My Clothes Don't Equal Consent

As a young woman, there's a lot about me that is tempting. I'm young, I'm decent looking, and my body has a good curve. I didn’t think when I was 11 that my early development would be my downfall. I was excited to be growing, to be maturing into the world. It wasn’t until I was running down the hall to catch up with my class that I realized I was an outlier; the boys made a joke about my breasts moving and everyone laughed. After that I tried my hardest to conceal my body. Making sure that I didn’t make anyone uncomfortable with my curves or allowing anyone that opportunity to point out my, at that time, extreme differences.

It wasn’t until I was a freshman in college, yes IN COLLEGE, that I started to accept my body a little bit more. I was comfortable wearing tank tops, summer was starting to become fun and I was starting to feel a bit more confident in my body. It was a refreshing awakening of my own growth. However, that also made things a bit more difficult for me. My self-acceptance of my body and confidence opened up conversation about why I was dressing a certain way. I enjoyed wearing shirts a bit low cut because I liked the way it looked it on, I liked how it made my body look. I also enjoyed wearing turtle neck sweaters and jeans that went over my belly button. But it wasn’t my jeans that people asked me about or my turtle neck sweaters. They asked me about the low cut shirts that I wore that showed skin, not enough skin that you could see my areola, yet enough skin to start conversation. This was something that I knew would happen. Anytime a women showed a little too much, someone always had something to say, which made it easier for those who talked to talk again when such girl was harassed.

However, what these people don’t understand about my low cut shirts is that high cut shirts get the same reaction. I work in a business that’s dress code is business casual. Now everyone knows business casual means you wear certain pants, never jeans, you wear nice button up shirt or appropriate lengthen blouses. The amount of times that I have been inappropriately complimented by my customers about my figure is ridiculous. Funny enough, I'm not wearing low cut shirts, my cleavage isn’t showing. Yet people have a way of mentioning my physique. I've had 70 year old women telling me that I'm lucky to have a nice set, and to cherish them as long as I can. I've had 50 year old men saying that I must be popular every where I go. As I am standing next to his wife and wearing a turtle neck sweater. Not only is what we’re wearing an issue, ALWAYS, the question of why we’re wearing it is always looming. Is it for Thing number 2 that sits behind me in my writing class? Or is it for Thing number 1 who serves my coffee? Answer is: it's for me when I wake up in the morning and want to feel either sexy, mysterious, motivated or I just put on whatever was the most convenient. Yes, I will admit every now and then I wear something that I think may grab the attention of a certain individual or grab the attention of all individuals, but just like any work of art, I’m inviting you to look and until you get the okay to touch, you don’t. 

The reason I bring this all up is because just recently, in the year 2018, a 17 year old girl was raped by a 27 year old man and the defense brought her underwear to court. They did this because they believed that she was asking for it…Yes, they believed she was asking for it by putting on lacy underwear and covering it with a pair of jeans. We REALLY REALLY need to get it through certain peoples' heads that women don’t ask to get RAPED, we don’t want our bodies violated. When we invite someone to explore our bodies we are making that choice, we are making that choice knowing we have control of the situation in regards to what we want. When a 17 year old girl is raped by a 27 year old man, the conversation shouldn’t be around what she was wearing, but around what she was saying.

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