Photo: Ellen von Unwerth
Short skirt, fishnets, platform boots: I’m on my way to the subway station. My ears are plugged with Madonna, to block out the cat calls and whistling from strange men on the street. A construction worker is convinced that my bright eyeshadow and red hair are some sort of an invitation, and is deeply offended when his advances are ignored. He yells insults my way. I keep walking.
As I get on the train, I ask myself: when was the last time I threw lustful looks, winked, or yelled “HEY SEXY!!!” at an attractive male? The 32nd of Neverwary? It’s not because I’m a woman and not allowed such things; it’s simply because it would be uncivilized. I live in America, a country that’s often laughed at for being sexually repressed. From what I hear, things are even worse in Europe and Japan: Parisian men run amok, grabbing butt cheeks and boobs left and right; in Japan, segregated subway cars are used to prevent perverts from groping women during the rush hour (sometimes I wish we had that, too). It seems, no matter how liberated or repressed sexually, men all over the planet can’t seem to stop acting like wild gorillas.
Women dressing provocatively is a flimsy excuse. Although we may sometimes wear revealing outfits, it is not always done to attract a mate. My friend Ally thinks it has to do with general sexualization of women’s fashions – what was once considered scandalous even for the bedroom, is worn openly in public today – like mini skirts and over-the-knee boots. My mother, on the other hand, suggests that women dress to impress other women – after all, they will be the judge of an outfit.
I think that for the most part, women dress for themselves. We do it because clothes make us happy. We do it to feel feminine, boost our confidence and to express ourselves. And yes, sometimes we do it to feel sexy! From my observation, most men actually prefer a woman who dresses to please no one but herself – it allows her to rock her frock with confidence, and there is nothing sexier than that.
This not to say that women don’t occasionally dress explicitly to impress men. Walk into a bar on a Friday night and you’ll see more cleavage and leg than you’d bargained for. :)
So do women dress for men? I suppose it depends on a woman and the situation. There is definitely nothing wrong with dressing sexy when you feel like it; as long as you feel good wearing it, it shouldn’t matter what others think. It would be nice though if men didn’t assume it’s all done in their name and stopped acting like macaques! ;)
Fun fact: In 1922, New York Times suggested that the clearest and most undeniable proof that women dress to please men is given by the class who do it for a living – and who, ironically, are responsible for many of our fashions. They are prostitutes, women who make a business of attraction and cannot let up on their efforts to please. They wear skimpy, colorful, imaginative outfits. And then there are nuns and women of middle East, whose clothing is especially designed not to attract – this effect is achieved through concealment, monotony and lack of color. But all this really proves is that men find revealment, variety and bright colors attractive – not that women, in fact, do it for the sole purpose of attracting men.
Deerlings: do you dress to impress anyone? Who?
P.S. Don’t forget to take the poll on the side bar! :) —–>