Sexily Dressed on the Subway? Expect Sexual Harassment

Shanghai Subway Publishes Photo Of Sexily Dressed Woman, Tells Her To Expect Sexual Harassment PHOTO.

 

Okay, I’m going to skip right over the implications that the harassment of women is okay if her clothes “ask for it” and the opposing point that the particular outfit in the photo is impractical for most locations.  There are lots of people talking about these things already.  What I want to talk about is how condescending this ad is:

“Dressing like that, it would be unusual for a lady not to be harassed.  There can be perverts on the subway and it’s hard to get rid of them.  Please have self respect, ladies.”

Before you even get to the politics surrounding sexual harassment, you have the Shanghai Subway system telling women what to wear.  When was the last time in your life that someone felt the need to point out to you the appropriate choice of wardrobe?  Mind you, not what outfit is appropriate for a date or a certain dress code, but what things you just shouldn’t wear out?  Because they would show a lack of “self-respect.”  As adults, I’m pretty sure the answer is “A long time ago.”  Until now, if you’re a woman, obviously.  We need to be told.   Part of the subway’s defense was that it is part of their job to warn women about sexual harassment.  That sounds fine…until they presume to tell us what we should do about it.  Until they patronize us by assuming they know best how women can show respect for themselves and thinking it’s their job to inform women of it.  After all, women couldn’t possibly have self-respect without being told what that means, could they?

 

Whatever you think about how people should dress in public, do you really believe that systems should be able to blatantly patronize women?  Women as sex objects should be clamped down, but infantalizing women to the position of children who need guidance in such simple daily tasks as getting dressed is alright?  I can get dressed by myself, thank you.  Because I have my self-respect, and it is not defined by you.

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