Unfortunately we live in a society where perception is reality as much as we may wish to have it differently. In a conversation with a moderate feminist last weekend we managed to touch on the subject of how women should dress. I particularly try to avoid this topic because I am always worried about being misunderstood. In a free world we must be free to think and dress as we please, but we also have to take into account the consequences of some actions. We might not like to admit it, but our perceptions are constantly being reshaped daily by what we see around us. What I am trying to say is that while you can wear whatever you like, you have to be willing to accommodate assumptions attached to your choice of clothing.
I’m sure some of you have watched those Amazon tribe documentaries where women walk around bare breasted like it is casual. Well, I guess in some societies it is. They are not being labeled as sluts, hoes, or whatever derogatory term men use these days. In most developed or developing societies however, thanks to music videos and other media streams certain attachments come with exposing some skin especially the breasts and buttocks region (did I just write buttocks?). It is my opinion that while a woman is free to dress as she pleases without crossing the line of indecent exposure for the sake of children and the general public, she should also be aware of the perception she may be setting.
It is also worth mentioning that dressing extremely provocatively sends the male thinking down the testosterone route. I mean who looks at a female with half her tits hanging out and thinks ‘I bet she got a good head on her shoulders’. I will like to add that this is NOT an endorsement of rape and other blatantly anti-social and criminal behavior on the grounds that a female was showing too much skin. Men can think what we want to about the skimpiest outfit but it doesn’t justify grabbing a female’s bum without her permission. Display is no invitation.
P.S Why is it okay for women to pinch a guy’s ass but the other way round is a social crime….think about it.
The issue of the objectification of women in the media and society is probably one of the most controversial social issues of our time (not really). Sex sells and women are the more sexy of the gender so as you would expect capitalists have done what they have to do to make the profits stretch. It is almost impossible to go through a whole day without seeing some form of female objectification. Some are done tastefully, some funny (Lynx adverts), some outright derogatory (see most hip-hop videos). So is this a gift or a curse? And how is the way women are portrayed in the media affect both the way men perceive women and how women perceive themselves?
It might seem like the highly sought after ‘fat free’ hourglass shape represents an empirical formula for female beauty, but this hasn’t always been the case, and in some parts of the world it still isn’t. A quick look into history will show you that in the past women were expected to have a bit of meat on them, and the paler you were, the more attractive you seemed. I don’t need to stress how much money businesses are making of fake tan and sunbeds. Ironically in Africa women take to bleaching their skin to look lighter. I guess we are all aiming for a shade of caramel. I heard the pale skin represented wealth because it meant you didn’t work in the fields, and the weight represented the same as it meant you had enough to eat. Today the tan shows wealth because you can afford a holiday and the weight loss shows you hit the gym (wealth and fitness).
I have met a lot of ladies with real issues as regards to the media standard of beauty, but I have even met more trying to conform to it by working their ass of in the gym (pun not intended). I personally believe in the idea that the standard of beauty is determined by the society and the time in question. The media only reflects the ideas we already have in our minds but then reinforces it. But maybe I might be wrong and already brainwashed by years of exposure to MTV (when they did show music videos). The second question is do you think the current depiction of women in the media has forced insecurities on ladies today and influenced men to respect them less. While I cannot answer the former (as I am a man), I will say the latter has an element of truth to it. When a girl comes across looking like one of the objectified women we see on TV, men do have the habit of objectifying them. Can this be in anyway seen as empowerment as I have heard some girls argue, or is it downright disrespectful? Famous women all over the world have sexualized themselves to get ahead and while sexual harassment remains an issue at work women still maintain wearing pencil skirts and tight fitting blouses.
P.S A woman dressed provocatively is NOT an invitation for harassment. But all things taken into account I think we can all agree it increases the chances of that happening.
I am always nervous when I write any post that might upset some women, but ladies would you rather not know the truth about how guys think rather than some sugar-coated post? Perhaps if we talked more about these thing instead of assuming the opposite sex should just ‘know’ this we might reach a better understanding. In the absence of females (or presence of cool chicks) guys discuss a lot of things most girls would kill us for even thinking of. The state of female fashion without a doubt is one the many topics we discuss. It is a free world (well some parts at least). You have every right to dress as you see fit but ladies you have to be aware that how you appear translates to an impression and more often than not you will be judged to a certain degree. And on this note I will like to highlight that girls do this to each other too but it’s sort of like black people using the N word. We are allowed to use it with each other but God forbid a white person utters it. The only difference is girls will judge other girls based on their own personal standards. In other words the more provocative a girl dresses, the more room she has to tolerate other girls dressing provocatively.
Unfortunately guys can’t really be as provocative as women simply because anatomically we aren’t just as sexy. You won’t really blink twice at a topless man but a woman stepping out of the house in just a bra will cause a bit of a stare. I still don’t understand why bikinis are perfectly fine but bras are off limits. Anyways, not to get off topic, here is the male reasoning behind female fashion choice. The more provocative a girl is dressed, the more tolerating she will be towards sexual advances and this is how we justify it in our heads. Women know men are famous for thinking with our penises or at least on behalf of it. Women also know men are visual creatures (You have Fifty Shades of Grey, we have Pornhub). So clearly if you have your ‘assets’ on display you are sending out a visual signal that you are open for business. No guy stares at a woman’s cleavage and thinks ‘I bet she has an amazing personality’, On the other hand when we spot a woman looking sophisticated or classy we think ‘Hmmm, she isn’t putting out her sexual looks so she wouldn’t be prone to sexual attention’. In the course of my growing up I have learned to dispel this mode of thinking but I have to say it requires effort. One can also argue that dressing provocatively is like an inception of the idea of sex into a guy’s mind. Because that thought has already been slipped into the guy’s mind it directs his actions and the result is a sexual approach.
Ladies I am sure you have your reasons for dressing in see through tops and clothes of that nature. You are welcome to educate us in the comment section. A lady friend of mine once told me dressing provocatively made her feel confident. I told her it sounded like she had confidence issues. It was the last time I shared such an opinion with a female.
As long as I can remember I have always been humanitarian as far as women are concerned. Black, white, yellow, mixed….if purple women existed I’d probably give them a go too. In fact the only thing that could make me bias to a lady in terms of beauty is a certain air of ‘exoticness’ (Hold yourself, I know it’s not a real word. My spell check made sure of that). In Nigeria for example, I find the Hausa girls a bit more appealing because their accents and distinct facial features. I’m sure if I grew up in the North I would be saying the same thing about Eastern and Southern girls. As they say: Grass is always greener on the other side.
I would love to tell you all about my many perceptions of female beauty but this article is not about me. This article is about Nigerian girls! I remember my father confiscating some bleaching cream from our house-girl many years ago. I was maybe 11 years old or less when this happened. Needless to say I was completely unaware of the concept of beauty and how it could differ from person to person. However, flash forward a few years and I have to ask; do Nigerian girls really believe that the lighter you are, the prettier you become? This question has been on my mind since someone said my sister only looks pretty because she is light skinned. I for slap the guy but na my uncle talk am, fear no let me. After my uncle made me aware of how widespread this idea of light skin equating to beauty was, I have been on the look out for trends to prove his theory.
The celebrities of every society are often blessed with the super-powers of being able to seduce any woman and from what I have seen light skin is very much in fashion. Ladies and gentlemen, can someone be kind enough to educate me on this. In my time in UK I have noticed mixed raced guys and girls alike get some kind of aesthetic pass. Is this the same back home? Should I buy some bleaching cream while I’m out here for my female lady friends?