Allow me to paint a scenario. A woman looks for help after being sexually assaulted. As she is telling her story to others, sildenafil she is overflowed with emotions. To say the least, she is distraught, hurt, scared, and shocked. After telling her story, people immediately rush to her side to give comfort, security, and support.
One would think this is exactly how a situation like this would go, but sadly, a lot of the time, it is not. I first heard this issue being discussed by feminist, Amber Rose on the show It’s Not You, It’s Men with Rev Run and Tyrese. Rose talked about how uncomfortable she gets when people run up and grab her boobs or butt while taking pictures with her. She said it was a violation of her privacy. While I thought this was a valid point, Tyrese and Rev Run did not agree as much. They believed Rose should expect that from the attitude, clothes, and persona she projects. This absolutely blew my mind. How could someone truly believe one’s treatment depended solely on their clothes and persona? The concept is foolish.
However, to my surprise, my dad agreed with Rev Run and Tyrese. About a month ago, I went to pick up a pizza in an orange lingerie top, and when I came back home, my dad was furious. He was in utter shock that I had worn the shirt in public. He immediately told me to take it off, and when I asked why, he simply replied, “…because you are asking for it in that shirt.” I was speechless; I knew this was a societal problem, but I always assumed my dad was not a part of it. At this moment, I realized exactly how major this issue was.
From a young age, girls are taught to cover themselves up, so they will not receive the “wrong” kind of attention. This idea starts with schools and their dress codes. Girls are banned from wearing shirts that show too much shoulder or wearing dresses and skirts that are above knee length. The reason behind this being as it will be a distraction to others and keep them from learning (others being boys). If wearing a v-cut top, they are told to pull it up. And God forbid if they have curves and a butt; they will be advised to wear loose-fitting jeans and longer shirts. In addition to school, at home, girls are taught how to act lady-like. Certain things they cannot say or do because it is not accepted by society. And while girls are drilled with all these rules, boys are practically allowed to roam free. When they mess up, the excuse is usually, “Oh, he’s just a boy.”, and there are no repercussions.
Sadly, these enforcements of how to dress and act follow women long past grade school; they have a lasting impact. These enforcements are the reason why many of us stay away from bodycon dresses, or we stay home instead of going to the party. They are the reason for a woman deciding not to buy that particular shirt because she does not want to be that distraction. Women shy away from wearing certain things and going certain places in fear that a man will look at us for a little too long or touch us in an unflattering way. This should not be a problem. A woman should be able to wear whatever she pleases and feel confident and safe while doing so. Instead of raising young girls to cover up and act a certain way, boys should be educated on how to truly respect a woman.
However, luckily, people have started to speak out against this ideology; one of the most prominent ones being Amber Rose. In addition to Rose’s Amber Rose Foundation pushing for women empowerment and fighting gender inequalities, her foundation also hosted its first annual Amber Rose Slut Walk in 2015. Rose’s slut walk focuses on the issue of victim blaming and condemns derogatory labels and sexual violence. During the event, there is an awareness walk, fashion show, testimonials, and more. Rose’s Slut Walk provides a safe place where people can voice their stories. Foundations and events like these, in addition to Leomie Anderson’s LAPP, are the key to erasing this false correlation between clothes and treatment. They use their platform to speak up, and make people aware of these problems. They unite women across the world, and let it be known that these issues are not acceptable by any means. They are initiating the change that needs to be seen.
Yes, it is the 21st century and society’s respect for women has progressed greatly, but it still has a ways to go. Too often, women are violated, and instead of being comforted, we are interrogated about our appearance and body language. However, with people like Rose and Anderson, it is only a matter of time before this irrational ideology is erased. Although this change has already been kick-started, it is important that we keep pushing this topic forward because regardless of what a woman wears or does, she is never “asking for it.”
Written by Nia Quinn