by: Bobby Crowley
I have had a revelation today. I was prancing around in my short dress with ripped hose, cleavage popping out like a broken jack in the box, oblivious as ever. It happened. An older man, walking by, leered at me and shouted obscene things at me as I passed him. At first I was shocked. I didn’t understand why he would do something like that to a stranger, to me.
Then I looked down and I realized for the first time that day what I was wearing and the impact it had on others. I had woken up this morning, oblivious to the severity of my choices. I had thrown on the nearest outfit that didn’t scream “wash me” and left in a hurry. Until this moment, I hadn’t even considered the fact that this choice could destroy a stranger’s goodwill. No wonder the poor man was forced to leer at me! I had laid it all out there, practically writing a sign across my very noticeable cleavage that said, “Violate me please!” My dress might have covered my vagina, but everyone could see this was just a teasing step in the process of asking to be fucked.
What an inconsiderate bitch, I thought of myself. How could I have been so ignorant? How could I have forced that clearly good-intentioned man to turn into something he would have never chosen for himself? Ashamed, I went back to my apartment to change quickly. When I went home, I was shocked to find I didn’t have any clothes that wouldn’t affect the world in such an outrageously negative fashion. How had I never noticed? My pants screamed “unzip me!” My long skirts hollered “smack my ass!” I’m not even going to tell you what all of my dresses said!
I hadn’t realized that all of my encounters with shouting, violent, aggressive, molesting men had been my fault. I was the whore who wore the clothes that drove them mad in the first place. It was that moment I realized there were boundaries. There are things we, as humane human beings, just can’t do to other people. Murder is one of these things. Dressing provocatively is another. I’m not even sure which one is the more egregious crime.
Our feminist-overrun society is teaching women empowerment, but what about concern for others? I, personally, had no idea the impact my bodacious body could have on a stranger on the street. I was naive and insensitive. You cannot walk around in shorts and expect people to keep their hands off of you. Never mind that it is insanely hot out. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the message you send. If you don’t want people to assault you with their minds, eyes, words and hands then you shouldn’t look like someone who wants it. That being said, I think there are other things we should avoid when addressing wardrobe.
This new feather accessory trend is a dangerous one. Do you know how many hunters are out there? You walk around with feathers in your hair or hanging from your ears and you might as well walk around with a sign that says, “Me Hunting Season.” Don’t want to get shot and possibly stuffed for someone’s mantle? Don’t wear feathers. You think it’s the hunter’s fault that they didn’t realize that feather was attached to a human body? It isn’t. Wear feathers and you deserve whatever hunting-related accident that comes your way. Just don’t wear feathers. They don’t belong on your body and you don’t deserve to get shot.
Never wear pigtails. If you wear pigtails, you are forcing everyone around you to have the urgent desire to swing you around by those pigtails like Miss Trunchbull. You think we can all keep that desire at bay? That’s physically impossible. When you wear pigtails, you are putting your life and ours in danger. Who knows what could happen if we swung you around like that? It is unimaginably ignorant of you to wear pigtails and expect us to just walk by without doing anything about it.
Never wear yellow and black together, unless you have a death wish. Yellow and black is one of the most lethal color combinations ever. If you don’t want people to swat you with a newspaper, shoe, or flyswatter, you shouldn’t wear black and yellow. These people are only protecting themselves from what is clearly a stinger in your pants! How can you dress like a bee and not expect to be in danger?
These are only a few of the clothing choices you need to avoid if you don’t want to directly ask for physical violence or distrust from others. However, there are millions more that invite misconceptions and generalizations that are entirely your fault for perpetuating.
Facial hair can be a major problem because each decision in care-taking and style alters the perception of others. Most of those decisions are awful. There is of course the Dirty Caveman, the Adolf Hitler, the Pedophile, the Skeezy Artist, the John Walters, and, of course, the Douchebag. Basically, shave your face, but not your head, that brings up a whole slew of other issues.
Tattoos are bad. People who have tattoos are bad. This is a known fact. The tattoo-clad are either rebels (we don’t like those) or gangsters. Never get a tattoo. Don’t think you’re fooling anyone by getting a heart tattoo on your ankle or shoulder blade. We all know that little red heart is there to juxtapose the black one inside of you. Just save your money and your image and leave that tattoo shop before it’s too late.
Jeans. People think they can get away with wearing jeans like it’s no big deal, but I know the truth. Jeans are a gateway clothing. Jeans are the very “versatile” choice of pants that just make it easier to pull off the other, more lethal choices in clothing. Want to look like a hipster? Wear skinny jeans. Want to perpetuate the gangster image your new tattoo has created? Wear baggy jeans. Want to look like a slut asking for strangers to violate you? Wear ripped jeans that show some skin.
All of these choices and more should be avoided. In fact, most clothing choices should be avoided. Basically we should all just wear footie pajamas in a stigma-less solid white all of the time and then we wouldn’t look like idiots. We would all be zipped up and hidden away inside of safe and comfortable white cotton and fleece onesies. Finally, a choice we can all stand behind. Just don’t get ones with hoods attached. That could become a problem. We don’t want people to think we are the type of people to hurt others for no valid reason or make generalizations about groups of people based on their looks.
Bobby Crowley is a Queer woman with a love for all that is fabulous. She is currently working on her Creative Writing degree at Loyola University where she is also on the board of Advocate and a writer for the alt. magazine LUChameleon. She is in love with Andrea Gibson, her labradaniel puppies, and singing loudly in the shower.