Does Clothing Really Affect Sexual Harassment?
Clothing choices can often be a source of contention – people can be judged based on their clothing choices, as various styles may be perceived differently by different people. It has been speculated that woman in particular could be at risk of sexual harassment due to the type of clothes they choose to wear. But does clothing really have an effect on the prevalence of sexual harassment?
How Sexual Harassment Can Affect Women
Sexual harassment has the power to severely impact women’s lives. It can leave them feeling intimidated, degraded, and violated, and can affect both their physical and mental health. While sexual harassment can affect anyone of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, it is more likely to happen when the victim is in a vulnerable position.
Clothing as a Contributing Factor to Sexual Harassment
It has been argued that certain clothing, such as revealing pieces that accentuate a person’s curves or clothing that is perceived to be “provocative”, could increase the likelihood of someone becoming a victim of sexual harassment. This notion posits that clothing can be viewed as an invitation for unwanted attention and that it detracts from the “dignity and respect” a person deserves.
Does Clothing Really Lead to Harassment?
Although clothing has been suggested as a contributing factor to sexual harassment, it is important to note that clothing is not an invitation, nor does it cause harassment. In fact, research has consistently shown that harassment is an intentional act perpetuated by the aggressor and is independent of the victim’s clothing choice.
The Perception of Clothing and Sexual Harassment
Although clothing choices are not likely to invite harassment, they can be perceived in different ways that may have an effect on the prevalence of sexual harassment. Here are a few ways clothing can effect perceptions:
- Dressing conservatively – A woman may dress conservatively to avoid unwanted comments and attention, leading her to feel as though she has to change her style in order to stay safe.
- Making assumptions – People may make assumptions based on a woman’s clothing style, such as the type of person she is or the types of activities in which she engages.
- Harassment for dressing “improperly” – A woman may receive derogatory comments or be shamed for wearing clothing that is too revealing or perceived as inappropriate.
It is important to remember that clothing is not an invitation for sexual harassment and that it should not be blamed when harassment occurs. It is up to the individual to make whatever clothing choices they feel comfortable with and they should be able to do so without fear of retribution. It is ultimately up to society to create an environment where people feel safe and respected, regardless of their clothing styles.