"Why Do Women Wear Provocative Clothing??"


"Why Do Women Wear Provocative Clothing??"

  • Eve S. Dropper

    Eve S. Dropper is an eighth grade drop out who furthered her education with stacks of books from the public library, faking it till she learned something and good old fashioned...

Ask A Woman


Dear Woman,

I’ve got a tricky one for you. Why do women wear sexy/provocative clothing and then get pissed off when they’re stared at?


Can’t Help It, I’m Human

Dear Human,

First off, define provocative. I once got hit on shuffling to the corner store on day three of the worst flu of my life. I was glassy-eyed and stooped over, greasy bits of bile clinging to the crunchy tendrils of hair plastered to my flushed face, and some dude hung his head out of his car window and yelled, “Nice ass, baby!” A friend of mine once went to drop off her laundry wearing her Christmas themed pajamas with a plastic bag over the back of her head to protect her hair dye and zit cream on her chin and some guy said, “I’d still hit that.”

My point is, women get hit on no matter what we wear and so a lot of us have just stopped giving a fuck and dress in what we like regardless of the reactions. Now I realize you’re probably talking more specifically about women who are explicitly dressed in sexy, revealing clothing, right? Your implication is that they are clearly trying to be noticed and should therefore be prepared for lewd stares. Well, perhaps they are trying to attract attention, but perhaps it’s not your attention. That’s the distinction.


Staring is not harassment until it is. If a provocatively dressed woman enters a cafe and you notice her and she notices you noticing her and she indicates with her body language that your stares are making her uncomfortable, you gotta look away or you’ve crossed the threshold into lascivious behavior. Now you may say, I’m just looking, there’s no harm in that, but the thing is she doesn’t know you’re just looking. She is probably bracing herself for the possibility that you might harass her or worse. So, control yourself and look away if you see you are making someone angry or uncomfortable. It’s pretty simple.

You might be thinking that we could all avoid this pesky issue of self control if the woman in question just dressed less sexy, but that’s not your call. Clothing affects the way we feel and behave and some woman feel strong and powerful in sexy clothing. The clothing we wear to feel sexy and confident, or simply to feel comfortable in hot weather, may be provocative to you but we shouldn't have to think about that when getting dressed. Just as, I assume, you don’t. The bottom line is, we all need to stop trying to control other people and instead control ourselves.

There’s this 1950s notion that men can’t control their sexuality. It is a hokey, blue balls rhetoric that paints men as cavemen who are yanked around by the power of their libidos. This makes it a woman's responsibility, for everyone’s safety, not to provoke the beast and takes all responsibility away from men. This is such horsehit. I understand that men may be stimulated more visually and are wired differently than women, but most of us have learned to suppress our animalistic urges and you can too. Do you know how many times a day I wanna slap someone? Or throw some crazy fit? Or just scream FUCK really loudly to see what people would do? Look at a toddler, they wear their emotions on their sleeve. They literally writhe around on the floor, wailing like wild animals when they don’t get their way. That is what we came from. Eventually we learn to suppress our primal urges, because if we didn’t it would be chaos.

Furthermore, women's bodies have been controlled, pinched, prodded and yanked into submission forever, and we are sick of it. The fashion industry, which is made up predominantly of male designers, has been deciding what is appropriate for woman to wear and what the ideal form of beauty is for hundreds of years. These are rules and ideals that someone made up and handed to us as socially accepted etiquette in order to be deemed proper and to attract a mate. Women must not wear their hems above a certain length. We must cinch our waists tightly with corsets meant to promote modesty and passivity. We must bind and lift our breasts so they sit above where they naturally do. Our mouths and cheeks should be pink and flushed. Our legs lengthened and made taut by heels. We should have hair here but not there. And youth should be prolonged for as long as possible. The majority of us followed these rules of fashion until, to grossly oversimplify a very complicated awakening, we broke and started burning our bras. Women dressing the way we please, be it in paint-covered overalls and combat boots or short, tight skirts, is a continuation of the bra burning movement. It’s our way of taking control of our bodies, our individuality, and our sexuality; and it’s not going anywhere.

So, next time you see a woman dressed in a way you deem provocative, simply suppress your animal urge to oogle her or start humping her leg. If not, don’t be surprised if her own animal instincts kick in and either she slaps you, starts throwing the contents of her bag at you, or screams FUCK as loud as she possibly can.


A Woman