Is common bodily modesty sexist, or even misogynistic? I’d say so. Can a woman not be truly free of patriarchy, until she is free of the traps of clothing? I’d say so.
But, who am I to speak for women? Can I really understand? Shouldn’t this be written by a woman? I think that I can speak to this because as a man, I also can’t be free, until I’m free of our societal situation. That being okay, still, I’ll extensively quote some women throughout this article, as I make my case.
Let’s look at the inside first, body shame. We are pressured into living up to unreasonable bodily ideals. From young to aging, people are subjected to fashionable impositions. It changes, but our body types won’t always agree with those changes. People starve, suffer social insecurities, and lie to themselves and others. We are told that we are flawed. We are manipulated into clothing that will make us look something other than what we are.
We are sexualized, something that has its place, but this overused imposition confines the identity to within limits, and with that, it limits personal potential. We are reduced, corralled and channeled into living life as someone else’s object. People get dressed to support that fantasy. People also dress to diminish objectification. Our other abilities, our other humanity, our inter-relationships are constantly tainted with this. People tease, fish, manipulate and game within this context. We are more than that. We can’t be equal, if we have to be so separated by sexual concerns and inhibitions.
The trap of gender roles is rampant. Dress, the uniform of conformity, plays a big part. Be it power garb, masculine superiority, a female’s place, or inequality, gender determines “who wears the pants,” a term that comes directly from this kind of culture.
Things have changed. Here’s evidence, but still, what remains?