recently the philosophies and/or intentions regarding the way i, or women in general dress, and exactly what message that may send out to others, mainly in the culture of the US have inspired me to write a post about these feelings. i cannot put my style into any box, however, i will say that mini-skirts and dresses are part of most of my outfits; i own one pair of jeans, and other pants are few and far in between.
while talking to some friends and partaking in a discussion in one of my classes about some comments Muhammad Ali made (at 4:00) about what women should and should not wear, it has come to my attention that the majority of my outfits may be seen as me sending out the message to men that i want to be "bought". the critics use phrases such as "a woman doesn't dress that way unless she's advertising" or "why would a man buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?"
my (and others') outfits are apparently sending this message to men "i want to fuck. i'm a slut. i'm a prostitute. i have no morals. and i have no self-respect" and/or "i want to be bought aka married." the language used to demean other women, based solely on their wardrobe, shows just how little things have changed since the era of the suffragettes.
now, these stereotypes and ideas are not surprising given the religiously saturated society we live in that typically (from Abrahamic religions) believe that women are inherently temptresses that, unless tamed (by clothing and other sexually repressive means/mentalities), will be the doom of the world with our insatiable sex drives. it seems that most that have taken their religion to any serious levels (nuns, other religious women living in communes, etc.) feel the need to be completely covered, barely even showing an ankle. which i think has more to do with being likened more to a man than a woman. but that's another post...
these ideas are the fuel that compel people to ask a rape victim what she was wearing at the time of her rape. these ideas fuel statements that infer every rape/sexual assault/molestation case of a woman is done because she was asking for it and/or wanted it. these ideas are what keep women feeling as though it is OUR responsibilities to KEEP from being raped, as opposed to men just learning to control themselves (it should be said, however, that women and men are victims of rape/molestation by men and women).
women are not a monolith, and different women are portraying different messages. some women actually are sending the message to men that they're ready and able to fuck right then and there. and there isn't anything wrong with that. women have sexual appetites and we shouldn't have to stifle our sexuality because our society has deemed it something unhealthy and corrupt. some women are looking to have men pay their bills in exchange for sex. some are looking for attention and validation from men (and from women as well). and considering this society judges and evaluates women based on our physical appearances, it shouldn't be surprising that women judge themselves on the same standards, that is, on standards set by men.
the point being that, whatever a woman is doing it for, it cannot be assumed that all women are dressing for those same reasons.
personally, i dress however i want to. is it for male attention? i wouldn't say it is. it is more a political statement against the type of restraints this society places on women's bodies; women's sexualities. it is a statement that illustrates body-acceptance and sexual contentment. i think in the struggle towards owning our sexuality, as women, our wardrobe is a very important aspect that should not be slept on. we portray a lot with our attire. i also like the idea that i can possibly change stereotypes of scantily clad women by showing that we don't all have the same agendas. some of us are simply and perfectly content with our bodies and feel no need to cover them. as opposed to me approaching this from the standard of being covered, i'm approaching this from the perspective that we should be/would be naked if it weren't for certain societal standards.
moreover, as a woman of color, i can be dressed in a three piece suit and granny flats, and still be called a "hoe", a "slut" or any other label that seeks to put women down via our sexualities. the supposed lasciviousness of women of color and other sexual fetishes that have been placed on us will be present with or without attire that cover my neck and stop right below the knee.
i'd like some feedback on this.
criticize. comment. think. thoughts.