“If you’re a feminist, why do you wear revealing outfits?”
Words by Michelle Andrews.
*Sigh* *Eye-roll* *Double sigh*
The number of times I’ve been asked this question recently is about as ridiculous as J Biebs new hair-cut. IT’S FREAKING INSANE PEOPLE.
For a while now, people have been confused by my aversion to skirts that sit below-the-knee. They hear me harping on about women’s rights and rape culture and think to themselves ‘hang on a second, why is this weird blogger chick not in asexual attire or some sort of greyish pantsuit? Why is she not wearing sensible orthopaedic shoes or dressed like Ellen DeGeneres? How dare she be wearing a tight fitting garment. OH THE HYPOCRISY!’
I’ve always been probed about my outfit choices, particularly about the ones I wear out clubbing on the weekend. Never by my parents – bless their beautiful, well-trained souls – but by friends and relatives, yes. All the fu-jucking time.
My uncle at a family gathering this year: “Michelle – that piece of material you’re wearing in your profile picture…Where’s the rest of it?”
I’m the first person to admit it: I wear short skirts. I’m always in heeled boots. To me, backless leotards/dresses are pure joy in clothing-form. Hell, give me a piece of backless clothing and I will give you my soul and then buy you a large fries from McDonalds.
Unfortunately there’s this misconception that if you’re a woman and you’re vocal about sexual equality, you firstly have to conceal everything that physically makes you a woman. There’s this ludicrous idea that a feminist who dresses ‘sexily’ is contradicting herself. And I think that’s so wrong.
I completed a subject at University last semester called ‘Sexual Politics’. In the second lecture, I was singled out in front of the entire room for wearing a mini skirt on a cold day. My lecturer, who is a Radical Feminist, explained to the class that women who wear revealing clothing like skirts or ‘debilitating’ footwear like high-heels are subordinating themselves to patriarchal dominance. So, me being the stubborn/sassy/annoying person I am, wore a freaking mini skirt and heeled boots to every goddamn lecture for the rest of semester. TAKE THAT, RADICAL FEMINIST LECTURER LADY.
*Note: I am not a radical feminist. I’m more of a ‘you should do whatever the fuck makes you happy and be free of discrimination to do so’ feminist, commonly known as an YSDWTFMYHABFODTDS Feminist (acronyms always make things SO much easier).*
Anyway, as a YSDWTFetc Feminist my main point is this: the idea that women should always ‘cover up’ is total bullshit.
- As soon as you tell women what they should and shouldn’t wear, or what they can and cannot do with their bodies, THAT is subordination.
God forbid my kneecaps would be on display and totally corrupt the minds of any man who should see them. Even worse, what will happen if they see my unworldly décolletage? Imagine the sheer tyranny that would result! The carnage! Women should cover any and all signs of womanliness. Yes, because that, lady friends, is empowerment!!! #YouKnowItMakesSense (… #ImSamKekovich) [So many people from outside Australia are not gonna get that joke but I just couldn’t help myself.]
- Wanting to look attractive is not a bad thing, for a man or for a woman.
Wanna know why 94.6% of guys at music festivals wear low cut singlets to showcase their bulging man-chests? Yep, they’re trying to look attractive. Low-cut-singlet-man knows that giving you a glimpse of his not-even-flexing-bro muscles might tickle your ovaries a lil’ bit and persuade your lady-brain that giving him your phone number is totally a good idea. You can bet your biceps that man (or woman) partly goes to the gym because they want to have an attractive/sexually desirable physique. It’s like the human version of a peacock fanning it’s feathers out and looking like a magical rainbow creature. You heard me, low cut singlets are the same thing as peacock feathers.
So if you’re wearing heels because you like the way they make your legs look, then you go, girlfriend. I bet your pins look top-notch. I’d give you my number any day of the week, you legtastic Goddess, you!
- Telling a woman that she shouldn’t dress ‘sexily’ validates the moronic ideas that:
A) Men cannot control their sexual urges.
We’ve come far enough to know that men can indeed think ‘Oh, I would insert my penis into that lovely lady if the chance arose’ and still, now here’s the clincher, understand ‘but I will not do that unless she gives me her consent first’ *cough* or before I take her on a date or five and do nice things like compliment her laugh and hilariously dry wit *cough*.
B) Women who get raped are partly responsible if they were dressed in revealing clothes at the time they were assaulted.
Instead of telling a woman that she shouldn’t wear an outfit because of the ‘unwanted attention’ she may receive, or because it’s ‘dangerous’, how about we tell rapists not to rape. I DUNNO JUST AN IDEA! Women are not responsible for their sexual assault in any way, ever. As Waleed Aly (AKA future leader of the free world) recently pointed out more succinctly and eloquently than I ever could:“The bit that I can’t accept is that rape has anything to do with clothing specifically, that if you dressed differently then suddenly you wouldn’t be sexually assaulted. Because we’ve seen it – elderly women in nursing homes get raped, people get raped by their partners in the privacy of their own home, they’re not even out – let alone out at night drunk…”
I will continue to wear short skirts, and I will continue to call myself a feminist. The two are not mutually exclusive. Feminism and having the ability to make decisions about your own body go hand in hand. If you like what you’re wearing, and wear it for your beautiful and magical self, then keep doing what you’re doing, pal!
I love y’all more than I love a good backless number.
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