Readers share their perspectives on woman in skimpy attire: Ask Ellie
Dear Readers: There’s no surprise at the immediate and varied responses from many of you regarding whether a young woman has the right to wear skimpy attire without having her body objectified in a potentially dangerous way (Oct. 22):
Reader No. 1: “Women can obviously dress just about any way they want. But let’s not be naïve. They dress to attract attention — e.g., beach volleyball players; professional golfers; high school students; etc.
“That’s human nature! It doesn’t mean that they should be subject to sexual attacks from ‘admirers.’
“However, some men simply become aroused to the extent that they step over the line.
“I spend a lot of time in airports waiting for flights, particularly in Florida, and I can understand why some women are being barred from flying based on indecent exposure!
“Yes, I hear an outcry — but it’s from people who refuse to accept reality. And I don’t believe anything will change.”
Reader No. 2: “Why is dressing to emphasize one’s sexual characteristics any different from singing while walking down a public street? Both actions bring involuntary attention that the singer or dresser could avoid.
“The person could wear clothes which do not emphasize their sexual characteristics. So why does it make sense to provoke attention and then complain about that attention?”
Ellie: The difference here is that you accept that a woman wearing a pullover jersey is trying to attract notice of her breasts, when she may’ve just wanted to be warm. The singer wants everyone to hear them. The woman does not want anyone to touch her.
Reader No. 3: “What stood out in your response: ‘All genders dress for attention in different ways and places.’
“I’m female, in my 60s, university educated. I’ve learned that to be respected and valued by all genders it’s not advantageous to dress for attention.
“You want others to look you square in the eyes, open their ears and listen to what you’ve got to say. No distractions. I’m also a sexual assault survivor.”
Reader No. 4: “Generally, I’d agree with you that women’s apparel reflects their taste, not any interest in being objectified or ogled.
“However, the description of the woman’s outfit in the article sounds more like she’s seeking sheer attention. In such cases, I don’t think they also get to choose who looks.”
Reader No. 5: “Yes, women have the right to dress as they choose, and men have the right to appreciate women who want to be appreciated, without being slandered by women seeking an excuse to be offended.
“It’s not creepy to just look, but it is sexist to condemn men for looking.”
Reader No. 6: “So, at one time there would’ve been a self-righteous letter lamenting the woman’s attire, possibly casting aspersions on her character.
“Now there’s a letter just as self-righteously lamenting the remarks of the older couple (not within the young woman’s hearing).