Girls in tight clothes, and creepy men staring.
A story as old as time.
Why do you dress that way, girl? “Because I like the way tight clothes look on me, and hug my curves.”
Why do you stare, creepy man? “Because I am a man.”
Why can’t a woman simply say, “Because I am a woman”
The way a woman dresses says a lot about the way she feels about herself; most people would agree. The level of promiscuity, or modesty in the way a woman dresses also says a lot about the way she feels about herself. This is fact.
Take it back to 1999. Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” music video came out, and the school girl fantasy was born.
In the music video, an 18 year old Spears, is dressed as a sexy school girl, in a short skirt, and button up top tied up to show her midriff. That woman became a fantasy for men and boys all around the world.
Pop culture icons like Britney, have affected the way women and girls view themselves. Girls then look at themselves in the mirror and think “Huh, maybe I can dress like her”, instead of understanding that that environment (the Entertainment Industry, or IG), calls for that uniform, and perhaps your real life environment is not conducive to that type of uniform. This, is where issues arise.
The way a woman dresses is directly related to her most significant male relationship(s) (of the past or present). It could be her current boyfriend, her father, her uncle, her cousin, friend, ex-boyfriend, a random boy in her class when she was a kid.
A woman is influenced by the way she sees the most significant men in her life respond to Britney Spears in the short skirt. She sees her man, friends, her uncle, respond, and she internalizes it; Make no mistake, events like these leave an imprint on a young girl’s mind and heart. So, the girl navigates her days receiving messages that this type of attention is a good thing; that is what you want as a woman, because the men in her life respond positively.
Fathers, Uncles, Boyfriends, it starts with how you respond. The way you respond will change what she gets from the experience. It matters how the man she respects and loves sees the world around him, and responds to certain stimuli.
The question isn’t about whether dressing modest is better than dressing promiscuous. The question is, does your choice reflect your values? Is one path better than the other? You can’t say being a policeman is better than being a firefighter. Some people may value financial security, and will say the job that pays more is better. Some may value work-life balance, and will say the job that offers more vacation time is better. Just like each job offers different benefits (and lack thereof), each choice in how a woman dresses does as well. It is contingent upon what a woman values, and she MUST be aware of how she is presenting her values to the world.
Many men believe that girls “know what they’re doing” when they dress promiscuously. Ladies and Gentlemen, understand, when a young girl dresses in a particularly promiscuous manner, she may or may not be doing so having made the choice with an awareness of the consequences.
Since the day she was born, she has been inundated with messages about the value of a woman’s attractiveness. She goes on IG and other places she deems to be socially relevant, and without any discretion or supervision, is ingesting imagery of women dressing in ways that garner attention and praise. She is a young girl, with a malleable brain. So, when she goes to get dressed in the morning, she is on auto-mode. She has been influenced by the influencer, and chooses what to wear accordingly.
She chooses the booty shorts a size too small; and when the creepy men stare at her hungrily, she is appalled. This is because there is a disconnect. She has not made her choice with awareness. Let’s say she were aware of the reality of her choice; and makes the same choice because she enjoys and values the benefits of wearing the booty shorts. Then, when the creepy man stares, she is not appalled; she expected and mentally prepared for this type of attention. The girl can handle the ramifications of her choice.
When we say, do “women dress for women”, or do “women dress for men”, we are looking at the wrong questions; it doesn’t matter who she dresses for; this is irrelevant to the conversation. The fact of the matter is, there are real world consequences to the way a woman dresses. *Do not be mistaken, this is not victim-blaming. No man should ever make unwanted sexual advancements on a woman. It is saying that there are real world consequences to our actions.
A lot of women will say that men “should be able to control themselves and not stare”. Instead of saying “coulda, shoulda, woulda”, perhaps we make a different choice if we want a different outcome.
Lack of awareness of the consequences of our choice is the issue. Gentlemen, this applies to you too. Most men do not want their woman dressing particularly promiscuous. Pay attention to how you speak about IG (and similar) women in front of your girl. Don’t just change how you speak about them in front of her, really change the way you see these women. You cannot choose to want a girlfriend who dresses on the modest side- and expect to continue to behave and speak in the same way. Changing the way you speak on and view promiscuous women, is a consequence of your choice.