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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Watch that thong!

By Silvia Uribe

Being a woman who grew up surrounded by women, and who has two daughters and many girlfriends, I feel quite protective of women. For these same reasons, I'm generally not only respectful of different ways, styles, and behaviors, but also I embrace and enjoy our particularities, and the way those make us unique. There are times, however, when women make loud social statements that can really harm their image, every other woman's image, as well as how seriously others take us.

It is in those cases when an uncontrollable desire to let these women know that they're making a mistake invades me. I know the possible consequences. I start feeling uneasy and nervous. The same way I used to feel when my cousins planned to leave our grandma's home without permission to go see their boyfriends.

This happened to me recently. I was attending an event that was very crowded. The audience was comprised of more men than women, and the local press was present. Among the attendees was a woman taking notes. She was young and attractive. Since I was sitting in the last row, I had the perfect view. I saw some men glancing at her as she was concentrating on her task. Her attire was professional, discrete and elegant. I didn't notice her camera until she precipitously got a hold of it and hurried to the front of the room to take a picture of the panelists.

It was when she kneeled down to avoid blocking the crowd's view that the whole situation changed really quickly. Some men started elbowing their buds, and with a gesture of their eyes told them to look to this woman's turquoise thong that had made a bright appearance on her bare lower back. Some men mischievously smiled and others exchanged quick looks.

The woman took her pictures and got back to her seat. Some of the men were still smiling and even exchanging brief comments while looking at her. She seemed to be oblivious to all this.

On our way out, she was walking a few steps ahead of me. By now, it was clear to me that she was with the press; maybe a reporter covering an assignment, and for sure a professional who is trying to gain respect in quite a competitive career. Do you see where I'm going? This is not the only time that I've seen this happening. Sometimes, I've known the person, too! Really, do they not know that when they lean over, their thong shows? Do they simply not care? Do they do it on purpose? Some men I've asked seem to think that the later is true.

Most women work very hard in order to be taken seriously. They try very hard to not be considered a sexual object, and they prepare themselves intellectually to be able to reach high positions in the career they choose. A thong peeking out goes against the image that a professional woman is trying to convey. Can't they see that? Well, obviously they can't.

If we know the person, should we tell them something to this regard? I don't know and I have so far been unable to make a decision about it, so I asked some of my girlfriends for their opinion. Unfortunately, their responses didn't help me much. They were all over the place. I heard definite no's, accompanied by their advice not to be nosey. I also heard enthusiastic yeses, concluding that because I am older than these women, they could hear my advice and possibly benefit from it. And I also got the woman bagging on woman accusation, which bugged me.

It was not until recently that I have made a decision. Next time I see something like the event described earlier; I'll just take the risk. I prefer to be told off for trying to help, rather than feel that I could've done something for her and didn't.

So ladies, please watch that thong!

Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latino perspective.

Cross posted at

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