Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Questions and discussions about your bodies and their parts.
Whizdom
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Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Whizdom »

I have a question for anybody who would like to answer. I was at church yesterday and I had a really nice dress on, the first time I wore it. Right after church service a good friend of my dad's came up to me and said that I looked beautiful and that I was filling out in all the right places. When he said that line he put his hand up so that his eyes could not see my chest. He didn't say it in a strange way but it was how he said it and what he did with his hand that made it creepy.
My boobs have popped out overnight. They finally caught up with how my body and I love the way they look. Some people have looked at them and I get a little insecure when they do it but nobody has ever said anything about them.
But this guy is my dad's age. We have known him for years, but I'm not sure if I want to be back around him on Sunday. And I don't think I want to wear that dress again around him either.
Heather
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Re: Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Heather »

Welcome to the boards, Whizdom.

I agree with you that that comment was creepy. Personally, I think that's deeply inappropriate, all the more so when someone is in a space where they are both often very emotionally vulnerable (a religious service) and have their guard down because they think they are in a space (a religious community/house of worship) that's supposedly safe.

It's not okay for anyone to just comment on people's body parts like that when they are not already in an intimate relationship with them and when they don't already know, from that person, that talk about their body is wanted and welcomed. At *best* it's deeply impolite.

I'm so sorry that you feel unable to wear something that it sounds like you liked because this person has made you feel unsafe and responsible for his behaviour. I want to be super clear that you, your body and your dress are ALL not responsible for, nor the root of, this man's behaviour. He is responsible, and he is the source of it, too. I'm also sorry you don't feel safe and feel like you now have to rethink going somewhere you would otherwise have gone to and felt safe at otherwise.

Do you feel like this is something you can talk honestly with your Dad about, and also be respected in if, for example, you ask for some time away from that service because of how this man has made you feel?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Whizdom
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Primary language: English
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Location: America

Re: Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Whizdom »

Lol. Well, you make it sound worse, but you're right.
I spent three hours looking for that dress. My mom gave me some money, she dropped me off and I tried on 10 different dresses before I found that. Took a photo, my mom approved, and I bought it because it made me look beautiful. And I got some really nice shoes to go with it. Now I don't want to wear it at all.
Him telling me that I looked beautiful would have been okay with me, I would have been okay with that. I am not okay with the filling out part and I am not okay with him using his hand to block his view. I was very embarrassed when he did that but I laughed it off because I didn't see any harm until now.
I'll be at church on Sunday. Not sure what I'm going to wear. But I'll just stay away from him for a while.
Gone.Sorry.
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Re: Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Gone.Sorry. »

Just because an occurrence wasn't explosive or physically violent doesn't mean you have to downplay how creepy and upsetting it was. An older man made an inappropriate comment towards you and made you feel unsafe. You're now changing how you dress and physically trying to avoid him in order to avoid going through anything similar. That is bad - and it's not because you've done anything wrong, which you haven't. You're not overreacting or being dramatic. It's okay to be upset and uncomfortable at the entitled way this man treated you. What he said and how he acted was undeniably creepy and deeply inappropriate, and it's very telling that he approached you when you were likely standing alone.

It's also okay that you laughed it off in the moment but are only later processing how creepy it was and how uncomfortable and unsafe it's made you feel. Laughing it off in the moment doesn't mean that you're overreacting or being inappropriate. It just means that's what you did in the moment it was happening.

I'm so sorry that you faced such a creepy and uncomfortable situation that you never should have been put in and for how it's impacting you now. <3

Do you want to talk about scripts you could use if you do run into this man again? Do you want to talk about methods you can try and use to avoid being alone with this man again? Do you want to talk about what you would need to be able to wear the dress that you like so much again? Do you want to talk about how to tell your mom what happened? Basically, is there a best way we can help support you right now?
Heather
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Re: Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Heather »

Lol. Well, you make it sound worse, but you're right.
I spent three hours looking for that dress. My mom gave me some money, she dropped me off and I tried on 10 different dresses before I found that. Took a photo, my mom approved, and I bought it because it made me look beautiful. And I got some really nice shoes to go with it. Now I don't want to wear it at all.
Him telling me that I looked beautiful would have been okay with me, I would have been okay with that. I am not okay with the filling out part and I am not okay with him using his hand to block his view. I was very embarrassed when he did that but I laughed it off because I didn't see any harm until now.
I'll be at church on Sunday. Not sure what I'm going to wear. But I'll just stay away from him for a while.
I'm sorry if the way I characterized it made you feel worse or felt like I was putting feelings on you that aren't actually yours. You get to feel about this however you do, and there's a whole range of feelings someone might have.

