Why Dress Code affects Dating Rituals

I never knew that the level of someone’s sexual desires could ever be determined by the presence of a collar bone.

It amazes me that we are still producing a sharp rape culture for women and many of these institutions are not corresponding with the twenty-first century.

A woman’s body is often deemed inappropriate in this manner. Girls, at a rather young age, are taught to pull down their shirts, cover their shoulders and to not bare their knees. I clearly remember that if I wore a tank top with straps that the straps had to be “three fingers” in width and I was the talk of the classroom when I wore short skorts.

The emphasis increased in high school, especially in Catholic high schools. I went to one and I did not mind not having to think about what I had to wear each morning nor having people judge me on what I wear. I was made fun of in kindergarten for not wearing Nike sneakers, in elementary school for wearing velour tracksuits and ironically, in eighth grade, I was told that my Nike sneakers were fake (note to self: Nike apparently causes trouble among kids!). However, dress code was very strict. There was only a selection of three colours of undershirts you can put under your polo (then it was change to specific gradients, such as navy blue, not baby blue), kilts were banned and shoes had to be all black with absolutely no shred of colour on them such as a logo. It was constricting.

We went on a retreat in the ninth grade in order to ease the transition to high school. We were allowed to wear our regular clothes. One of the girls in my group wore a low-cut shirt which embraced her ample cleavage and was told by one of the teachers that she couldn’t wear it because “it would distract the boys”. I’m sorry but how is this not creating the assumption that women are walking sexual objects that need to be covered up?

My mother still tells me to pull my shirt down when it is short. Unless I am in a place of worship, that is not inappropriate!

Women can wear crop tops, short shorts, ripped jeans, low-cut shirts, fitted dresses, short dresses, mini-skirts, hoop earrings, fish-net stockings, six inch stilettos or be stark naked. Unless they directly ask you to have sex with them, in this form:

“Do you want to have sex with me?”

THEY ARE NOT ASKING FOR IT!!!!

It’s the equivalent of saying that a shirtless man on the beach is fair game. You can see this in the media. Look at the recent commercial for Just Fab Shoes. There is a man asking the assumed female viewer “what it will take” for them to buy shoes from their website. He presents a couple of pairs of shoes and then asks if the viewer would like him shirtless, takes off his shirt and says “done”.

This commercial demonstrates the sexualization of both genders by using a man to sell a  product but it shows the sexualization of women more as they are “so tempting” that a man has to take his shirt off and that they will do anything for an attractive man.

Michelle Obama has worn dresses that bare her shoulders but we would never say that she is asking for it. Why? She is married, middle-age and in a position of power. Isn’t this disappointing that we are targeting single, young women who we are degrading instead of empowering?

I remember when I was assaulted at a club in Montreal. I was simply waiting to get a drink at the bar when I was touched inappropriately multiple times. I used self-defense, grabbed my friends and got out of there. I was in tears, very uncomfortable and upset and was told by my friends, “what did you expect?”

What did I expect? I expected to have a good night out with my friends, laughing and pretending that I am Beyonce on the dancefloor. I did not expect to be sexually assaulted.

Enough with the victim-blaming. Enough with the sexualization. Enough with the gender inequality.

Most important, enough with the VIOLENCE and SUBORDINATION of women.

Sincerely,

The Modern Day Fairy Godmother

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