Even though the idea that a woman showing her ankles in public is considered “sl**ty” is gone now and sounds extreme and ridiculous, the same mindset that compelled women to wear something “not revealing” because men are animals and their self-control is limited is still alive.
It’s the reason why school dress codes that forbid off-the-shoulder shirts exist, and we see it almost everywhere. We see it when people debate exactly how many inches a skirt length needs to be in order to be considered OK, and it’s all done in order to rescue men and boys from the abyss of temptation and lust.
The problem is that people engage in such debates while they sexualize women to sell almost anything in the same time, and it’s a perplexing paradox. So, it turns out that both bikinis and burqas are both icons of objectification, and everything between those two extremes is subjective. Oh, and there’s the sea of unanswerable questions that make life even more miserable: how much skin is too much? How much of a leg is acceptable? How about knees?
Even if you know all of the answers, there’s one clear conclusion: women can’t win, no matter what they wear!
So, it begs the question, are the clothes really the problem here?
The idea that men “simply can’t help themselves” when they see the skin is absolute nonsense, and some people make us think that men have zero control when they see a woman. The poor, helpless dudes that can’t contain themselves.
The reality is that most men recognize that outfit and the body parts it might reveal are secondary, especially when it comes to sports, for example, where they watch a woman performing a certain sport for the sport, and not for her outfit (at least in most cases).
Men are not beasts that are incapable of contextualizing what they’re looking at, and it’s a fact.
So, it’s truly unfair to tell women that they are responsible for the thoughts of the men around them, and that their clothes are a “distraction”. And it’s also not fair to tell young boys that their thoughts can’t be helped and are caused by a girl’s clothing choice. We, as a society, must NOT put blame on women for men and boys that can’t control themselves.
We’ve got to stop selling that idea, because it’s simply not true. Yes, some thoughts do happen, but that’s the point of being a human being: you can shift your gaze! It’s your choice on how you see someone, and it’s YOU that have to manage your own thoughts and exercise self-control. The only person responsible for what’s happening inside your head is YOU, and absolutely no one else!