A Dress Is Not A Yes

Guest Chat

Kelley Garland ’16

Confidence is key; whatever you decide to flaunt out on the weekend or weekday, it is the confidence and composure that makes one “sexy.” If I want to wear jeans and a nice shirt, I will. Hell, if I feel like wearing a tight dress that is considered a little short, so be it. If someone is confident in himself or herself, the outward appearance should not be taken so heavily into consideration. Truth be told, you should not be spending your nights judging what other people are wearing when they are going out. Honestly, who cares what someone wears. The person wearing the outfit is in charge of her own body; she is independent, she knows her comfort level, she makes her own decisions. A girl should not be viewed as easy because of something short and tight; pieces of fabric sewn together do not determine someone’s life story or choices.

I was brought up on the notion that it is what is on the inside that counts, that is where true beauty lives. I do not believe than clothes cause one to stray from their own values. Disapproving of an outfit gives no one the right to make assumptions about the person wearing it. Such assumptions never lead to anything healthy. It is a serious problem that a girl wearing a tight dress, perhaps showing off her legs and some skin, is thought of as a piece of meat. People are under the impression that girls who dress like this are lusting for attention from boys. It is time to stop making assumptions about people based on society’s misappropriated associations between dress and character. Learn who the real person is; stop projecting assumptions on him/her. This applies every day: not just on nights out.

There is a difference between an assumption and an observation. Looking at a girl without a jacket walking down Guzman Hill first week of December, one might see her shivering. You observe her to be cold. On the other hand, you might see her shivering and assume she’s looking for someone to warm her up later on in the night. Now imagine that same girl hearing people making these assumptions about her. Realistically, she might have wanted to wear that outfit because she believed she looked good in it, and felt that a jacket didn’t match or she was afraid to lose it. You might be correct in your observation, but think twice before making an assumption.

Let’s get some things straight. Wearing these articles of clothing does not mean it is a green light for your peers to take advantage of you. Here’s a question: why do women think that they deserve to be taken advantage of because they felt they dressed a certain way? Whether you a wearing a turtleneck or a crop top, no woman deserves to be treated disrespectfully. It is other people who do not respect a woman’s body—grabbing their ass, coming up from behind and biting their necks without any notice. Men need to respect women, and women need to respect themselves.

Not all guys are like this; our wider culture is largely to blame. But the issue is prevalent enough that it raises the question: “if a woman dresses like a ‘slut,’ is she partially to blame if she is assaulted?” Absolutely not. A woman never deserves to be violated, regardless of dress, location, under the influence or not. Women should never have to think, as they are getting ready to go out, “if I wear this, will something horribly life alternating happen tonight? Will I be taken advantage of? Will I be emotionally and physically scarred?”

It is time for us to put an end to misguided assumptions and victim-blaming stereotypes. We might not be able to change all of society, but we can change Providence College’s campus. If someone says no, it means no. If you see someone who needs help, try to help. And if a girl is comfortable and confident wearing something, then let her express herself. An outfit should never invite unwanted actions. A dress is not a yes.


One thought on “A Dress Is Not A Yes

  1. Well I think what people decide to wear is what matters most because it’s something that they CAN control (Aside from weight I guess too). Girls (generally) make a conscious action to put on a certain outfit in most cases, especially when going out for the night. And true beauty comes from not just the inside but also the outside – it’s just what’s on the inside (character) can be controlled and changed more than what’s on the outside. Biut that’s just a tangent since I ain’t good at being cogent.
    But yeah some girls seem to be wanted to be gawked at which really just screws with the majority of girls who don’t. Roll Tide. Not really.

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