You are NOT what you wear

You are NOT what you wear

Nathan Stapleton

You are NOT what you wear

Jessica Schreindl

Does the way you dress send a message to others? Of course it does. Is that message always accurate? No.

My ex had a saying for women who were dressed, in his opinion, inappropriately ­- “If you are dressed like a cop, than I’m going to assume you are one.”

This was his way of saying “If you’re dressed like a whore, I’m going to assume you are one.”

While most guys probably won’t admit to such sexist stereotyping, they almost all engage in it – even well-meaning individuals.

I had a friend once tell me I was making myself a target for rape because I was wearing short-shorts. Really? Should I also refrain from wearing sexy stilettos or doing my makeup and hair? If we women really want to protect ourselves from unwanted male advances, perhaps we should start sporting burqas. It seems to be working out well for our oppressed sisters in the Middle East.

Then there are the men who do not have good intentions. These are the guys who let a woman’s apparel determine how she will be treated. Teachers, fathers and even men of faith who otherwise appear respectful of woman, think they have the green light to sexually harass.

Is a woman coming on to a man if she’s wearing a push-up bra? No. Is she suggesting she wants to have sex with him because her hemline is above her knees. No.

But for whatever reason, many men assume if you’re dressed “immodestly” you are asking for it. The truth is, there are many reasons why we women dress the way we do. More often than not, it’s to feel attractive to both men and other woman. Sometimes it’s to feel sexy. Sometimes it’s to feel comfortable. And sometimes it’s simply because we like what we’re wearing.

Can you imagine I actually like wearing short-shorts? I grew up wearing cutoffs and feel most comfortable in them. If that makes you think I’m a whore, please, keep it to yourself.

And men, here’s a simple rule for how to treat woman: If you wouldn’t want a thing said or done to your sister, mother or female friend then YOU don’t say or do it. End of story.