Lately, I’ve been realising more and more just how much what we wear affects how we are judged as women. I think all young women, and men, are aware of the power clothes have over their image – but I’m concerned about exactly what it is women’s clothes insinuate. I am disgusted at how men appear to think they can belittle and insult women because of their clothing choices. As a result, their offensive slurs often result in paranoia and insecurity which lead on to refuelling the oppressive, controlling fire the modern young woman is sadly still exposed to. It’s a difficult one; I for one, enjoy wearing a variety of different clothes and exploring different styles – many women do. On one level, I see our wide range of fashion choices as liberating for women – we have such a wide spectrum of different shapes and textures to explore it would be impossible not to see the freedom in fashion; and this freedom can act as empowerment for women. Unfortunately, however, I am sadly realising more and more the opinion men seem to feel they are entitled to on our fashion choices. Obviously, everyone is entitled to an opinion – if a boy doesn’t like the colour of my dress, doesn’t like my choice of trainers, I think that is perfectly acceptable. It is when the opinion becomes sexist and derogatory that I have an issue with. I can’t stress enough that I am not by any means placing all men in one sexist boat – I know many of the male species have more than one brain cell, and understandably appreciate the female form in a more accepted and dignified way; they refrain from sticking their hands up your crotch or shouting an obscene comment, for one.
It infuriates me immensely that if a woman wears a ‘sexy’ outfit (which is usually something short and tight, it seems) they are open to comments from both men – and women, sadly – that she is a slut or ‘easy’. As a result we become pieces of meat which men seem to think they can touch. When I choose to wear a short dress or tight shorts, I’m not trying to give thick, sexist men a right to touch or make comments at me – and no, warped ‘compliments’ such as “Sit on my face” shouted at me by a degenerate little twerp are not flattering, more vomit inducing, and definitely count as sexual harassment.
I am absolutely sick of seeing so many men, some of which I consider to be sound-minded friends, thinking they have a right to have a say about what a girl wears. Comments on Facebook along the lines of ‘Girls walking home in their bare feet after a night out, don’t you realise how dirty you look’ enrage me – since when should a young woman have to think about whether she looks ‘dirty’ or not walking barefoot after a long night out after having worn uncomfortable shoes?! Don’t men realise how appalling they make themselves look by assuming to believe that a woman should be considering how attractive they appear to them all day, everyday? No, I certainly don’t think they do realise that, especially with articles such as ‘The Worst People You See At Every Summer Music Festival’, written by a man of course, whose opinion on the popular high waisted leggings which many females choose to wear is particularly interesting. He writes ‘We can only imagine what kind of swamp-ass nightmare is festering beneath that Spandex cameltoe…’ – sorry, but since when was mine or anyone else’s vagina and what animal foot you identify it as any of your business? The worst thing is, a male friend of mine posted this on his Facebook and the amount of ‘likes’ and comments from other young men was disappointingly high. One of the most ironic things about this, is that most of these boys who scoff at this wouldn’t think twice about chatting up a girl in high-waisted leggings, if they thought they were in with a chance of having sex with her – despite their ideas on her ‘swamp-ass nightmare’ genitalia… So, on one hand, males think they can comment on what we wear, take the piss and make us feel paranoid about it, and on the other hand they think they can then come on to us when we are wearing the ‘offensive’ fashion pieces – equally shocking and appalling on both levels. Again, I am not trying to state that no man can have an opinion on what a woman wears – if they think you look good in what you’re wearing, great, that’s definitely not sexist. Groping and making sexual comments, however, is sexist. Disliking a certain style, look or item of clothing isn’t an offence; judging and making derogatory comments is an offence. It really is that simple.