For some time I had felt drawn to reveal my body. Confronting it, ceasing to use clothing as a barrier to conceal my appearance, deflect my own gaze. I’m content in my body. It just is. I just am.
I now feel drawn to reveal less: magnetic north has shifted.
Hy’s post today and her comments on how women are routinely sexualized got me thinking about clothes. There is a persistent belief that women should be and are dressing to attract men. Women who are perceived as rejecting this norm are called fat, ugly, dyke, or man-repelling. This belief, plus the belief that men can’t control themselves, results in women who get raped being accused of attracting men too effectively: “What was she wearing?”
Here’s a thought experiment: imagine that all the women you see (yes, even the hot ones) have dressed themselves without reference to what men might think of their outfits. Imagine that they all have a different collection of priorities, like what makes them feel good from the inside, what’s comfortable, what’s clean, what’s new, what won’t get in their way during the commute or at work, what color grabs them today, what’s warm enough, what’s cool enough.
Imagine that how women dress isn’t about you and that your opinion of them doesn’t matter.