Saturday, 14 March 2015

Not Dressed Up For You: An Open Letter To Creepy Men

"Ok, I'm wearing my long figure-hugging blue dress, and I've been yelled at 3 times in the 5 minutes I've been waiting for the bus *thumbs down emoji*"

This was the message that I got from Katie as she was making her way over to my house to take outfit photos together in our current favourite clothes.

This, and the fact that we look super don't-fuck-with-me in the above photo, prompted me to write a short open letter to all the creepy men out there (and yeah yeah, #notallmen and all that - but cis-gendered men, you really do overrepresent yourselves in this domain, so I don't wanna hear it).

Dear creepy men:

We are not your property.
We do not exist for your eyes and your amusement.
And we will not put up with your judgements on our outfits and your comments on our bodies.

Believe it or not, but we're actually not dressing up for you. 
Sure, every woman's reason for dressing the way she does is different. But we dress up because we love fashion. We dress up because it feels good. We dress up for the sake of dressing up. Our outfits are an expression of our feelings and personalities. And we dress up because we want other cute, well-dressed women to admire our outfits.
Not for one second, while we were deciding what to wear this morning, did we think "golly I hope some creep screams at me out of their car! That'll validate my outfit choices/attractiveness/appearance and totally boost my self-confidence!"

Sorry, but it is NOT a compliment. In fact, it's the complete opposite. It's creepy, it's unwelcome, and it makes us extremely uncomfortable.

Because societally, historically, culturally - men hold power over women. Because structural misogyny is a thing and what a woman chooses to wear is still grounds for abuse and discrimination.
Because a woman's, and NOT a man's outfit choices are still used as grounds to dismiss her authority, experience and intelligence.
Because female victims of abuse are still blamed for their own assaults because of what they wear.
Because "boys will be boys" is still used as a legitimate excuse for aggressive behaviour.
Because most women still don't feel safe walking home alone at night.
Our choice to wear a tight skirt doesn't give you an invitation to beep at us with your car horn. Choosing not to wear a bra isn't an excuse to call obscenities at us out your car window. 

And yes, when we all live in a totally equal, utopian, sex-positive society where pay is equal, women have beards and men wear make up, then maybe, maybe screaming your approval of a woman's outfit out of your car window will be a completely acceptable form of admiration. But that world doesn't exist. So for the time being, creepy men: will you please shut your mouths. And if you witness this behaviour, please open your mouths and tell that person that what they're doing is wrong. And why. 

Because one day, we want to be able to wear whatever we want, and not feel unsafe or discriminated against because of that.
Outfit details:
Top is DIY
Necklace is c/o Eclectic Eccentricity
Skirt is c/o Choies (super old, and altered by me)
 Shoes are Naot (Kedma)
Socks are from Japan

p.s. Katie has turned her whole cat-calling experience into a kickass post, I highly recommend that you read it!

Much love,

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  1. thank you for writing this, all of these things need to be openly expressed and brought to the attention of women and men who are not conscious of misogyny and the fear women can often feel when being eyeballed by men.
    I felt like this when I had to wait at the bus stop outside my school, in school uniform, alone as it started to get dark because I had chosen to stay back and work on my extra curricular activities and it sucks that when catching public transport women can often feel insecure and vulnerable when we have every right to exist in that space

    also big thumb's up to Katie's awesome body hair, choosing to embrace the natural state of her body and not buckle under the pressures of internal misogyny either <3

  2. Fuck yes! This post rules and both of you are so stylish! I love your writing, photography, and politics. *thumbs up emoji*

  3. You are both AMAZING and I love this post a ridiculous amount. "Believe it or not, but we're actually not dressing up for you." Amen.

  4. This is SO awesome. I always tend to feel like this when I go to buy a new outfit and wonder if it's too revealing or too dressed up for my day to day life...ultimately, I always buy it even if it is! ha because I dress up for myself and for other girls who appreciate awesome fashion just like you said. Hurrah! Thank you for writing this. <3

    Regina | Margarita Bloom Retro Vintage Skincare & Beauty |
    Cherry Lips Blonde Curls | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | GFC

  5. Yes! Totally agree!:')
    I always get those 'full-of-eWWWW-lust' stares from creepy dudes or 'full-of-hate' stares from other people when dressing up, It's actually not bothering me, but I still feel funny getting those mean glances from them, like i've killed their unicorn:(
    I just want to cry when i realized that We still scared walking alone in nights (well, I'm always scared 24/7 walking alone)...because of those creepy men....I also get sad when we are taught how to not be a victim not how to not commit any crime...

    Adventure of P-Chaaan!!

  6. Yes yes yes yes yes! This is everything that needed to be said! So wonderfully put, Anni, absolutely amazing <3

  7. So true! They always make me feel like the street I'm walking on isn't my space, it's theirs and I'm intruding. Almost as if leaving the house, I knew I was willingly placing myself on their territory. It's no theirs, I have just as much right as they do to walk there!

