Showing Skin Doesn’t Equal a Lack of Respect
Clothes are a form of self-expression, a way to show who someone is, or what they’re feeling, without saying a word. Unfortunately, some people associate the wrong words with certain types of clothing, despite being in an age where “anyone can be anyone” and judgement is supposed to be at an all time low. Women are still expected to “dress the part” of whatever job role we acquire or what path we choose to take and are judged mercilessly if we don’t.
Certain clothes still symbolise a ‘lack of respect’. It seems as though a woman’s achievements can be wiped out with the purchase of a low-cut top. Billie Eilish took the world by storm at the start of May when she appeared on the June 2021 cover of British Vogue in a corset and latex skirt (both custom made by Gucci) layered on top of Agent Provocateur underwear alongside Atsukokudo latex gloves. Her ‘new look’ went viral and as fans and fellow celebs applauded her for owning her body, trolls and critics had other things to say.
In a controversial headline, the Daily Mail labelled her as a “sell-out” despite having won seven Grammy’s. Billie’s cover proved to us that no matter how much a woman achieves, she will still be labelled based on the outdated perceptions of the clothes she chooses to wear rather than her success and achievements – and it needs to stop.
Clothes do not show how much respect should be given to each individual. There isn’t a graph with a mini-dress at the bottom correlating with the words “unintelligent” and a blazer at the top labeled “intelligent”, although society makes it seem like there is. Stemming from before the Victorian era (when it was shocking to show so much as an ankle), it has been ingrained into our heads that showing skin = no respect or lack of intelligence when that is simply not the case.
There isn’t a graph with a mini-dress at the bottom correlating with the words “unintelligent” and a blazer at the top labeled “intelligent”Lizzy Swinerd
Judgment based on clothes is seen a lot in the entertainment and media industry but it also happens in our day-to-day lives. From school dress codes to walking down the street, we are constantly being told what is and isn’t acceptable for us to wear.
Here’s the thing, a doctor wearing a mini skirt doesn’t take away her Ph.D. and a teacher wearing a form-fitting dress on a night out doesn’t make her a bad role model. Also, we shouldn’t automatically assume that someone who chooses to cover up is lacking in body confidence (although it is completely okay if they are). Women dress for themselves and a change of style does not represent ‘going down the wrong path’. We are not conformed to one way of dressing no matter what decisions we make and we don’t deserve to be judged for that.
Photo Credit: British Vogue, Craig McDean
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