This Is Why We Need To Stop Judging Women By Their Clothes

Beauty + FashionGirl Power

The fact that people judge women because what they wear doesn’t fit someone’s idea of what’s “acceptable” seems to be a widespread problem. If you’re a woman, you’ve probably had this happen to you at some point in your life. It starts young, with school dress codes deeming tank tops unacceptable because they’re too distracting for the school environment. And it just continues from there.

People judge women for wearing too little clothing and call them “slutty.” But they’re also shamed for wearing too much, like when they do so because of their religion. There doesn’t seem to be a way to win.

Not only does this hurt the women that are being shamed and is surely inappropriate, but it’s also detrimental at a societal level. If this is a practice that society continues to see as perfectly fine and acceptable, that means that it’s never going to stop. It’s reinforcing the assumption that it’s okay. But it needs to end.

It Destroys Confidence

We choose our clothes based on how comfortable we are in them and how they make us feel. Not everyone is going to feel great in the same things, which is fine. But when someone finds a style that works for them, they’re happy about it.

Finding clothes we feel confident in can be difficult. So when a woman gets judged for what she’s wearing, it’s instantly a hit on her confidence. She may have tried something new with her style or wore a cute new outfit and felt great, but the instant someone makes a comment, it’s going to make her think it’s not good enough.

It’s also important to realize that not everyone is going to be able to afford name brands and what’s trendy. There will always be knockoffs that have the same look, and if someone likes that style, they should absolutely get the knockoff if that’s what they can afford—and they shouldn’t feel judged for doing so. Ray Bans glasses, for example, normally go for around $150 a pair. There’s no way everyone has the budget for something like that, even when they love the look.

We should be building people up for taking risks, trying new outfits and wearing what makes them feel beautiful. It’s important to encourage people to be themselves and not dress for anyone else. But there’s no way someone is going to do that if they get snide comments every time they try.

It Furthers Rape Culture

We know that sexual assault and rape are horrible and that they’re a problem in our society, but the excuses people throw around about it are also a problem. People will say a woman was “asking for it” because of the way she was dressed when the assault happened. They imply that what she was wearing meant she consented or that the clothes made the assaulter lose control. Clothing has been legitimately blamed for sexual assault in the court system. And that’s terrifying.

In no way, shape or form does what a woman wears have anything to do with consent or willingness to have sex. Sending the message that clothing is why someone lost control and assaulted a woman is ridiculous. Instead, we should be teaching self-control and respect. No one should ever think that clothing gives them the right to do something inappropriate.

If we teach women that what they wear is distracting and makes others lose control, we’re not changing this notion that you can blame clothing for assault. It’s letting the people who are at fault place the blame on the victim so that they can get away with their actions. This needs to be changed in society, not reinforced.

It Continues The False Belief That Women Are Constantly Seeking Attention

You can almost guarantee that a woman running in spandex shorts and a sports bra doesn’t want someone to stop her so they can comment on her outfit choice. Same for the woman running errands in jeans and a t-shirt.

There seems to be this belief that women are always seeking attention. Judging and saying that every woman is wearing short shorts or a tight shirt just for attention is furthering this notion. As mentioned before, there are any number of reasons why a woman might dress the way she does. Usually, it’s because she’s comfortable in it or what she’s wearing fits with her mood that day. Almost never is it, “I’m wearing this because I want attention.”

Women get catcalled walking down the street every day. They’re trying to live their lives just like everyone else, yet they get harassed just for doing daily tasks. It’s inconvenient, uncomfortable and not wanted. They’re not wearing that outfit for you, so you shouldn’t assume that they are.

Judging women for their clothing choices is a downright harmful practice. It’s time for society to undergo a serious shift. Let’s build one another up instead of tearing them down. Let’s hold people responsible instead of clothing. Let’s allow people to wear what they want instead of assuming it’s showing off. It’ll make this world a better place.

Jennifer Landis
Jennifer Landis is a wife, mom, writer, and healthy living blogger. She enjoys longs walks around the block with her toddler, prefers tea over coffee, and eats way too much peanut butter. You can find more from Jennifer on her blog, http://mindfulnessmama.com or follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis
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