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What Women Wear: The “can” vs. the “should”

Found on Google**It’s a Saturday night in my college town, which has me thinking about something I see every weekend – intoxicated women* in small and sexy articles of clothing.

There’s been an internal struggle raging within me these last four years as I see these women stumbling and laughing down the street. Where should we (as women) draw the line between what we can (and have a right to) wear, and what we should? Society blames victims survivors of sexual assault as somehow ‘deserving’ because of their flirtatious attitude or the clothes they wear. The feminist in me believes this is downright wrong. Survivors didn’t ask to be violated, to have their consent thrown out the window. It’s the assaulter who was at fault, no matter what.

At the same time, I think women should draw power from protecting themselves. I still remember when some pervert (the bad kind) was sneaking up behind women around campus and reaching up their skirts. Our community came together and rallied for woman’s right to wear whatever she likes without fear of being assaulted. One woman in particular stood up at the microphone and invited all women on our campus to wear skirts everywhere until the perpetrator was either caught or stopped his atrocious actions.

Now, really?

I’m sure I’m offending someone here, but if I knew there was a man assaulting women wearing skirts, I’m going to wear pants. Why risk putting myself in such a terrible situation when I essentially have control. It’s not like I’m agreeing to wear pants for the rest of my life. Then yeah, I’m going to stand for any of that bullshit. For a few weeks, though, I can enjoy jeans. It wasn’t even that damn hot.

Which brings me back to the Saturday night drunks in their short, skin-tight dresses and their alcohol blankets. I understand how empowering it can be to wear what you want, do what you want, dance the night away in your sexy little black dress. I know how exhilarating it is to be hit on at a party, knowing that you’re seriously hot stuff. At the same time, I think it’s important to be smart, to be aware.

For example, bring a coat. No matter how much alcohol is in your system, it’s damn cold outside. A girl I knew last year would go out to parties in a bra and boy shorts. What happens if you pass out in some guy’s bed and wake up the next morning? Don’t tell me it’s not going to happen – you know you’re getting wasted out of your mind tonight. Who really knows where you might go? And then you’ll be faced with either walking home in your bra and underwear or borrowing your one night stand’s clothes. Mmmmm, sexy.

Also, expect attention. Don’t go out in your sexy shirt that shows half your cleavage and then complain all night about the frat guy who was staring at them. No one guaranteed that only your crush was going to appreciate your huge rack. By wearing what you’re wearing, you basically gave consent to anyone else who looks at you. Touching you is a whole other story (and a violation, to boot) but you can’t take someone to court for looking at you.

In the end, I want all you beautiful women in the world to go out and party, be sexy, enjoy that power only you have! At the same time, protect yourself. Be smart. Expect reactions. It’s in your power to ignore them, or enjoy them. But don’t pretend we deserve to wear what we want, do what we want, and call the shots on how other folks will react. We have the power to control our own actions, and nothing more. Choose them well.

//*A bit of a sidenote, many of my feminist sisters would prefer I use the term “womyn”. I’m honestly creeped out by this term. It doesn’t resonate with me and you will never see it used on this blog. If you have a problem with this, I don’t really care. Move on.

//**Also, pictures of your ridiculous outfits might end up on Google for the world to see. Hi Mom!

1 comment

  1. 1
    Lucid Obsession

    I agree very much with this. I never went out and partied, but my biggest pet peeve was why do girls where these ridiculous heels to go out and get wasted? They can hardly teeter along in them sober. And I hate a girl will wear a skirt and it’s 18 degrees and snowing outside. You shriving your ass off is no cute, sorry. I think it’s important to be comfortable with how you dress.

    If you want attention, be sure that you want it though and what kind you want. If you look like a hooker, well guys are going to treat you like one. You can still look hot without looking slutty.

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