So I have a theory on why women feel unsafe in short skirts!

(33 Posts)
PosieParker Fri 09-Nov-12 18:44:35

I think if you walk home at night in 'sexy' attire you are more likely to be a victim of casual abuse, wolf whistled, shouted at, etc. Therefore you feel unsafe and the ultimate in 'unsafe' is rape.

MooncupGoddess Sat 10-Nov-12 18:44:43

The idea that women wearing clothing that is close-fitting/low cut/short are more likely to suffer sexual assault seems intuitively logical to many people, because they see women dressed like this as signalling that they are potentially up for a sexual encounter; and they assume that men who commit sexual assault would actually prefer a consensual encounter, but have misread the signals or are feeling horny and let their standards of behaviour slip.

In fact, however men who commit sexual assault want to commit sexual assault, and sometimes (at least, so it seems from the evidence) enjoy sexually assaulting women who are dressed/presenting themselves in a totally non-sexual way. E.g., schoolgirls, women in jeans and woolly jumpers and (ugh) mothers with small children.

LastMangoInParis Sat 10-Nov-12 17:52:04

I feel safe wearing short skirts.
Used to feel safe wearing ridiculously impractical high heeled shoes and short skirts/shorts/fishnets/footless gold tights when I was younger and could be bothered/wanted to dress like that. And that was staggering home through supposedly 'rough' areas at any time of the day or night (usually night).
Never got intimidated/abused/threatened. NOt once. (Got quite sore feet and cold legs though.)

On the other hand, when younger still I was chased along several streets in a 'naice' area by a man who tried to pull me into his car. I was 14 and wearing my (winter) school gear.

I really think how safe you are/feel has little to do with what you're wearing.
(In relation to other people's behaviour, obviously, not e.g. cross country running in stilettos. That would be very unwise.)

44SoStartingOver Sat 10-Nov-12 17:43:52

I think it is worth considering the 'armour' nature of any clothes for any person.

Plus it is all relative. I feel fine in a bikini on the beach, but if everyone else was in t shirt, jacket and jeans, I would feel vulnerable.

I believe there has been a school of thought, from observations, that some people who have been abused, wear more clothes, lots of layers, almost as protection shedding them only when they feel safer.

Putting on a uniform can make people more authoritative, and other people respond to you as if you are more powerful.

I feel good in fitted clothes and heels, but only if the heels are sturdy and I walk securely. But in some of my working situations, I know I need flats and trews.

Clothes can give signals to both wearer and observer, of course not necessarily the same one. An outfit which says for one person they are glam and fabulous, says to another they are a soft target.

FastidiaBlueberry Sat 10-Nov-12 17:35:43

Interesting about how women dressed in order to display the status of their owners. As LRD says, the catcalling etc. is a hangover from the days when that ownership status was explicit rather than implicit and it is a rebuke from men that we are out on the street without our owner.

If you say that to a man (or a woman) they are incredulous: but women don't get cat-called when they're with men, only when they are alone or with other women. It's a reminder to us, that we don't have the right to be on the street and we're only there on sufferance. It reminds us to know our place. Because non-misogynist men, don't shout at women in the street, only misogynists do.

colditz Sat 10-Nov-12 12:10:06

I am nearly always in a short skirt. I find them reallyb comfortable and practical because I'm so short that trousers drag on the floor and get wet, meaning I end up soaked to the knee and cold all day. Give me a short skirt and boots any day!

goralka Sat 10-Nov-12 12:01:54

I don't feel safe wearing any skirt of knee length or above without jeans or thick legging underneath, probably due to dreadful memories of school having things shoved up your skirt by 'amusing' boys......
I do like the short skirt/shorts and thick tights and docs or trainers look tho, although I daresay that would be a bit 'muttony'.

I think that's exactly it - lots of women do believe rape myths.

As to why we discuss rape myths - these all go back to society believing it has the right to control women's bodies. So that means, believing it has the right to control their bodies and their sexuality. In many times (including some modern-day societies we can all think of) women were literally not meant to go out of the house without a chaperone. In many more, what women wore was another way of displaying a man's wealth or status, or the fact she belonged to him. So married women would dress differently from unmarried women.

