Women's clothing in 1930
Orange County School of the Arts

Opinion: Women should not be restrained in the society stereotype

The eyes of society have witnessed a trend developing of women’s style and clothing as more women started picking outfits in their own taste, however, clothing analysis still thrives on the women who don’t follow the traditional stereotype.

In the 1930s, women were forced to be “well covered,” without overly exposed skin, any violation will be seen as irregularities and no self respect. Most of them did not have clothing choice or the freedom to wear, because their roles in society were determined as the housekeepers for their men. Those long dresses did not merely cover their shape, more like a shade that blocks the path of finding their real desire and soul.

This “trend” lasts for approximately 20 years until this quote expressed from Marilyn Monroe: “The body is meant to be seen, not all covered.”

The short phrase seems to wake up the potential seeds inside the majority portion of the woman population that were almost used to be silent of what they really want. Monroe has changed society’s attitude toward sexuality.

As more people began to intimidate, “storm” arose repeatedly — women with short skirts and stripes were seen as the self-careless due to the saying of high probability of encountering sexual assault.  But do we really understand the real causes of sexual assault?

Some of you may know that there is an art exhibit by Jen Brockman that displays the clothes that the survivors had wore in their encounter of sexual assault, such as tank top, bikini, mini-length skirt, even long pants and sweatshirts.

The exhibit is named “What Were You Wearing,” it has 18 violence stories that are reflected by the various clothes on the wall. Yes, various, not just swimsuits and shorts. Nearly all types of clothing can be found in the display, including a little girl’s sundress, it sounds astonishing, but that’s what really happened in the society we lived in- all ages have the potential danger of being the victim. Therefore, the founder Brockman has come to the conclusion that It’s not the clothing that causes the sexual violence, it’s the person who causes harm.” 

Based on the message of the exhibit, clothing is not an excuse for perpetrators to hurt females physically and mentally.  Instead, people should purify the dark side of human nature in order to reduce these kinds of tragedy. 

I’m not saying that all girls have to be sexy and wear less, my whole point is to encourage women and girls to follow their heart and not be afraid of expressing their styles of fashion, because fashion can be diverse. However, having the knowledge of self protection is necessary, we could never predict the danger, but being able to stand up and save ourselves will be the best prevention. Women should never be framed upon certain standards, rather making the choices for ourselves.