Have you recently heard such a thing from a friend or at the workplace and are at a loss of what it means? Well, you have experienced harrassment and here is why it is worse than it sounds.
Carpet matching the drapes is a euphesim for asking about your natural hair color. The drapes refer to the hair on your head and the carpet refers to the pubic hair. Since pubic hair is what you would not dye, it remains a natural color.
Due to the nature of this question, it is a very coarse statement for anyone to stay. You will usually hear this from men that are attracted to you and want to inquire about how desireable you are based on how natural your features are.
Again, what you do to your body for your own reasons is not anyone’s business, and it is extremely inappropriate for someone to inquire about the color of your pubic hair to begin with. Your level of desireability should not be based on what you do to your appearance, as you are a person of many redeeming qualities beyond how you look.
Some people argue that it does not explicitly refer to the pubic hair, but to body hair all together. It still begs the question: why is it anyone’s business? Why would someone want to know about the color of your body hair at all?
This question is also rather aimless to ask of anyone since there is a noticeable difference most times between the hair on your head versus the pubic hair. Because of the amount of sun that your hair takes in comparison to anywhere else, it will actually be lighter or darker in comparison.
So, where did such a term come from?
No one is really sure, but it seems like it came from the time when matching the curtains to anything else in the room was a trend in the 1980s. Whether it be the bedsheets, the wall paper, or even or-you guessed it-the carpet. It was a huge trend that made sure the carpets were extremely colorful and fancy.
The 1980s were also a time where the number of women in the workforce soared beyond what was already expected. With women starting to outnumber the men in certain departments, it gave rise to a lot of sexism and misogyny in order to make women uncomfortable and leave their jobs. Why did people do this? It was simply because it was new to see women around in a male-dominated space so often, and men did not know the basic, decent ettiquette of talking to women outside of their families.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much women could do besides walking away from the situation. Now that things have changed a lot in our current world, there is a lot you can do to counter such statements.
HOW TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION?
Unfortunately, you might receieve some push-back for attempting to stand up for yourself, so it is all right if doing any of these is something you cannot afford, since there are other ways to go about dealing with the situation.
With that being said, let’s consider our options:
- Confrontation (optional): First and foremost, you want to decide whether you have the energy to confront the person who said such a thing. You know your surroundings and your environment, and you know what the possible outcome could be. You can begin by asking the person what the statement means, and pretend to be confused and curious. As they explain themselves, they will realize how unnecessary and offensive the question was. It will ensure that they will never say such a thing to another person again.
- Reporting: If this happened in a workplace setting, you could take it up with your HR for workplace and sexual harrassment. Recount exactly what happened and relay the information. Do not give into questions that place the blame on you in any way, such as questions about your clothing or what you were doing.
- Evidence: This may be a little jarring to do, but it will work well especially if you decided to not hear the person who asked you the question. Now that we have e-mails and messaging apps available, you could privately ask over a written exchange. Simply ask if they remember saying what they did and then ask what it meant. This will allow you to have evidence of the person having said what they did, giving you leverage over them and making it easier for the HR to process your report and take immediate action.
- Confide in a friend: Your friends are supposed to be your allies in your times of need. If you share mutuals with the person who said such a thing, open up to those mutuals about what happened and ask for support and comfort. The least they can do is ensure there is always a good amount of distance between you and the perpetrator, making your life a little more easier.
- Find support online: There are plenty of websites, social media apps, and forums online that talk particularly about harrassment and how to deal with it. Women’s experiences with harrassment is universal. As unfortunate as it is, there is hope in support you will recieve after such an event, as many women have managed to lead full and wonderful lives despite such issues happening in their lives.
Now that you know what the question means and how to deal with it, you can now take appropriate action necessary in order to make your life a little easier within your friend circles and the workplace.