I keep seeing opinion pieces about how a woman should behave, dress, carry herself, speak, post on social media, and so on by women authors in opinion-pieces. I know some people think that women should dress and behave a certain way (based on societal gender biases that women should be dainty little flowers and men should be ax-hurling he-men who hate kittens and love beer), and though everyone is entitled to an opinion, when said opinion uses "how men will feel" as the basis for an argument against how women should dress, your opinion is no longer valid.
The most recent article that led me to this rant is entitled To The Ladies: Put Some Clothes On! Outside of being generically judgmental and close-minded, the author's argument is based on weak claims that a woman should dress a certain way because of how men will think of and treat her as implications for her choices.
Excuse me, what?
The author writes a very long paragraph about the DOs and DON'Ts of being a woman in modern society - in the eyes of male approval.
She says: You can wear what you want; it is your body. But don’t expect your boyfriend to approve.
I say: Why the fuck would I be dating someone who dictates what I should and shouldn't be wearing? You start your statement off with "it's your body," then proceed to tell me it isn't by virtue of what my boyfriend will think about my clothes. If he's making a judgment about who I am as a person if I decide to wear a cage-front tank top on a hot summer's day, I'm sayin' bye-bye to him and going out to buy a brand new top to wear tomorrow.
She says: Don’t expect his parents to approve of you. Don’t expect to have a lasting relationship when you dress like you aren’t in one.
I say: It sounds like you're projecting your personal issues a little too hard here, honey. I'm sorry your current or past boyfriend's family didn't approve of how you dress(ed) around them. Next time your boyfriend's parents have a problem with the way you dress, kindly tell them they can buy you an entirely updated wardrobe so you don't hurt their sensitive little eyes. :)
She says: Don’t be surprised if your boyfriend isn’t happy with the fact that other guys are flirting with you when you are out in public because of the message your outfits send to guys.
I say: Hold the fuck up. If my boyfriend is THAT insecure about other guys looking my way based on what I'm wearing, it sounds like I need to ditch his controlling ass ASAP. The flirting part? Sure, I get that. But as long as you're not actively flirting with people who are flirting with you, what's the issue? And excuse me, the "message [my] outfit sends to guys"? Please. My outfit isn't for any fucking body but myself. If a guy looks my way while I'm wearing an outfit that makes me feel like a million bucks, so be it. Those same creepy dudes checking girls out in miniskirts and sheer shirts check girls out in midwinter, bundled up to their necks in parkas. It's not about what a girl is wearing; it's about how guys will leer at a woman regardless of her outfit.
She says: Don’t be surprised when your boyfriend breaks up with you because he is not okay with how revealing you dress.
I say: Stop projecting your personal life onto other women!!! We get it, your ex was a piece of shit who broke up with you and blamed how you dressed around his parents and in general as an excuse to end the relationship. But damn girl, get over it! If he's that fucking concerned with the clothes you wear on your back, you're better off without him anyway. Shit, you probably didn't like his Crocs or "FBI, Federal Boob Inspector" t-shirt either, but did you tell him to change? Thought so.
She says: Don’t be surprised when guys hit on you inappropriately and make rude comments towards you when you and your girlfriends go out for lady’s night.
I say: First off, it's *ladies. Second, CREEPY DESPERATE GUYS ARE ALWAYS GOING TO HIT ON WOMEN REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY'RE WEARING! And it's not the woman's fault! But hey, you have options here on what to do if this happens (that have nothing to do with the clothes you or your friends are wearing, wow!).
1. Tell those creeps to leave you alone! SPEAK UP! If you say nothing to someone who makes crude comments about your body or outfit and don't call them out on it, you're allowing their behavior to go unpunished. Sure, you can't stop them from being a creep in general, but you sure as hell can tell them to stop being a creep to you.
2. Stop going places where creepy dudes linger. And since they're everywhere, if you feel that uncomfortable, go somewhere female-friendly and avoid guys who might make comments you don't like.
She says: Don’t be surprised if an employer does not want to go through with hiring you because the company’s HR department found some raunchy photos of you online.
I say: MAKE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS PRIVATE. Also, an employer who's judging you based on your bikini pics from your family cruise to the Bahamas is probably someone you don't want to be working for in the first place.
She says: Do not be surprised by any of this because all of this will be the results of the pictures you post with you in revealing clothes.
I say: What do you deem revealing? A bikini? A pair of shorts? A sheer top with a bra underneath? Frankly, it doesn't matter. And frankly, it never should.
Every single "reason" or cautionary explanation for why the author thinks women should censor their bodies is based on her concern regarding men's opinions of women. In fact, every reason given for women to censor themselves is based off of very obvious personal experiences this author has dealt with. And to that, I say, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry that you've been told what you can and cannot wear by a controlling ex-boyfriend with judgmental parents.
I'm sorry that creepy men leer and make comments at you and your friends while you're just trying to have a nice night out.
I'm sorry that you think your personal experiences are 1. acceptable behavior for people to project onto you, and 2. a basis for judging and shaming other women into living a lifestyle you've been forced into.
But mostly, I'm sorry that some women still think that their value is derived from a man's opinion about them - or anyone, for that matter. But here we are in 2017, a time where women still think their value or lies in the hands of a man who may or may not be judging the actions they take and the clothes they wear.
In reality, who the fuck cares?
See, someone's going to judge me based on the fact that I swear in this article. Someone else is going to judge me and say that I must have no respect for myself because I don't care what a man thinks about the clothes I choose to put on my own body. So fucking what?
People's opinions about your clothing or life choices shouldn't put a damper on how you live. I look at it this way: unless you're buying me the clothes and have ownership over my body (which nobody can actually have over somebody else), then you don't get to have a say about what goes on my body.
No man's judgment is going to be the basis for how I live my life. I do not live for what a man thinks about my clothes, what his parents think about me based on the clothing I'm wearing, or what anyone thinks about my wardrobe. I don't live life based off of what other people think of me. And you shouldn't either.
But hey, since I don't have any control over your life and personal choices, my opinion doesn't mean a damn thing.
(And neither does yours).