[ Rant: Dressing Against Attention ]

I live in a small California beach town, and while it's only an hour from San Francisco, it feels like much further. It is frustrating and unnerving to have the local boys on the street react so strongly to a woman wearing something more stylish than jeans, a sweatshirt and Ugg boots. Does wearing high heels really make you a call girl? Is whistling or shouting obscenities at another person acceptable because they are wearing a pretty top or big dangly earrings? I don't think so.

The inequality is staggering. Lots of guys in my town feel it's okay to swagger around shirtless, even when not at the beach. Yet a girl can't wear a pair of wedge sandals without the perception of her being changed for the worse. This is but a small fraction of the important issues facing women around the globe.

I can see how wearing a burka would be a comforting and obvious choice when faced with so much unwanted and unsolicited negative male attention. Safety first, then fashion. Instead of dodgeball and D.A.R.E., schools really need to implement education about respect, communication, and managing your emotions, not just for boys but for everyone.

Theoretically, no woman in our freedom-loving country should have to hide their style for fear of harassment, but I choose to do so because the attention is almost overwhelmingly unpleasant. Putting on a pretty outfit is only fun in my bedroom; once I hit the street... not so much. A thirty second walk from car to work is often tinged with apprehension, unless I am wearing a big down parka. I know it's not really my fault that guys are so unbelievably disrespectful and disgusting, yet I still give in to the pressure to avoid wearing what I want in order to get through a day unmolested. How do you challenge a basic lack of manners?

Don't get me wrong, there are small moments of grace: a friend recently told me how surprised and pleased she was when a male classmate walking with her complimented her outfit with no lasciviousness. And every once in a great while, someone will tell me I look well-dressed and leave it at that. I guess gentlemen really do exist... they just don't venture out much.

See a similar post on altering your style for your environment by garancedore.fr

1 comment:

  1. I totally understand what your saying. When I first became a heel addict I couldn't stand the old men catcalling. But after awhile I just started to let it roll off my back. I like what you said about the burka. I've always thought that if I can't handle guys being guys then I should just wear a burka. But I love fashion so burka is out of the question. Guys will always be guys, in fact one time a man actually asked me if I worked at a strip club that was around the corner from the bus stop I was waiting at! I just very matter-of-factly said no.
    now if we lived in New York or LA it would more accepted to dress differently and maybe a little sexily. But I kind of don't mind being a big fish in a little pond for now.
    Great post, very thought provoking :) Keep dressing how you want though, and ignore asshole men :)


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