Rhona Canoy .
SO… More than three years I’ve been doing this, writing my column for this daily newspaper. And even more so recently, when they upped my punishment to twice in a week. As much as I can talk, I realized that it isn’t that easy to find something to talk about when you want your readers to be interested and, more importantly, to find something to think about. There are enough wonderful and great writers for this op-ed page to cover all that is happening on a current basis. Today I’m fascinated by the issue of the way women dress and the behavior it attracts from males. And other females.
Before all y’all feminist activists run after me with pitchforks and torches, let me reiterate that I’m on your side, but there are certain realities that we have to face. It is true that the underpinning on the issue of male attitude towards women rape is respect. That is certainly a no-brainer. But so many other issues complicate the way we see it, to the point that even women are not in agreement about what could be considered triggers. Top of the list among these is the way women dress and behave today.
Anybody will tell you that it shouldn’t be about how women dress or behave. Oh, how I wish it could be so. With the fashion evolution leading up to the proliferation of “pekpek shorts, skin-tight dresses, and minuscule tops, this argument appears to win itself. But, wait! Can’t we at least talk about it? Yes, it’s true that women are showing more skin than they ever have before, with the exception of Eve. Yes, it’s also true that women are more than ever pushing for empowerment and respect as equals in the world. And yet…
It disturbs me when men (and certainly uber conservative women) are overheard saying, “Well, if she dressed more decently, she would have more respect.” How about “What did she expect? She looks like a prostitute.” Ok, now… this second one REALLY disturbs me because it takes prejudice to the extreme. What exactly are prostitutes supposed to look like? You mean there’s a type? Some of the best ones certainly have a sharper fashion sense than me. That’s why they cost so much — because they look so… so… appealing. But, once again, I digress.
I hate that men judge women based on their clothing and body shape. But the sad truth is that we women are part of that problem. If it were as simple as being free and respected enough to be able to wear what we want, then there would be nothing to discuss. But it’s more complicated than that. History has proven that females dress to attract the male. No matter how militant we women want to be about that, it is a very harsh truth. I think it’s hard-wired into our DNA. Now, how we want to attract them is where the argument gets hairy.
Sexy. If women were asked to list five words that they wish could describe them, that would be at the top of the list. It would be the first to come to mind. More than intelligent. More than awesome. Surely more than beautiful. Or compassionate. Or concerned. Or kind. And somewhere, slim would come a very close second. But only because of the misconception that slim equates to sexy. When women are told how sexy they are or look, you can practically see the pleasure glow from within, and the sparkle shine in their eyes. So let’s not argue about what drives women to prep themselves so much. No matter what the argument, and I know I will get them, the goal is to be sexually attractive. Perpetuation of the species matters.
Neuroscience tell us that we need to be mindful of the words that we use. Women will call other women sexy, especially if they’re close friends. The common idea that women dress for other women needs to be explored. Yes, it may be true, but it certainly isn’t done to impress other women. Women don’t dress to create an impression on other women. Women dress to show other women that they’re winning the sexy competition. And women will hate the sexier women because they are perceived as way ahead of the game. And men get to be the judges in this contest. It really is all about sex, after all. Think about that, girls.
We need to start being brutal with ourselves. As much as even I hate the idea that we are being judged by what we wear, there is some truth there. And age certainly has something to do with it. I mean, the same clothing conditions but different aged women and my argument is clinched. A twenty-year old walking around without a bra will elicit steamy admiration from the males (of all ages, I might add) and murderous envy from the women (of all ages, I might add). A sixty-year-old walking around without a bra will elicit derision or indifference from the males (older, I might add) and derision and contempt from females (older, I might add). Caveat, I’m using the word older here because that’s what will bring the pitchforks in the end — saying “old.” Which is actually what I mean.
Until the issue of being sexually attractive and the perpetuation of the species are redefined, it’s not going to end well for us females. What the hell. Most men don’t even come close to the definition of what is sexy to us females. And those that do are too young to know anything. From a physical standpoint. But then again, we women need to step up our game. Many of our nubile nymphs are programmed to turn on the sexy at the sight of a fat wallet or an expensive car. I hate it, but that’s an upbringing issue — and I don’t have that much time left to conduct a seminar for many misguided parents.
For all men to co-exist in this world with a more than adequate amount of respect for all women — that’s the holy grail. But for as long as women play the game according to men’s rules, we are going to keep losing. So if you want to be sexy, keep wearing the “pekpek” shorts. But be prepared to pay the price. Because in the end, we’re all prostitutes (yes, even you men). It’s the currency that differs.
Wonder Woman may have been touted to be a role model for strong and brave women. But, damn… some guy designed her outfit. That’s obvious.