  8. I remember one time walking my aunts dog around the block for her. I was a very young teen at the time, and it was a very hot day. I was wearing a tank top and jean shorts. It wasn't overly revealing. The shorts almost went to my knees! And this guy cat called me. I was shocked because I thought I looked gross. I turned around to see who it was and it was this older man. He could have been my dads age...or older! and when he saw me turn around he must have realized how young I was because he went right back into his house. I hope he felt bad about it because I avoided his street for years after that. :/

  9. Uh, this is an amazing post and I totally agree with you! Cat calling is the worst, and it makes me feel horrible whenever it happens to me. There have definitely been times when I've gone out in something I'm not totally comfortable in, been harassed on the street and gone home and changed into jeans and a jumper. I would probably also add that verbal harassment tends to be on a continuum with physical harassment - when guys feel comfortable yelling at you on the street it's not a big step for them to feel comfortable grabbing you. I think the existence of cat calling also normalises the existence of physical street harassment.

    But anyway, you both look awesome! I especially love your skirt Annika :) xx

  10. Excellent, excellent post. This is such a "hot button issue" as of late, and it amazes me that some men still don't GET IT. I don't really have anything to add to what you've written, honestly. You both look beautiful and kick-ass.

    xox Sammi

  11. Great post!

    Cat-calling & being approached in a creepy manner by randoms on the street can be so irritating and also overwhelmingly uncomfortable. Drunk men, sober men, men who have (clearly) taken a variety of substances or are just high on some imagined form of power who creep on women in public and think they are inviting them to hit on them simply because they've made the effort to look nice - and I think it happens so much more when the woman has made a clearer effort than on a super chill day, at least in my experience it does - really need to get the message once & for all.



  12. SUCH AN IMPORTANT POST! You are awesome and this post (and your outfits) are on point! :D

  13. This really needs to be spreaded... I live in Mexico and believe me, if you complain, imagine how my country is? I practically dress up all cute when I go to my university because I don't have to go to the street, all I do is stay in my school, but when I go out... I always have to choose jeans or whatever I find that aren't skirts or dresses, I'm afraid of hanging out with my friends in a mall because if I use the stairs someone who is behind me will see something. I'm curvy and I do like my body, what I don't like are the people who choose not to see me as the human being but as a piece of meat and two... the shops who don't have all kind of sizes on clothes. Here in Mexico, thrift shops aren't as cool as they are in USA... When I visit my parents in Cali, I'm grateful for having such opportunity, but that happens only once every year so... when I come back I have to stick to few stores because not all have my size. Whenever I hear someone cat-calling me in the bus all I do is see them with my "Killer eyes" and they seem to understand that I don't like that, thought other seem to like to see me pissed and tend to do it over and over again, untill I put my headphones on... Anyway, I'm glad to read such an open letter, we all feel the same way, I love being a woman and I shouldn't be blamed for being one... I really hope this changes because everytime I go to the street, I'm afraid of going alone, I have to be with my friends, who are such sweetie pies who defend me when they see me angry (I tend to get really bad if I get mad), not all men are like that as you say, only closed minds an little hearts cannot see how bad they do when they're cat-calling a woman... Greetings and my best wishes from Mexico.

    Huggies for you both, that look absolutely stunning! ( ╯ ✿´ ꒳ ` ) ╯

  14. Props to you for this post!!
    ♡ Dulce

  15. Seriously, the best open letter I've ever read! So far, anyway. In the past few months, I've been getting familiar with this topic and I'm very happy to read tons of essays and memoirs and stuff about such a theme. It's absolutely eye-opening! Also, I hope your friend Katie reads this too (or I'll just pop over to her blog) because I LOVE the fact that she's not embarrassed about showing off her body hair (which I support completely, try to do more often but not all that brave yet)! Girl power!

    Alive as Always

  16. oh! your skirt is fantastic. Iwant it

  17. AMEN! You go girls! You are both so amazing - thanks for speaking out! Also, of course you both look fabulous - per usual!


  18. your friend looks absolutely awesome in her maxi - I really don't know what is wrong with men! And I love that she hasn't shaved - I haven't shaved my legs all winter! :-)

  19. Excellent post, thank you.

  20. It's ridiculous that it still needs to be talked about, but I'm so glad there are ladies out there like you that will take the time to write about stuff like this!

  21. Can I just amen this? Thanks for speaking up about this! I'm always happy to read your awesomely feminist posts.

    Jamie |

  22. Just 5 minutes before reading this post, I was down town, waiting for my car to have it's rego check done at the mechanic. Our main street is the Pacific Highway, so as you can imagine - lots of traffic. I had 6 truck drivers beep their horns at me in my short shorts. I'm 5'10 and all leg, so I get this a lot, but it never ceases to make me uncomfortable and have me puling at the hem of my shorts. I wasn't dressed up - I was in my daggy at home clothes, but I dressed for comfort in the sweltering heat this morning, not for the amusement of the truck drivers making their way through town this afternoon!!!


  24. This whole post is just perfection. If I could type "THIS!" 8000 times, I would.

  25. Hy ! I'm french and I love your blog ! It is very full, attractive, and genius !!!! Congratulation !!
    I'm agree with your open letter, I thing exactly that you have sayed !!! Thank you ;)
    And you are sooo creativ, wouahou :)
    Thank you, for all,
    Love <3


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