Women everywhere (I wish I could say ‘the globe over’) are regaining their power. They are learning that even the most seemingly innocent of things, like saying ‘hello’ to your neighbour as you go on your afternoon walk, is entirely unnecessary (if you don’t feel like greeting someone, you really aren’t in any way obliged to do so) – well at least this is what I have taken away from my social media experience this week.
I personally hadn’t given this concept much thought. If I’m out I usually do greet people, not because I’m nice, or an extrovert- but because I lack trust and I like to know who’s around me. So I look up, make eye contact and smile as a way of letting everyone around me know ‘hey I know you’re there so sneaking up on me won’t be that easy’.
Weird I know, but I’ve been held at gunpoint at work, been assaulted whilst heavily pregnant by an intruder at home and a heck of a lot in between so I like to pay attention to my surroundings. Not just because it’s the ‘nice’ or ‘decent’ thing to do to greet another human being, but because it’s important to me that I don’t give the impression of being unaware of anyone else’s presence…
Then there’s the part of me that also wants to see the goodness in others. Sometimes my soul feels joy when greeting another’s soul, other times I get an uneasy vibe, but I still greet their soul anyway, to avoid any kind of ambush – irrespective of a person’s gender I must add.
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Breaks My Heart!
I have to admit that it does still break my heart every time my children greet others whilst we’re walking together and the other person simply ignores them.
Of course, I understand now that no one is in any way obligated to respond to my little one’s greetings… but heavens, it still feels so cold when they’re ignored! Although I can see how it may be interpreted as feeling entitled to even hope for a response for them.
Keeping with the theme of women’s rights and past unintentional conditioning that we may have undergone in mind, one thing I find particularly disappointing is the way we let our side down as a team.
We fight for women’s empowerment, but at the same time, some of us still objectify men and worse – find it amusing.
I was in a photoshop group online where a male nurse posted his photo and asked if it could please be edited to use for a resume. The comments his photograph received were absolutely atrocious!
If he were a female, the first comment that was posted which was excessively sexual in nature would have been deleted and the member removed. However, this man received hundreds of excessively suggestive comments from women who found him incredibly attractive and nothing was done to support him and stop their unwanted advances.
All he was after was to have the background of his photo edited to make it more professional! And what he got was a whole host of women who were after his body.
Just Because He Is A Man…
Do we simply expect some men to just take it as a compliment?
It would be extremely hypocritical for women to rally together online for our rights not to greet a man just out of politeness- and yet at the same time be the ones to comment on photos of the opposite sex objectifying them.
Or even sharing photos of celebrities that we have a crush on stating what ‘we would like to do to them’ – or are we allowed to make sexually explicit comments about them because they choose to place themselves in a position of public display? Honestly, I’m so lost that I don’t even know where the line is supposed to be drawn anymore and what is and isn’t acceptable.
I agree that perhaps we as women have been conditioned to believe that we have to greet passers-by, even if we don’t feel like it. However what about blokes? What have they been conditioned to? And could it possibly be almost as bad as what we have been, but we just expect them to man up and accept it. We assume that they enjoy our advances- because after all, they’re ‘men’…
You Don’t HAVE To Greet Me Back
The reality is that no one has to respond to any sort of greeting if they don’t feel comfortable, if they don’t have the time or even if they just plain don’t want to. The best part is that we can’t judge either party for their choices either. And the importance behind all of this is that we are able to acknowledge why we do what we do so that we are able to live a richer and fuller life and we aren’t merely running on autopilot.
However, we can’t possibly celebrate women’s empowerment whilst also destroying our fellow men. Whether it be by degrading them intentionally or unintentionally with sexually explicit compliments. I know my husband has often pulled me up on the types of things I say to him, reminding me that he’s a person too and I could focus on compliments that aren’t based on looks- even though the man has a nice face.
Live And Let Live
I think it’s been a wonderful eye-opener and a really great way to be able to explain to my little one’s why people don’t acknowledge them when they say “hello” as we’re walking by.
It shows us all how important it is to be non-judgmental and to demonstrate acceptance even when someone’s ethics go against our own. It’s almost like good deeds – they always feel the most satisfying when done with nothing expected in return, even if it’s something as simple as a ‘hello’ in return from a neighbour as they walk past your home. They did what they felt was right for themselves, which was greet you, but you in no way, shape or form have to reciprocate their gesture. You both did what felt right, and if respect for your fellow human is there, there wouldn’t even be an atom of offence felt.
This truly is a wonderful example of ‘live and let live’…
Would you expect a passer-by to reciprocate your greeting? Would you think they are rude if they didn’t? Tell us in the comments below.