What I was trying to express is that no matter how someone might feel about it, saying these kinds of things to someone who hasn't been very clear with you that they want or are okay with you talking about their body that intimately just isn't okay. It's harassment, and that's why, for instance, you felt embarrassed and humiliated. Again, I'm so sorry you've had to experience this: unfortunately, it's very common in the world that we live in for this to happen, especially from men and to woman and girls. :(

I don't mean to nudge you about it, but in case you missed my asking, is this something you feel able to -- and want to -- talk with your parents about?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Whizdom
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Primary language: English
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Location: America

Re: Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Whizdom »

Heather, it's okay, I agree with what you said. And both of you are right. Both of you make it sound worse because it is. I wanted to brush it off and laugh about it and try and turn it into a lovely compliment. That's not going to happen.
We have a Wednesday service in just a few hours. Thankfully it's casual clothing. If I see him looking at me or if I see him trying to sit beside me or behind me I will say something.
Yes, I want to tell my parents, but maybe this was just a dumb joke. But I also know that I didn't like what he did and I earched online to find a message board so that I can talk about this.
Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8617
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
Age: 51
Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
Primary language: english
Preferred pronouns: they/them
Sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Heather »

You know, even if he thinks this is a joke or funny, I don't see any reason not to tell your parents if you want to. he's responsible for his words. Plus, while it's unlikely he is that clueless, you might spare some other girls this from him by saying something: someone like this, once they know other adults are paying attention to their behaviour, often tend to do it a lot less. You certainly would likely spare yourself this from him again, and I think that alone really matters.

You, like everyone, just should not have to put up with this from anyone.

We'll be thinking of you. Hang in there, and please do whatever you need to to try and feel safe again.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Gone.Sorry.
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Re: Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Gone.Sorry. »

In boundaries, a lot of the times we talk about what boils down to "intent" vs "perception". The intent is only the inner thinking of the person who is performing the "action" and can explain why someone makes a comment/acts a certain way. The perception is how the person the "joke" (or comment or behavior) is aimed at feels about it. While the intent of the comment maaaaaay have possibly been a joke, the perception was that it was inappropriate, creepy, and demeaning. What matters in upholding a boundary? The perception! It's your body and your life, and so YOU get to make the boundary. What matters is how you feel about the comment and action aimed towards you. It is secondary and minor how the comment and action was meant because you are the person the comment and action was actually aimed towards.

Basically, that's a really wordy way to say that it doesn't matter if it was meant as a joke! It didn't feel like a joke, and therefore it wasn't a good joke. It crossed a boundary, and therefore it's perfectly acceptable to call out the behavior/report the behavior to someone in authority like your parents.

Please let us know how your Wednesday service went if you're up for doing so! I hope that this man didn't come near you and that you were able to at least somewhat enjoy yourself.
Whizdom
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Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:26 pm
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Primary language: English
Preferred pronouns: Her
Sexual identity and orientation: Last time I checked I am a female
Location: America

Re: Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Whizdom »

now I am just not comfortable with him. Told my mom about it, my mom told my dad. Not sure what my parents will do but they took what I said very seriously.
I wasn't comfortable with getting him into trouble but what he did is creeping me out.
Nothing happened at service, I looked at him a few times but he wasn't looking at me and he never did talk with me. But my mom asked me why I wasn't myself, and I told her.
I didn't like any of this. I really have been a little nervous since Sunday, not feeling right about it. Him talking about my body wasn't right. But I did tell my mom.
What happens Sunday I don't know. Maybe i'll just skip Church for a few months?
Right now I don't like Church, I don't like my dress, and I don't like my boobs. That is how I feel about that. Him saying beautiful would have been okay, but not him putting his hand up and blocking his view of my chest and saying that your filling out in the right places. And nobody was around when he said that, we were in the corner of the Church talking about how high school was going for me and he switched it and started talking about my body. And I told my mom all of that.
Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8617
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
Age: 51
Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
Primary language: english
Preferred pronouns: they/them
Sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: Is this a creepy comment or is it a compliment?

Unread post by Heather »

I'm so sorry that you have had this experience and also that you have to carry all the emotional impacts that something like this usually leaves you with. It's really common for sexual harassment to make us feel exactly how you're feeling.

I get you're not feeling it now, that's okay, but somewhere in your brain, for when you're ready, I hope you'll file away that the problem here isn't and wasn't you, your dress or your boobs. Without this guy doing this to you, this wouldn't have happened. It's his responsibility, which is also why it is absolutely sound he take responsibility for it. It's not about "getting him in trouble." It's about insisting he, like any of us, should take responsibility for his behaviour.

If he doesn't like the outcome of this, perhaps he will choose to start behaving differently and start treating young women with respect. That isn't likely if he acts like this and nothing happens, so hooray for anything that does. Good on you for being courageous and standing up for yourself by asking for your parents help and telling them what happened. It isn't easy, especially if we think it's our fault in any way. <3
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
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