Never Asking To Be Called A Slut

By Eva Loxley

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Can women really wear what they want without being harassed?

Technically, women can wear what they want when they want, but I don't think that is really the case. When I was little, I used to beg my mum to let me wear things like a bikini and midriffs. She would always say no, claiming that I was too young and people who wore skimpy clothes were showing too much skin and wanted male attention. Still, that didn't stop me from wanting to wear them. It wasn't the fact that the outfits other girls were wearing showed skin - I just wanted to wear them to look good and fit in.

By the time I got to high school, things were different. In a world full of labels and catcalls, I became aware that appearance matters so much more than we think - or at least to others. I read an article saying that sexual assault could be brought down by 70% if women start wearing more conservative clothes.This completely bonkers idea got me wondering why so many people think like this. I did more research and realised that if you don't wear something that is considered “normal,” then you are “asking to” be labeled or, even worse, harassed. 

What you wear does express individuality, but our society has decided that even individuality should be defined.

As women, we are told that it is our duty to wear clothes that are appropriate - otherwise boys will be tempted to look or whistle or give you a hard time. In school, we are forced to abide by a dress code and expected to sit with our legs closed. Almost every woman has at one point in time been told to keep her legs together whilst wearing a dress. If they don't, boys will be distracted. 

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It's time to stop this. Boys need to be taught from a young age to have the decency and the manners that women are not there for them to stare and grab at. If a girl goes outside wearing short shorts and a crop top, she has the same rights as anyone else to be respected. If a man does approach her and she feels uncomfortable, she has the the right to say no and make him walk away. Even if a woman was wearing the outfit to attract boys, it is still her decision and not for anyone to judge. 

Sometimes, a woman wears a top because she is hella proud of her body - is that such a crime, to want to look good but not be taken advantage of? People say your clothes give you individuality, so when did it become okay to label whoever wears a cropped top a slut?! It should be okay for a woman to wear whatever she wants when she wants. 

So what do we do to fix this? 

Parents, I beg you to teach your sons to respect women no matter what and to tell your daughters that they have the right to wear whatever they want and be treated with respect.

Women, don't label each other or put one another down. Know that it's okay to wear what you please and be seen as a respected equal, those are your rights. 

Men, treat women with as much respect as you would to your mother, your friends, your acquaintances. Women are your equals and are entitled to the same rights.