Today I made what I thought was a safe assumption that, on the whole, I wouldn't be encountering the students, and decided to wear, of all things, a dress to work. I've recently given into the Korean obsession with all things tights. Turns out, tights are even more comfortable than jeans. But I'm still a little self-conscious about all that they reveal. The dress could've been shorter, but it could've been longer as well.
Well. As I came out of the building, I encountered the entire fucking school soccer team, all revved up on adrenaline and hormones from their hard workout. They all came running over to sexually harass me.
Now, I don't object to being told I have a nice "shape". But I do object to being told this by my students. I've let a lot of shit slide out of the third graders, since I've stopped teaching them, but I can't get over the idea that it's just not polite to make such comments to your teacher. The topper came when one student shouted, from across the field, "Oh! Honey thighs teacher!"
Now, this phrase deserves some explanation. It's not as straight-forwardly complimentary (or sexual) as it may seem, from a native English speaking perspective.
You see, there's this singer. Her name is UEE (유이), and she's in a group called After school. She's known for not being a "conventional" beauty, but for attracting attention, nonetheless. She's also known, commonly, as Honey Thighs. The reason for this is that her legs are thick, curvy and athletic -- not fat at all by Western standards, but challenging to Korea's ideal image of how a girl's legs should look. See below:
UEE's honey thighs proudly on display in the center.
Kpop group Wondergirls displaying a more conventional version of Korea's leg standards.
Some people argue that UEE is -- seriously, it pains me to even say it -- fat. Her legs, particularly her thighs, are fat. End of. But lately another voice has been fighting back, saying that Honey Thighs are were it's at, if we're talking 섹시.
All of this serves to remind me of how strange it was, recently, to be in the UK, where at 5'8, firmly straddling the line between a US size 8/10, I am "normal" sized. In the ROK, however, I am pushing the limits of the largest size most shops carry. Even then, if I'm going with skinny jeans, I have to buy a size that gaps in the waist, in order to cram my hips and thighs inside. And I'm definitely not bottom-heavy.
It's quite a shock to the system to go from being definitively "fat" to definitively "normal", back to definitively "fat" within the span of two weeks. I'm not a person who's ever really struggled with body image in a serious way, but even to me, it was not only noticeable, but quite uncomfortable. In what way, I'm still not entirely sure.
Anyway, all of this is mostly to say that, once school starts back on Monday, I'm definitely shelving the dresses. It's back to jeans and cardigans. I don't need this shit.
(Note for reference: My thighs in no way resemble UEE's. If they did, I would live the rest of my life in public minus pants.)