Why are women always told what (not) to wear?

No matter what we wear, we never seem to make it right. And it also seems to never be OUR choice. Women are constantly told what (not) to wear and are still shamed for the decision they make, by the media, by their friends and  family, by the whole society even.

The current debate in several countries about women wearing hijabs, burkas, etc. again shows how society just can’t stop policing on what women are wearing. Needless to say I don’t support the case of where these items of clothing are forced upon a woman and when she is not wearing them out of her own free will. While I agree that burkas are controverse as they immensely impede the participation of these women in society, items such as hijabs shouldn’t be of much interest to anyone other than the woman wearing it if worn out of choice.

But it’s not only about these items or types of clothing. The shaming also concerns our everyday ‘western’ outfits. We are constantly checked upon whether we are showing too much or too little skin, looking too masculine or too girly, wearing too much or too little make up, and the list goes on.

What’s worse, I feel that most of the times those who are shaming women for their choices are other women. Yes, men do it too, but many women are giving other women a hard time when it comes to judging their looks. It’s something we all need to reflect on again and we need to question more our own judgments we make every day about people’s looks.

People are so much more than their looks. It might be a reflection of their style, their character, their personality even. But there’s so much more inside. Looks are not everything. And that goes for everyone regardless what gender.

(c) Alli Kirkham / Everyday Feminism

But why is it that society always has this strong urge to police women’s clothings and looks? Why would it be of interest to anyone what other people wear? Why does it bother them so much? Does if affect them in any way?

Please enlighten me.


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