Do My Clothing Choices Mean I “Ask For It”?

Did the words come out of my mouth? Do the clothes on my body and how they fall on my silhouette speak for themselves?

My biggest pet peeve has always been the notion that a woman is “asking for it” based on what she wears.

Yes, the way that we dress is a freedom of expression. Our words and actions come with the territory, so naturally the same goes with what we choose to wear. But in no way does it mean that I realized what I wear could vocalize something I never spoke out loud.

Maybe I want to wear a skirt that falls above my knees, because it makes me feel a little taller when I worry that my small figure may equate to how small others may see me. The same can be said for why I wear my skyscraper high heels whenever the occasion seems fitting. Maybe I want to wear a shirt that hangs off my shoulders, because I like how strong my collarbone looks above my heart. Or maybe I am just choosing to dress “provocatively” because it makes me feel attractive, and simply because I want to, and I should be able to without any disruptions.

To the guys who cat call, to the guys that apparently couldn’t resist because… “Look at you.”

Yeah, take a good look at me. I’m someone who’s ready to embark on the ever-evolving fashion world, the highs and lows of it, literally and figuratively. And it just makes no sense to me that while women have to justify certain outfit choices, we never once see a man shirtless and think to ourselves that he is “asking for it.”

I’m aware that certain outfits are going to draw more attention to myself. And you know what, maybe I want to be noticed. I also know that the world we live in isn’t rainbows and butterflies. Bad things can and do happen. People have bad thoughts and people sometimes act upon them. I’m aware that it doesn’t matter whether the attention I’m receiving from what I’m wearing is intentional or not, I know the possibility of it opening up unwanted attention is out of my control.

Yes, I am aware of all of this. But at no point in time has what I have worn ever beget asking for it.

To the guys we’re told to dress for, the guys whose opinion of what we can and cannot wear apparently matters…

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flatlay photo of a cute outfit

As someone who wants to work in the field of fashion, it doesn’t take rocket science to connect the dots that trends are partially contrived for what will sexually attract others. But the juxtaposition of being told all our lives to dress for a guy—we have to be alluring to look good—but we must simultaneously not reveal too much of anything because a guy just cannot help or control himself. We’re doing something right if we’re strutting along like Kim Kardashian, with the caution that if a guy acts a certain way based off that appearance, it should be expected and not something to be shocked about. We’re forced to straddle the line between being provocative and modest and are shamed when we fall too far on either side. That’s what women live with every day and every time we get dressed.

When did we stop dressing up for ourselves and start dressing up for someone else?

The way I see it, I can wear my tight clothes, the crop tops, the short skirts, the pieces of clothing not everyone may agree with 100-percent of the time, as long as how I present myself in these outfits is a manner in which I’m 100-percent proud of and accountable for. Because it’s not just what we wear, but how we wear, or what we wear.

Regardless of what I’m wearing, if I’ve said nothing, then there’s nothing more to be said. Nothing more to discuss, nothing more to analyze and absolutely nothing to assume. And there was certainly nothing begging for attention.

View Comments (3)
  • “we never once see a man shirtless and think to ourselves that he is “asking for it.”” I stopped reading here.

    Take a second to understand that men and women are different. Are women visually stimulated even remotely to the degree as men are? I’ve never met a girl who had seen a shirtless guy, had an image of him circulating in her head for the rest of the day such that the temptation and thought of him was so overwhelming that she had to go home and masturbate.

    It’d help to think in the perspective of the other gender sometimes.

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