What does it mean to be objectified? My own definition of this is when a person (in particular, a woman) is degraded by a sexist attitude meant to make that person feel as though they are nothing better than a mere object.

I had my first experience with sexism during my freshman year of college. The very first time I realized that the stereotypical "male pig" still existed during my first week of orientation. It was a hot day in early September, so I decided to wear a short sleeve shirt and a pair of ankle-exposing Capri's (super sexually suggestive, right?), and I went for a walk. I explored the unfamiliar surroundings of my campus with another friend, and the day just seemed to be going perfectly. Then, it happened. I remember the image so clearly of that black SUV pulling up as I waited for the crosswalk light to change. The window rolled down, and I heard the words "Hey, are you looking for a party tonight? I can give you a party, Baby!" In that moment I remember I didn't turn to look at the man yelling this obscenity; I just froze in place waiting for him to drive away. I didn't think much of the situation at first other than that hadn't happened to me before.

I felt no emotion about this weird occurrence at first, but then the same thing happened two more times that day. As I was walking to my college's football stadium, I heard "Sexy ladies, how you doing?" And then in this same time span from another car, "Do you girls want a ride? Come on we can party. I even have some good pot!" After the second time I heard the word party, it was like a trigger in my mind. I felt anger. I had so much anger towards these imbeciles whose words affected on the deepest level.

I remember sitting in the stadium as I was unable to focus on the football game. I thought to myself, "Is that what most people think girls do in college? Party and smoke weed?" I wondered if my academic status will mean nothing in the professional world because of my gender? Will I always be treated as less equal because I am a woman? Being catcalled is one thing, but being catcalled on a college campus reassures how women are still treated as objects regardless of IQ level, work ethic, or academic achievements.

This experience has led me to believe that the struggle for women to be treated as a mans equal is still very real in this modern era. Coming from a small farm town, I never experienced what women who live in cities must have to deal with on a daily basis. My only hope is that my own children won't live in an era that is obviously still a "man's world." I would never have thought that the kind of misogyny those men shouting from their cars expressed was still existent in this era where feminism is so strong with movements trying to stop stereotypes that women are constantly subjected to. The fight to just achieve equal pay for women is hard enough, let alone the constant fight for equal respect. Maybe, it's the way that an older generation has raised their sons, but it's still no excuse to mistreat a woman. I had thought that long ago the idea that a woman belongs in the kitchen was no longer an ideology actually used, but I've been proven wrong. The struggle to be a woman who has to prove every day that she is as capable as a man to do a task is something that still lives on as I can only hold on to a glimpse of hope that those mindsets will change. In the twenty-first century where people are more diverse than ever, being a woman should be the least of my worries.

I am not anyone's "baby." I am not just an excuse to party. I am not an unintelligent "bimbo" who just came to college to have a good time. I am not something that can be used and then thrown away. I am not an object.