I feel as though there are some misunderstandings these days about how to treat women and what it means to be a feminist.

Being a feminist simply means you want women to be treated the same as men in every way. This includes financial equality, social equality and the list goes on. So why are you guys still so scared to stick up to injustice and act like a feminist?

I still think people are stuck with a certain image of what a feminist is in their minds and you know what? That image represents the type of woman who didn’t let anything stand in her way of acting and dressing how she wanted to, no matter how different she was from society’s typical view of how a lady should be many years ago–back when it was really hard to be even a little unladylike in public.

Photo Illustration by: emily fedorko / photo editor

Photo Illustration by: emily fedorko / photo editor

Flash forward to 2013, and women are not as afraid to buzz cut their hair, get lots of tattoos, or simply button their blouse all the way up to the top like I do and wear a bow tie.

Does this mean I like girls and therefore must be a feminist? Of course not!

I’m dressing this way because this is how I want to dress as an individual, not necessarily a female, and I don’t care if men like it or not. I don’t even care if girls like it or not!

I may seem like I’m being dramatic, but if people don’t think deeper into this situation, they may pass up opportunities to take a stand against people who disagree that I should be allowed to dress differently from their view on what a woman should look like.

A situation relating to this topic happened to me recently and even I had a difficult time dealing with it.

I was talking with someone about the recent robberies and how people could protect themselves or make themselves worse off, and this person openly told me that there is a way women dress that makes them seem like they’re asking for whatever happens to them at night. Meaning that if I wear a short skirt and a cleavage-revealing shirt, then it is partially my fault if I get attacked or raped. I was so shocked to hear someone talk like this and then leave the subject so quickly, I didn’t really know what to say at first.

How could this person honestly say that if I’m dressed a certain way, then that must mean I want something to happen to me? They don’t know me, they don’t know what my thought process is for getting ready. Girls, you can dress how ever you want, and so can you guys. So can you individuals who don’t wish to call yourself male or female.

Beside this incident I am constantly being told by individuals I see on the street to smile as I walk down Main Street weekly. And not just in a friendly way.

I’m talking about complete strangers who are almost confused as to why I’m not happy–as if the fact I look nice means I should be smiling all the way down the street to brighten every man’s day.

I’m not the only one either. I’ve spoken with girls who say they’ve been harassed by guys on the street. Nothing too serious, but annoyingly rude encounters that just don’t make sense in 2013.

I’m talking about guys wanting to stop and chat and the girls obviously just want to go about their business, so the men get upset.

Alcohol levels aside, I still don’t understand why this reaction happens. When did the fact that because I’m walking home in heels, or walking to work, qualify me as someone who has to listen to what you have to say?

I mean, I’ll be polite to a point. I’ll smile sometimes, maybe say hello, how are you, if you start talking to me. But please, oh please, stop expecting me to stand there and listen to you chat me up when I’m just trying to go home and go to sleep.

These are not just situations with college guys I’m referring to either here. It’s older men, adult men and yes, college guys (some sober, some not).

Either way, it’s not fair and you cannot defend it.

And this is where this conversation becomes important. There are still so many people out there who really think women have a responsibility to be pretty and act politely for men. Since this is hilariously false, I would like to give you all the courage to go out there and not stand for this kind of treatment.

Obviously this isn’t the worst of the worst cases, but there needs to be a voice for this. Girls shouldn’t be made to feel like they can’t wear what they want because it isn’t what men think is ladylike.

Individuals who may be viewed by society as “female” but who personally feel differently should feel brave enough to dress in whatever way they like.

Yes, I understand that these people need to make the change themselves, but I’m sorry that I’m not sorry, but society, it’s your fault too. You need to catch up.

We’re reaching the point where even the title of genders can hurt people’s feelings, and if you think hard enough, you can understand why. We need to remember that we can never fully know every person’s back story and inner emotional turmoil.

So if you and your guy friends think it’s funny to make fun of someone walking down the street who doesn’t look very ladylike to you, well then maybe it’s because she doesn’t want to look that way, towards you or anybody.

And why does it concern you anyway with the way she dresses? It’s her body and you have your own body image to worry about.

Guys, women don’t owe you anything anymore. Not a smile, not a dance and definitely not their time. In fact, I think you owe it to the ladies to respect their decisions to dress and behave however they wish.

If a girl is interested in you, she will try her best to show it. If she’s not, then let her go on her way. She has her own life to live, full of its own problems, and one of them should not be your attitude towards her outfit. Let’s leave the lady stuff to anyone who feels like a lady, shall we?


Lindsey Arceci can be contacted at 


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