What should I wear?

Last week on the Uplift Magazine blog, Sarah Barnes wrote a fantastic post about what women wear, what men think, what other feminists think, and whether or not we should care. This was particularly interesting since I first met Sarah at the launch of Reclaiming The F-Word, where we were both dressed rather differently to how many people would envision a feminist would look. Surely women should be able to wear what they want in 2010 – be it a bodycon dress or a burka – without being judged? Just because I believe in equality, doesn’t mean that I should hate make-up and high-heeled shoes. Can’t we wear things because we want to, rather than because it’s expected of us?

As Sarah mentions in her article, Grazia is telling its readers to “be careful your dress sense doesn’t give out false messages”. Well, to be honest I don’t really care if some men think that wearing a tight dress makes me look promiscuous, because I’m not going to sleep with them anyway. It’s not the outfit that makes a woman appear slutty, its her behaviour, and this particular slut* is incredibly choosy. Judge a book by its cover at your peril, gents. Maybe it’s just the wording of the survey they’ve quoted that’s bad though. I’m sure that women in knee-high boots make men think of sex just as much as skin-tight jeans on a pert male arse can do for us, but does that really make them assume the wearer is frequently engaging in sexual activity? I suspect there may have been one or two leading questions asked.

*By the way, a post about reclaiming the word slut will follow soon enough.