Judging on choice of clothing

Jake Tapley

For the past year or so, there have been a number of protest marches going on called SlutWalk. The marches began due to opposition towards the idea that women dressing promiscuously are setting themselves up for being possible victims of sexual violence.

The Toronto police officer held responsible for the onset of this demonstrative outcry was quoted as saying in a crime prevention ceremony at York University, “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

These women who participate in the marches tend to dress a bit scantily (for protest’s sake) and hold signs that say clever sayings, such as: “Showing my legs, doesn’t mean I’ll spread ‘em.”

I will admit that Slutwalk is a powerful campaign with a solid argument, but I would still encourage these women (or all women, for that matter) to consider the other side with me.

These women who march feel they should be free to express themselves through their clothing (much like the feminist movements that took place in the 60s), and by all means, they should. So long as their attire does not qualify them for crossing the line into public indecency, they should be free to express themselves in any way they see fit.

However, with that being said, they should also realize that they will probably be judged based upon their appearance. This reality is inescapable.

Dressing somewhat provocatively is another topic that will generate varying reactions amongst all people in society. I understand that these women do not want to be labeled as potential rape victims based on the way they dress, but they still must consider that possibility.

Of course, dressing a certain way does not ensure a person (regardless of gender) to be a victim of any type of violence. However, that is not to say that it does not encourage it.

Who is to say that a convicted sex offender would not choose a girl partially exposing her breasts over a girl concealing them? It is obviously not a guarantee, or an absolute, by any means.

Logically, though, dressing this way would only seem to increase the likelihood. The people who raise concern over promiscuity as a new-age trend (such as the Toronto Police officer) are not trying to besmirch the women who dress this way.

They are simply cautioning them as to the risks they take in doing so – a set of risks that they feel are often taken for granted. Even if these women do not like being addressed differently based on the way they dress (reflected into their appearance), they must come to terms with one thing: they probably will be.