As I am growing up, the issue of girls wearing ‘appropriate’ clothing as been brought more and more to my attention and has become more relevant to me. When it comes to summer, I like to wear dresses and shorts as much as the next female, but lately I have been under constant criticism from my family.
Over the past few years, conflict has arisen between those who believe that women (specifically teen girls in my case) should expect to receive sexual attention if they wear ‘short’ clothing and those who believe that women should be able to wear whatever they like without being viewed as a sexual object.
I stand firmly with the latter, and I’m sure many of you will too. A girl shouldn’t have to worry about receiving remarks and accusations that they are ‘purposely attracting sexual attention’ due to what she is wearing. Wearing a dress, skirt or pair of hot pants shouldn’t be seen as girls presenting themselves as sexual objects. How is it fair that men can walk around with no shirt on but as soon as a women shows any leg above her knee she is accused of ‘wanting’ sexual attention and dressing ‘inappropriately’? Two words: it’s not.
I, personally, do not let the fear of attracting unwanted attention and being accused of being a ‘slut’ put me off of wearing skirts and dresses. However, it appears that my mother (and entire family for that matter) stand with the first category of people I mentioned earlier; they believe that girls who wear short clothing (which is anything above knee length according to my mother) are just asking for attention and to be viewed as inviting sex.
(^^the times I have been forced to wear leggings with dresses and shorts)
Hence, whenever I pick out a dress that I like in a shop or online, I am faced with a barrage of criticisms along the lines of ‘oh it’s a shame it’s so short’, ‘that’s far too short to be a dress’ or ‘oh that’s nice, you can wear it over a pair of jeans or leggings’ (who even wears a dress over jeans anyway??) One word: NO.
I am not going to give in and ‘cover up’ just so men can control their sexual temptations. I want to live in a society where every girl can walk around feeling comfortable and confident in what she is wearing – whether it be a pair of skinny jeans or a dress – but how can we achieve this when many females – like my mum for example – have resigned themselves to the fact that they are going to become sexual objects whenever they wear dresses or skirts or shorts? Lots of women say they want this idea of wearing dresses and skirts attracting unwanted sexual attention to stop yet they aren’t prepared to fight against it and instead simply avoid wearing such clothes. This is not the way to stop this.
If you want to wear a dress, go and put a dress on! If you want to wear hot pants – wear them! Don’t let the fear of receiving sexual attention put you off because the more we show we are not afraid to show our legs in public, the more of a norm this will become and the more unacceptable it will become to criticise women who wear short clothing.
Women didn’t get the vote by standing back and waiting for men to decide it was a good idea and we are not going to stop receiving unwanted sexual attention by waiting for men to decide that maybe it isn’t acceptable to see women as sex objects whenever we show our skin. We need to stand up against this. Are you with me?
Side note: I am not attacking men and I’m sorry if I gave you this impression, I am simply stating that this is an issue within our society that involves the way women are viewed inappropriately and that this issue generally lies within the male population.