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Dress How You Want to be Addressed

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Towson chapter.

Recently, Amber Rose was a guest star on a talk show titled “It’s Not You, It’s Men,” a show hosted by R&B host Tyrese and former rapper Rev Run.  The show recently premiered on the OWN channel. While speaking on the topic of consent Tyrese says that if a man feels comfortable enough to grope a woman she must be giving off some type of “energy” to make the man feel that way.

Really, Tyrese? Energy? This isn’t a yoga class, this is real life. I was also confused because Tyrese and Rev Run both have daughters, which made me think they’d be a little more defensive about men touching women without permission, but spoiler alert: I was wrong. Despite my growing urge to change the channel, I continued to watch. In the middle of Amber Rose breaking down “no means no,” for Tyrese, Rev Run cuts in with an old quote he heard, “Dress how you want to be addressed.” The crowd claps and cheers in agreement with Rev Run.

Amber Rose replies “Oh, boo! That’s not realistic. Stop it.” Over the past couple days there’s been a lot of chatter about Rose’s stance, and to my surprise (also disgust) many women and men are siding with Tyrese and Rev Run. You may be asking what my problem is. Luckily, I’m here to give a few reasons of why the concept of “dressing how you want to be addressed” is garbage.


  •   C-O-N-S-E-N-T, find out what it means to me :

Let’s take it back to elementary school: if you don’t have permission to touch somebody, you don’t touch that person.  Consent is not a “well…” or not being pushed away. Consent is not flirting. Consent is a mutual agreement between the involved parties, and the absence of a “no,” is not a green light to put your hands on someone. To come to the conclusion that it’s okay to touch someone just because YOU want to is nothing short of ridiculous, and you should probably go to prison. 

  •    Clothing is not a yes:

A short skirt, or a low cut top is not a green light to put your hands on somebody. Contrary to Tyrese’s logic, women are harassed regardless of the clothes they have on. Work uniforms, business attire, sweatpants, the list goes on. Something all those pieces of clothing have in common is that none of them warrant sexual harassment. The notion that women can “dress themselves safe” from harassment is insulting and insensitive. It doesn’t matter if she’s wearing a sandwich bag, or if she’s draped head to toe in fabric. Don’t assume she welcomes your hands. 

  •  Address everybody with respect:

Respect is a basic human right. I’m not sure what makes one believe they’re qualified to decide how much respect a person is allowed, but their qualifications lied. To assume that you’re allowed to decide how much respect a person deserves is not only self-righteous, but also just plain rude. Imagine a world where the validity of sexual harassment claims were based on how much respect the abuser had for the victim. If respect could be a tad more mutual, I believe that we’d see a decrease in sexual harassment. “Hey, because I respect this person as a human being, I also respect their body and their boundaries. Let me not touch them without their consent.”

“Dress how you want to be addressed,” implies men lack self-control, and that women need to pick up men’s slack to decrease their chances of being sexually harassed. The phrase also shames the victims for the abuser’s lack of respect and common sense. The amount of clothes (or lack thereof) women wear has never stopped women from being touched without their consent, and because we don’t live in a perfect world I’m pretty sure it never will. Instead of giving women a checklist that won’t stop them from being sexually harassed, let’s educate the masses on learning how to respect others and their bodies.

A lover of life.