Obviously in the UK we'd like to think we've put those cultures behind us, but we're actually still seeing the remnants of them when someone say 'I wouldn't like to see my wife go out dressed like that' or 'John wouldn't let me walk home alone'.

Rape myths are a way of enforcing taboos that have been more-or-less torn down.

PosieParker Sat 10-Nov-12 07:26:17

I'm impressed but perhaps people who frequent this board are more likely to understand that there is no link, perhaps I just seem to associate with a number of women who believe rape myths. It's the discussions surrounding rape (or the West Mercia's posters) that have dragged up, I'm alright walking home as long as I'm not dressed tarty, or I'm alright walking home if I have flats on etc. I wondered if the rape myth about slutty dress leads to rape was because women are more likely to be catcalled.

Seems as if women I know, not myself as I a)never walk home at night and b)I don't wear revealing clothes, are exceptional. But if that were the case then why do we even discuss "she 's asking for it?" type rape myth.

LynetteScavo Fri 09-Nov-12 23:24:55

I never felt unsafe wearing short skirts, but I was young and fit and only wore them with converse or Dr Martens.

I've never been a victim of casual abuse because I was wearing a short skirt, apart from one time when I was wearing a mini-skirt and DMs and a club bouncer checked out my legs and offered me a lift home. hmm But I think that would have happened even if I were wearing jeans.

I think long lucious hair will attract as much unwated attention as short skirts.

IME, worldwide, wearing lipstick will get you the biggest amount of abuse from men. There must be some secret code that in manycountries the only women who wear lipstick are prostitutes or something. But I wouldn't say I feel unsafe wearing lipstick. Not in the UK, anyway.

MooncupGoddess Fri 09-Nov-12 23:13:51

That is just awful, SGM.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 09-Nov-12 23:07:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 09-Nov-12 22:45:21

I don't think that I have been whistled at more when I wear a short skirt or "sexy" attire than I wear normal clothes. I get more casual abuse if I'm riding my bike or running, than if I'm tarted up in party clothes.

Women feel unsafe because men threaten them. Simples.

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Nov-12 21:51:38

Read your thread, Posie. Do you really feel like you know how women feel about short skirts in the Uk?

MooncupGoddess Fri 09-Nov-12 21:48:47

I've never felt scared or unsafe while wearing a short skirt. I would feel unsafe in high heels, but I don't wear them (mostly because they're too uncomfortable and I can't run for the bus, but the safety thing is a secondary consideration).

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Fri 09-Nov-12 21:45:26

I wish! :D

It was about 10 years ago and I was fucking terrified by the bloke who was shouting about my tits. I was covered up from head to toe.

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 09-Nov-12 21:44:01

Stealth boast there sunny grin

I have no problem walking around at night with a short skirt on. I wasn't aware I should feel unsafe.

Things like the situation or area might make me feel unsafe, but not what I'm wearing.

Sunnywithachanceofshowers Fri 09-Nov-12 21:14:05

I've never felt unsafe in a short skirt and I do live in the UK.

I got shouted and wolf whistled at in my winter coat.

PosieParker Fri 09-Nov-12 21:07:51

Cote perhaps you cannot really comment about how women feel in the UK as you've never lived here.shock

PosieParker Fri 09-Nov-12 21:07:14

Erm I never wear short skirts.

But I have a number of friends who say that they feel okay about walking home late at night if they're wearing trousers/flat shoes and not 'going out' clothes.

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Nov-12 20:53:39

I've never felt unsafe in a short skirt & never heard of anyone who does.

Aside from OP, does anyone feel unsafe in a short skirt?

SufferingLampreys Fri 09-Nov-12 20:50:16

I don't feel unsafe in a short skirt
I do feel ridiculous rhough

InSPsFanjoNoOneHearsYouScream Fri 09-Nov-12 20:46:09

What's the point in a skirt if my fanjo doesn't get to breathe grin

InSPsFanjo: that's what thermal tights are for. I was in asda today and I noticed they sell fleece lined tights.

I have a short skirt on now. I feel perfectly safe.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now