A Skin Tight Hypocrisy

A woman dressed in a tight knit skirt, low cut blouse, and sky-high pumps is walking down the street. Stop here. Pay attention to your first thoughts. Did you see her long silky hair shine in the sunlight? Was she white, black, Asian, Latina? Most importantly how old is this woman?

If your first thoughts were, “my god, who is this strong empowered woman”? Congratulations because for most it’s more along the lines of "hot damn" for the imagined white, young 20- something they imagine.
This sexualized image of youth and women is sprawled in every facet of media; and has been embedded into our idea of beauty. We have been programmed to like and admire a certain type. Finding what I mean simply takes a Google image search of the word “pretty”.

To most, this may be just another thing to ignore, another socially constructed commodity we must embrace. But the consequences are real. Our men, women, and children are now hard wired in favor of this visual archetype of what it means to be a beautiful.
Now back to the beginning. What if that woman aged 25 years, changed race, or just wasn’t as externally beautiful? Her outfit hasn't changed; what are your thoughts now? In many respects an older woman is deemed inappropriate. How dare she show her sexuality, it's a sin, it's putrid, vile, not fit for television so it's not fit for my eyes. Women of other races get condemned for dressing in a way that’s not in agreeance to the stereotypes of their race. Beautiful people can wear the most ridiculous things (see: fashion week) but someone who doesn’t physically or aesthetically cut it is seen as a “try-hard.”

When did clothing become so limiting? 
For men it doesn't seem so hard. They can wear a suit from crib to coffin and still get adoring looks. Yet a woman must walk on eggshells, in and out of trends and fads, to appease the outward gaze and expectations of her gender. But, if she has goods to show off she is told to "flaunt it while you got it". Which means her moment to be acceptable to the rest of us is fleeting, and fast. 

When I think about this hypocrisy I commend the young women of today for not giving a f*** and wearing the clothes they please. To the freedom-of-choice feminist wearing labia peek-a-boo shorts, and bottom cleavage bearing crop tops. You go girl. Please, do not let societal influence guide your personal decisions and tell you what you can and can't do with your body - let alone who you do it with. This is something millennials have embraced; and sexual freedom is nothing new to youth in revolt (see: 1960s).

Scantily clad women of today saying it's for their self-empowerment I applaud you, because I agree, your sexuality is yours to control. No one else's. But, take a brief moment to unveil where you got these ideas of fashion -lets track down the root of this evil. I can guess it's not the empowered women in your life you're mirroring with your booty shorts. Instead you're looking towards submissively posed models of present and generations past who were made to look at the ground, stick out their groin, arch those heels, tilt their head, while the camera caught every perfectly awkward angle. Don’t deny it, you become what you see and chances are you grew up with these "role models". They taught you to dress the role of a true woman. They look "fierce", "bold", even sometimes breathtakingly stunning. But they were never real. Especially not when boardrooms in the male-run advertisement industry decide which one you'll see on the billboard next. Think of the crop top that sprawled out of the 90s and early 2000s (our sponge-brained, Sponge Bob watching days); it was disowned, and now suddenly revived when we have our own money to spend. We are molded by what we see. And this ideal "bye-bye-bye", "stronger than yesterday", "I am beautiful" era is what we wanted to be.

So, if empowerment through body bearing is only approved and benefited from those that "rock it" is it really empowerment at all?
Basing our strength as a gender on fleeting fashion is not a stable foundation for equality.

We know the horrid truths of the fashion industry that made us hate our bodies and polluted our minds to thinking we're not ever going to be enough, or thin enough. Yet, somehow here we are still putting on the pumps that look hot but limit our (social) mobility; that some ad told us when we were young that we'd have to wear if we wanted to feel good and in control.

So who you dressing for?