Gender Hypocrisy and Wearing a Short Skirt on a Bus

Gender Hypocrisy and Wearing a Short Skirt on a Bus
| Feminism > UK Feminism

Just when you thought you wouldn’t have to worry about feminism today, along comes a bit of hypocrisy on a bus…

Standing up to alight from the bus this afternoon I found myself subtly pausing my IPod to listen in on an older woman’s conversation. I usually jam in my earphones on public transportation so I can pretend I’m somewhere different and pleasant, but this time I listened because… the conversation was about me.

To this day I consider my outfit to have been fairly casual; a t-shirt, skirt, opaque leggings and combat boots. While my skirt was no micro-mini, being six foot tall generally equates to anything above knee length seeming proportionately… leggy.

“It doesn’t leave much to the imagination does it? Is it a skirt?” She loudly asked her male comrade. “I only ever wore skirts knee length or longer at that age.” (In case you’re wondering, I’m 19 and look 21 to most, so no, I didn’t need parental approval to leave the house of a morning.)

Think you have a right to wear what you like on a bus without condemnation? Please, girlfriend. Make like Annie Wilkes and recognise yourself to be a DIRTY SLUTTISH PIECE OF FILTH. AND YOU GOT DIRTY PILLOWS.

Furious, I span my head around, wanting to highlight to her that I was aware of her gossipmongering. She did a good job of ignoring my head shaking/irate noise combo and continued. Desperate to inform her in sarcasm-laden tones that I’m glad my skirt length had provided her with an ample topic for conversation, I bit my tongue, suspecting it would only escalate into a more angry exchange.

Scanning the bus I noticed a young man, probably a university student, sporting a t-shirt with a naked woman on the front, her nipples scarcely concealed by a thin strand of hair. She had no head.

After spotting a growing number of young ‘trendy’ males advertising faceless naked women proudly on their t-shirts, I pondered why it’s acceptable for adolescent males to have that plastered on their shirts, totally unscathed (if anything the disgust would be aimed at the model – boy will be boys but ‘real’ women should keep their clothes on, right?), and yet it’s also acceptable to loudly analyse a young woman’s skirt length on a public bus, and thusly make worthless assumptions about her character.

Would that woman have said anything about the boy’s shirt to his face? I doubt it. Would she make a comment on his disrespect for women and tasteless clothing choice, or about the woman displayed on the shirt? I know where my money is going…

Speaking of harrassment on public transport, what’s more morally unacceptable? Wearing a short skirt or taking a stealth photo of it, hmm?

So why is it okay for a woman’s predominantly naked body to be clearly depicted on a male’s t-shirt, but a mere glimpse of the real thing is met with shocked judgement and public harassment?

My guess is it’s because I have a face.

A picture of a bus. Sometimes women sit on these with skirts hemmed above the knee. Scandalous.

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