I was riding over to the Sidelines office tonight and listening to 107.5 The River. Every night they play an advice DJ named Dawson McAllister. I’ve heard his show – DM Late Nights – many times and I have to say that he is one of the most judgemental and narrow-minded people I’ve ever heard give advice.
I’m sure Mr. McAllister only wants to help kids. I’m sure he’s a very nice person. I’m sure he really thinks about what he says to these kids and the thousands of others that listen – but he should think a little harder.
Tonight, he made a comment that particularly made my skin crawl. One of his male callers asked him: why do girls dress so provocatively and then complain about unwanted attention. He made a dismissive comment, then followed up with, “You get what you advertise.”
Excuse me Dawson? “You get what you advertise?”
This is one of the fundamental problems in our society – the notion that women (and men) dress to attract attention. When a woman wears too much makeup, a tight shirt or a shorter skirt, why does she deserve unwanted attention. What are you implying that she is advertising?
One of the oldest witch-hunt tactics in rape cases is that the woman “asked” for it because of what she was wearing or how she was acting. But maybe they got what they advertised – right Dawson?
What McAllister should have said was fashion is for the wearer. Women and men should dress for themselves – for what makes them happy, comfortable and/or confident. A woman should never be afraid to show as much (or as little) cleavage, leg, shoulder, back or any part of her body that she wants. The same applies to men. We should be able to do this without fear of ramifications in the form of unwanted advances, catcalls or physical assault.
No, I am not advocating that we run around naked. Nudity is something, unfortunately, dictated by social norms, and as it stands, it is socially unacceptable (unless in designated areas). But this isn’t a discussion about nudity, it’s a discussion about the freedom to express ourselves with fashion and not be confronted with hostile and/or violent consequences.
But it’s comments like Dawson’s that creates an atmosphere of fear and an acceptance for people to discriminate based on what others wear. Shame Dawson McAllister, you are supposed to be teaching kids how to be strong – part of which is being confident and not feeling like they deserve unwanted attention for any reason (including how they dress).