee
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What was the reaction from your group when you shared your discomfort with them?

Can you tell us a litlte more about what makes you feel uncomfortable? I'm a little confused as you say that you prefer just to make eye contact, but that you're having trouble making eye contact because of the clothes your study partners are wearing. Can you explain this a little more? [Smile]

As far as telling the group how you feel, that is totally acceptable. People may not change what they do or how they act in response to you, but you always have the right to say how it makes you feel. [Smile]

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Robin

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treetops
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I'm going to be honest, I think it's you who's been inappropriate here.
If these women are dressed incorrectly for whatever work environment you're in, I'm sure the boss/whoever is in charge will notice and mention it to them. I really don't think it's up to you. I'm sure you are aware that people try and police what women wear all the time, and it seems like that's what you're doing here.

If you have an issue with what people are wearing in your work environment, I think the onus is on you to leave that environment and find one which is better suited to you. I think it was deeply inappropriate and unprofessional to say to the group that you felt uncomfortable with them wearing eyeliner or whatever. I can't speak for them, but if I were those women, I would feel humiliated, creeped out and angry, and like I wasn't being valued for my actual input at all.

You're speaking about how uncomfortable *you* felt, but I think it's likely that you've now made others feel uncomfortable for simply wearing what they wanted, which isn't really any of your business.

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WesLuck
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Answering Robin's second question first:

Well, one has a visible shoulder, eyeshadow and some cleavage. The other has eyeshadow and the shoulder visible too. I can see these things while looking them in the face. I guess it's just that the combination of the two in the same group resulted in me feeling uncomfortable.

I actually started off by saying that I preferred to look people in the face when I talked to them, and then I had to elaborate, and well it's hard to say exactly what you mean when talking about something that has a basis in sexuality. Then oh you know, the sort of "Why" and a few laughs and giggles from the rest of the group, especially as I had to elaborate without saying anything expressly sexual. I think I got off fairly lightly (in terms of these things anyway) but I still felt extremely embarrassed and sensitive and vulnerable. And I really felt it later on in the day when my dad chided me for talking about something related to sexuality in a public or semi-public situation, which made me feel even worse.

The only reason I brought it up in the group was because I was feeling extremely uncomfortable. I knew that the kind of thing I could be letting myself in for, but I still wanted to express it because I did feel it could affect my functioning with and within the group. But that's the kind of thing society tries to drill into you - don't ever say anything even a tiny bit related to sexuality to anyone but very close friends or suffer the consequences. Even if you have a good reason for mentioning feeling uncomfortable, ie. such as in a group situation. I made it clear that it was a problem with me, not with them.

I will wait for an answer from Robin.

[ 05-02-2012, 09:13 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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Robin Lee
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I'm still having a little trouble understanding what uncomfortable means in this situation. Are you saying that you found the bare skin and cleavage arousing?

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Robin

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WesLuck
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I don't like to think of women as sexual beings when trying to do a group assignment not related to sexuality. And when I can't look at them in the face without seeing that, I sometimes (note the operative word "sometimes" - it normally doesn't result in extreme uncomfortableness) feel uncomfortable.

See, even though I did not intend any harm, things go pear-shaped anyway. Just like my parents say, "Sometimes you have to know when to shut up/be quiet and don't say anything".

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Robin Lee
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What do you think of the idea that showing skin and cleavage isn't necessarily sexual? You don't know what your group members intended, but it's just as likely that they're wearing these clothes because they feel good in them, or because the clothes are comfortable, or that that's all that was clean that day, as it is that they're wearing them with the intentin of being sexy.

Likewise, we can look at someone and say: "Oh wow. They're wearing sexy clothes!" Or we can look at them and say "Oh, there's some skin. Oh well." Sexuality can be a lot more about context than about what someone is wearing. Let's take the idea of shirtlessness. In most places, it's legal for a biological male to walk around in public without a shirt. In most places it's illegal for a biological female to walk around without wearing a shirt. Presumably this is because the female body, with breasts, is seen as sexual and therefore inappropriate. But if everything else about the context is the same, there's little if any difference between a biological male or biological female not wearing a shirt at, say, the beach.

.
.

I could go on, but I want to know what you think of this so far?

P.S. Let's put a moratorium on beating yourself up, okay? You're sharing how something makes you feel. Maybe people don't agree with you, but that gives you a chance to learn and hear about other ways of looking at things, yes?

d

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Robin

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WesLuck
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I don't normally beat myself up metaphorically (in fact I haven't for a long time, and have never self-harmed) but it's hard sometimes when what you think just doesn't fit with other people. I was expressing a feeling. If I need to change the thought and attitudes that precipitated the feeling, I can do that with time. But to feel that expressing the feeling is wrong, even if I did feel that it could get in the way of my interaction with the group, well I guess it's just life, I guess... though that doesn't necessarily make me feel any better. [Frown]
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Robin Lee
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Everyone is going to have their own opinion. From what you described in your group, it doesn't sound like you expressing your feeling did any harm.

I'm still having a little trouble understanding exactly what this discomfort is though. Did what I wrote above about things not always being sexy even though we've been taught to perceive them as sexy resonate at all? I'm trying to understand where you're coming from so we can figure it out together.

Make sense?

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Robin

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WesLuck
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It was probably an excessive reaction by me, which I guess could have been related to my mental illness, or lack of dating experience. You know how somehow you can be fixated on an idea, or express something based on a temporary idea and then that results in a whole lot of extra bother that wouldn't have come along if you hadn't expressed things out loud in the first place? I think that's just what this was.

Feelings are just that, feelings. They don't have to make any sense, that's why they are called feelings, and not logickings. [Wink]

[ 05-02-2012, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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Robin Lee
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[Smile] Love the word play!

One question for you: How will it be the next time you meet as a group if one or more of the members is dressd in ways that make you feel uncomfortable? Do you have any ideas for managing your feelings with that?

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Robin

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WesLuck
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I think I will realise that it is not something that is worth getting worried about. I raised the issue because I thought it should be raised, but am unsure of what initially caused it. I think I read somewhere that Heather said that feelings don't have to make any sense.

Sometimes you have to learn things the hard or uncomfortable way, but if all it was was some fairly strong uncomfortable feelings over the course of an afternoon and evening, and a little bit of textual (read: regarding online text) frustration against myself, I think I've got off lightly. And I've certainly learned too. [Smile]

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coralee
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Feelings are feelings and you have a right to your own feelings like has already been said.

But I am not sure what kind of response you were looking for when you brought up your discomfort about how these women were dressed. Were you expecting them to dress differently the next day so as not to make you uncomfortable? It's not really fair to expect someone to change their manner of dressing to make someone else feel less uncomfortable.

If you were just looking for them to acknowledge your feelings, but not expecting them to change their way of dressing, I don't really see how that would help any of you, since you would still feel uncomfortable and they would probably feel that they were still making you uncomfortable.

I don't think you have to work on changing yourself so you no longer have these feelings. However I think it is important for everyone to learn how to put such personal feelings aside in professional/work/school situations such as you described and move forward with work/assignments the best they can.

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WesLuck
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I must admit that I didn't get to the stage then of asking myself "Does raising this actually get anyone anywhere with the assignment?". I think it's a case of learning from experience and thinking more about sensitive issues such as this before opening my big mouth. [Smile]
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moonlight bouncing off water
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Exactly, and hey, we all make mistakes, if we didn't, we'd never learn. [Smile]

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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