My clothes do not give my consent

I wasn’t asking for it and I certainly didn’t dress this way for you

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Does this clothing imply that I would like to be assaulted? Does it imply that I love to be cat-called and whistled at when I walk down the street? Are you so selfish that you are unable to look past your own inflated ego and ravenous needs and think that perhaps I am not dressed this way for you? Did it even cross your mind that perhaps I am dressed like this, not to be taken home by a stranger, but because it makes me feel confident? I do not need your approval. My clothing does not give you permission.

What I’m about to say has been said and ignored thousands of times, so I will say it again: my outfit does not determine my consent. Ever.

Girls my age like to feel attractive and confident when they go out, whether it be to a concert or a frat party. We slip on uncomfortable wedges and squeeze into body con dresses. The common reaction from older generations, as well as a fair amount of our own, is that we are uneducated and naive  for daring to sport such “inappropriate” clothing in public. Such a heinous outfit sends a message to the men around us that says “take advantage of me.”

It pains me that our society is still so ignorant and close-minded when it comes to something as trivial as what a women wears. How I choose to dress myself should not concern you, nor anyone else for that matter. Yes, it is imperative that when women wear revealing clothing, they receive more attention. However, acting on one’s urges and thoughts says everything about that person, and nothing about the women they are gawking at.

The clothing I put on my body is not there for your entertainment, it is there to cover me in a way that  makes me feel confident with my body. It does not give you an excuse to touch me, to harass me, whether it be verbal or physical. I dream of the day when a judge doesn’t ask a victim what she was wearing at the time of an attack. We are not asking for it – we never were. How dare you take something that is meant to purely cover my naked body and make me feel good about myself and turn it into an answer to a question that wasn’t asked. I should not have to wear a sign that says “no” plastered to my dress for you to get the message. Consent is given through words, not clothing. You are not your clothing, you are not your makeup, you are not your hair. You are defined in what you say and what you do, not your outward appearance.