My clothes do not determine my consent. Let me say it again for the people in the back. MY CLOTHES DO NOT DETERMINE MY CONSENT.
What determines my consent? A loud, affirming yes.
What does not determine my consent? How many buttons I have done up or down. The cleavage that I am or am not showing, the length of my skirt, how I did my makeup or the shoes that I’m wearing.
Sex is a natural function, and should not be scary, but we are in a society where women fear to be sexually assaulted more often than not. Growing up, I was told that I could not go out wearing certain outfits because it suggested that I was to be taken advantage of? I was instructed to walk in groups, or better to be picked up by my parents to get home. Why? To ensure my safety.
Can we pause for a second, please? Because I choose to wear a certain amount of fabric on my body and decide to show a certain amount of skin, I am determined to be ‘asking for it’ or ‘enticing boys to take advantage of me’, despite the fact that it is what I feel most comfortable in. Despite the fact that this is what makes me happy. Despite the fact that what I am wearing makes me feel good about myself.
Nudity empowers some, modesty empowers some. different things empower different women and it’s not your place to tell them which one it is.
What part of my body gives someone else the right to cat call me down the street, grab my butt while walking past them or take advantage of my body drunk or not? ABSOLUTETELY NOTHING.
The tightness of my jeans does not allow you to take photos of my a** while I’m walking down the street.
The height of my shoes does allow you to howl at me with your group of friends when I go out to dinner downtown.
The neckline of my shirt does not allow you to objectify and sexualize my body.
What I am wearing does not give you consent to have sex with me.
A body is not an object, to be used by whoever, whenever. A body has a person attached to it. It has feelings, a soul, and just like you, has no right to trespass on or objectify the body of someone else.
Next, people may take this as never being able to tell someone they look nice. There is a large difference between harassment and a compliment.
Let’s outline these a little bit:
Harassment: catcalling, calling me an object, sexualizing me, not getting my consent to comment on me. Ex. From across the street, you yell “hey sexy”, I ignore you. You keep going, “let me grab a piece of that fine a**”
Compliment: Coming up and talking to me when appropriate (AND HAVING ME RESPOND HAPPILY), I have consented to have a conversation with you, and saying something kind about me about me without making me seem equivalent to the clothes I am wearing and not sexualizing me.
Ex. We have been talking for a while and we BOTH get along. You tell me I have beautiful eyes, in a respectful and sincere manner.
Reminder: You do not owe anyone anything. No one owes you anything. A body is not an exchangeable good. A body is to be loved and cherished by those who are allowed to be determined by the person whom the body pertains to.
WHAT SOMEONE CHOOSES TO WEAR DOES NOT MAKE THEM OWE YOU SOMETHING.
WHAT SOMEONE IS WEARING DOES NOT DETERMINE THEIR CONSENT
Last May, I lost my mother to a two and a half battle metastatic breast cancer days before my high school graduation. It was particularly difficult because my family was never given an answer to what specifically caused the tumors in the first place. There was no history of cancer in the family and my Mom didn’t smoke or drink regularly. She lived a healthy and athletic lifestyle that would give no indication of a risk of cancer. I first heard about the possible effects of the toxins in tampons and pads at a networking event at SFU where Taran was on the panel representing ElleBox. I was instantly intrigued and wanted to get involved with this brand in any way possible. I have a strong passion for writing and raising awareness on anything from lifestyle to social justice issues. Currently, I am studying Communications and minoring in Publishing at SFU. When I first shared a personal blog of mine with the public and was overwhelmed with support from others. I want to expand the reach of my voice and am so ecstatic to be able to do so by writing for ElleBox!
– Sophie Cummings
If you’re pursuing a career in writing and are interested in guest blogging for ElleBox please email firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you!