#MyDressMyChoice: Of Life Choices & Those that Question Them

miniskirt

How is this still a discussion?

I’m genuinely curious and would like to get an answer about this.

The basic argument here is that nothing, I repeat NOTHING, ever justifies violent acts that are not in defence. Especially gang violence. Never will it be justifiable for one group of people to inflict harm on another person. Never. That is not how justice is passed, decisions are made, or opinions are voiced. Humans of 2014, we are not barbarians or cave people. We have democracies and courts and a little thing called self-restraint and wisdom. Further, group violence by men against women based on the fickle notion of fashion morality is flat out irrational. That is the type of irrational conjecture that will drive our generation back a few decades. Nothing a woman can wear will be deemed appropriate by all men. And it honestly should not matter what men’s opinion on their clothing is. Women are not property; they are other human beings. This is not a new debate. It ended eons ago.

That is where that #MyDressMyChoice discussion should’ve ended as well. But apparently not.

women-oppressed

Every time the question of which person has the right to oppress other people’s freedoms has arisen in history, the people on the oppressors tend to lose. Eventually. Whether it is the freedom of speech, slavery, women’s rights, racial oppression or religious denial; the justifications have never held strong enough to topple the immortal truth of these 4 words “I can so I will.” Which leads me to wonder if humankind is not learning from the past fast enough, or if this is just proof that we have too many stragglers in our generation.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re allowed to be uncomfortable about how someone else chooses (or doesn’t choose but is inclined) to live their lives. You’re just not allowed to force a person to change to ease your discomfort.

It’s a fairly simple concept: to each his/her own. Men can wear whatever they want. Women can too. Everything people can or can’t wear is accommodated for in the law of the nation or the dress code of an establishment, not in the hearts of men who think it justifiable to strip somebody’s daughter just to shame her.

DressCODE-1024x768

Anybody who knows me, knows I wear hats and sneakers EVERYWHERE. I work a fairly corporate job and I still won’t walk into the office without a Yankees fitted hat and a pair of sneakers on. The thing is, as a result I understand that I can’t go into establishments with certain dress codes or expect to command respect from people with certain perceptions of hat wearers and sneaker heads and I’m OK with that. So are the people who have a problem with my clothing. I’m not getting beaten up in boardrooms by people in suits. No. The same men who would strip a woman for wearing the wrong clothes, leave a man alone for the same. Even those guys who really want to make sure their hours at the gym show through their baby sized t-shirts or guys whose jeans are so skinny that if they farted, they’d dislocate an ankle and a kneecap, so they sag for safety, showcasing shit stricken neon yellow boxers. Those guys never get beaten up and stripped either.

wayne sagging skinny jeggings

So, if men’s fashion is not being brought to tow, why shouldn’t my sister or your sister be entitled to wear whatever she’s wearing?

Yes, we all have the right to an opinion, but we don’t have the right to enforce an opinion in barbaric fashion. If opinions could be enforced with such vigour, I’d have blown up Parliament years ago for being a blatant waste of taxpayers money. And I think that would’ve gotten us further than stripping women randomly on the street and brutalising their liberties.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is an element of responsibility. It is just as irresponsible for me to walk into a boardroom to pitch for business with my “Fuck You, Pay Me” t-shirt on and a hat randomly balancing on my head as it is for a lady to go for a job interview in a bikini. But that’s a matter of dress codes, not so much of morals. If I can wear what I want to wherever I’m going, so should she – whomever she may be. And if what she is wearing is slightly shocking or appalling to me then I reserve the right to comment and have an opinion. But the right to action is hers and the laws’. Nobody tried to put Lady Gaga on a grill because she wore a meat suit, so nobody should try to act on the length of a skirt or a dress. Even though some of you guys are acting on even less, sometimes nothing, which is just indicative of failing at humanity.

The sad truth is in that first paragraph. Nothing a woman would choose to wear can be deemed appropriate by all men. And this is in no way right. But it is a reality.

And it’s not a reality that goes away by men stripping women, or by women covering up, but by society, in its entirety shifting for the better. This is not something that will happen overnight or through a hashtag. This is something that will live with us for as long as we prejudge a woman in a dress, a man in a kanzu, a woman in men’s clothing and a man in woman’s clothing. For as long as sexual xenophobia shall exist, your dress will remain your choice. Your choices will remain your responsibility. And some idiot out there will make that responsibility a risk.

As a man, I have never been more disappointed at my peers than when this topic came up. As a human, I can’t believe that we’d inflict some of the damage we’ve done on each other just to instil fear in our mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and nieces. We are voluntarily turning into animals and justifying it so vehemently.

How is this still a discussion?

3 thoughts on “#MyDressMyChoice: Of Life Choices & Those that Question Them

  1. As a woman i wish i could show the men casually dismissing those incidents these article just so they can understand. It is extremely disturbing that the men around me who i interact with on a daily basis are in agreement with what happened to those ladies and because every time i hear their comments i feel this rage within me that is so strong that i’m not articulate enough to explain to them why it is my right as a human being, not even as a woman, to dress the way i want. As a young(ish) woman in 2014 i am afraid that to some people, in this day and age, i am not a human being, i am considered property (to those saying “our women ” should dress decently) like am a cow or a car or chattel.
    I have a knife now, given to me by my brother. I know that in a crowd i probably cannot use it effectively, i might even get hurt or killed in the process of defending myself, but should one or two men ever attack me because of what i am wearing or attempt to touch me inappropriately, i will not scream or shout, i will simply cut first and ask questions later.

    • This is slavery…..except it is by our own kind. Because they feel they have an opinion that is superior than what we have to say about our lives.
      And nothing hurts more than being enslaved by one’s own kind.
      People have to be held accountable for their actions. Men who decide to act as rabid animals should be caged up like their character calls for.
      That said, women need protection from everyone wherever they are. How many people have witnessed this stripping? How many have taken an active role in protecting these women? Kenya
      a hero in every one. In every man.
      Great read man!

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