in category Dress Codes

Do women's dress codes have any effects?

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Stamping out all debate on "victim blaming" in the context of sexual assault incidents by certain liberal quarters seems to be informed more by their perceived beliefs about liberal freedoms than any actual research or ground reality.

A whole body of research dating back to atleast the 90s has been done on the associations between dress and the perceptions it generates about one's sex, sexual intentions, and the likelihood of being sexually assaulted.

The journal article below nicely summarizes such findings based in social science studies and behavioral experiments. Some excerpts are copied below, although I highly recommend one read the whole paper in full.

"Our research purpose was to assess research addressing relationships between dress and sex. Our review was focused on a 25 years span (i.e., 1990–2015) and on empirical research utilizing human participants published in refereed journals. Three main areas of research emerged: (1) dress used as cue to sexual information, (2) dress and sexual violence, and (3) dress, sex, and objectification. Our analyses revealed parents do invest their young children with sex-typed dress however sometimes children demand to wear such dress. Some women intentionally use dress to communicate sexual information but inferences about women who wear sexy dress can be misinterpreted and are sometimes negative. Observers link wearing sexy dress to violence including sexual coercion, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and unwelcome groping, touching, and grabbing. Certain items of sexy dress that reveal the body have been linked to self-objectification. The fit of the items may also contribute to the body revealing nature of clothing styles that elicit self-objectification. The use of sexual images of women and children has increased over time and viewing such images is also linked to self- and other-objectification. Suggestions are provided for future research."

"Regardless of how sexy dress was operationalized, some women say they use dress to communicate their sexual desire to men and attract sexual attention from men (Grammer et al. 2004; Montemurro and Gillen 2013; Smolak et al. 2014). For example, using reasoning based in evolutionary psychology, Grammer et al. found that women used alluring and bold clothes (.i.e., sheerness) to court a partner, meet new people, and flirt. Additionally, researchers have reported that people believe women use dress to indicate sexual interest or intent. For example, Koukounas and Letch (2001) reported both men and women thought that women used sexy dress to indicate sexual interest and that men perceived more sexual intent than women. "

"Vali and Rizzo (1991) conducted an atheoretical survey of US psychiatrists addressing the role of young women’s revealing apparel in inciting sex crimes. A significant majority believed that when young women wore revealing clothing they were at risk of sex crimes. Participants also indicated that parents should consider what girls’ attire signals to men."

"Researchers who study twentieth century media using content analysis have documented that over time women and girls have increasingly been depicted as sex objects therein (e.g., Frith et al. 2004; Graff et al. 2013; Krassas et al. 2001; Millard and Grant 2006) and noted it was their clothing that has often been found to be objectifying (Aubrey and Frisby 2011; Goodin et al. 2011)."

Full article: https://fashionandtextiles.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40691-017-0101-5

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