I Didn’t Get Dressed Today To Turn You On

I Didn't Get Dressed Today to Turn You OnThis morning, I got dressed with consideration given to the weather, to what was clean, to what I felt like putting on, and to what I have to do today (Which is nothing but blog, and then hopefully nap to knock out the cold my kid so generously shared with me.)

You know what I never once considered?

Will this outfit turn on the men who see me today?

Apparently, though, that is something I should have worried about. (Note, I’m not wearing high waisted shorts today, or any day, but not because  a bunch of random men said they don’t like it).

But it’s not about the men in the blog post. Not really. I mean, sure, they took the time to respond to the question, some with an incredible amount of detail and thought given to how often a girl works out, what kind of underwear she might have on underneath those shorts, and her intentions in wearing high waisted shorts – but someone asked them, and I’m going to put some faith into humanity and hope it wasn’t something they really would have thought about otherwise. It’s not even about the writer, who enlisted a small army of men to enforce her own point, which is an opinion she’s entitled to: She loves  the Rainbow Mid Length Silk Shorts. Good for her. I don’t think yoga pants are outside of the house pants, so I do this really cool thing that I get to do – I don’t wear them outside the house. 

The problem is how this article, and countless other articles like it, feed the notion that a woman is responsible for the reactions of men when she gets dressed. This is one of the most blatant double standards you can find these days: If you wear X, you are turning men off, slovenly, out of shape and generally undesirable. If you wear Y, you are turning them on, you are slutty, skanky and you’re asking for unwanted attention, to be catcalled, groped, or assaulted. Starting to feel like you can’t win for losing, ladies? It’s because you can’t.

The focus of this conversation, as ever, is in the wrong place. It is not the responsibility of a woman to look just the way a man (or woman) wants her to look, in order for a man (or woman) to treat her with respect. 

I’m over it.  Over. It. I’m over this idea that any of us should put our outfits together to make someone happy or horny, or to prevent them from raping us. In the words of the very brilliant Warsan Shire:

It’s not my responsibility to be beautiful. I’m not alive for that purpose. My existence is not about how desirable you find me.


Wear what you want. Wear it for whatever reason you have to wear it. Do you feel sexy in it? Smart? Warm? Perfect. You look great.

Photo by Roberto Trm via Creative Commons


Stephanie Ostermann

I’m the sort of girl who you meet for coffee and end up pouring your entire heart out to. The friend you come to when you need someone to call it straight. No bullshit. No extras. Just truth.

I’m a communicator. That’s a PC way of saying I like to talk, but I also spend a lot of my time listening, and over the years, I’ve developed a sense for subtext – how one or two words can change your entire message, what people are really trying to say and how to weave the varied layers of your story into one cohesive brand message that your clients fall in love with.

When I'm not acting as editor in chief for Vivid & Brave, you can find me geeking out over words here.

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