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Can I still be a feminist and wear hot pants?

Walking into Target the other night, I couldn’t help but notice a woman from behind that was pushing her cart. The store was kind of busy for 8:30 pm on a Wednesday. This woman was noticeable, because not only was she incredibly attractive, but she had legs to her eye balls and was wearing short shorts that showed just the underside of her butt cheek when she walked. Oh, and she was wearing heels. Because heels with short shorts is a lot sexier than tennis shoes with short shorts, I mean right?

Immediately after noticing this woman pushing her cart, I also noticed two fellas at the front of the store checking her out. Giving her the once over. Kind of leering and even whispering to each other. One can only imagine what they were saying. And who knows, maybe it wasn’t so bad. Who’s to say a bunch of us moms notice a hot guy in the $1 section looking at votive candle holders or lunch bags, we might make remarks how he could eat cookies in our bed…. or something like that. Okay, anyway.  So we’ve got the two guys checking out the chick, and we have the chick wearing short shorts pushing her cart.

You could just see the bottom portion of her butt cheek. Did I mention that?  Just a hint. And let me tell you people, this woman had FABULOUS legs. I mean, slim, tone, smooth, GAYeez. And her butt was just as firm. Of what I saw of it anyway. You’re wondering how I was able to get so much detail. Well, I was staring too!  I wanted to ask her how many lunges she does every day. And yes, I was trying to stare discreetly of course.

Seeing her and seeing those men looking at her, brought up so many different feelings. Part of me wanted to cover her up, run to her with sweat pants and say, ‘don’t you know there are guys leering at you saying all kinds of gross things because of the fact that your ass is hanging out of your pants?’

Then the other part of me wanted to just let her be and high five her for looking so awesome and tell the rest of the guys, whether gentleman or douche, to just deal with it.

What a woman wears is nobody’s business. She can wear what she wants. We don’t require burkas in this country. But it still brought an internal struggle of mine to the surface. Are we liberated enough to wear hot pants? Or should the feminist in me see it as degrading and making women’s bodies an object and want to cover up a woman’s backside? Because feminists wear men’s suits and dress like Annie Hall or turtlenecks like Gloria Steinem. (Stereotypes- just kidding.)

Growing up, especially when I was around 16 and dating, my mom would tell me not to dress to the point of attracting the wrong kind of attention. She shared her observations of when she went to our local magazine store and she would notice the guys in the ‘restricted’ section and felt bad for the women in the magazine knowing these slimy men are leering at them. She’s no prude, but she is old school. I thought of what she said and imagined those men with the comb-overs going home with those magazines. God knows what they did while reading them. Now we have the Internet. Men don’t need to go buy a magazine. But anyways… my point.

I never wanted to pose for Playboy. But if Annie Liebowitz came a knocking and wanted me to sit naked in a vat of Nutella while she took some artsy shots of me, I’d go for it. It’s ANNIE LIEBOWITZ FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

Sexuality and allure come in many different flavors. Some of it’s artsy and some of it’s trashy. But I will try not to judge a woman even if I think her clothes appear sexy trashy. I haven’t walked a mile in her shoes. I don’t know. And is wearing hot pants in Target trashy? Why can’t she wear what she wants? Well, she is, but you know, without me writing a goddamn blog post about it!

If we want to walk around in bikinis we should. This isn’t the Middle East or Amish country. We don’t have a curfew or a dress code. It’s not the woman’s burden to dress discreetly as to not arouse men. Oh here we go again!! Well, I’m just NOT going to go there. If you blame a woman for an unwanted advance based on the length of her skirt, you can fuck off. That’s all I have to say about that topic.

But for our own comfort- our own children- what do we teach is okay? Do we tsk tsk at the short shorts lady in Target, or admire her tone and sleek physique? We want our girls to dress modestly because we don’t want them ogled. But why is it the woman’s job to always button up? Why can’t dressing sexy be empowering as long as it’s tasteful? And isn’t taste in the eye of the beholder?

And let me just say, if this woman was 300 pounds and in Walmart, she would’ve ended up on the People of Walmart’s website in mockery, right? But because she’s 100 pounds we ogle and fantasize? Well, yeah it’s true, we do.

I have no answers. I dress modestly. My 13 year old daughter does too. Sometimes I like to show a little cleavage, a little leg. One day my daughter will too.  I will tell her what my mom told me and ask how she wants to be perceived. She has to dress for herself. Not me, not a fashion magazine, and not any man.

Honestly, all I keep thinking of is that woman didn’t have an ounce of cellulite!




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  1. Great post and insights… I can’t really disagree, because its all reasonable. Can’t help thinking, shouldn’t a grown women (I assume she was over ?25?) value “right time, right place, right audience?” I mean, I might have the legs for a thong and tutu but I wouldn’t waste them on Target, I would feel equally target-sexy in khaki’s and a tank showing off delts of steel and not kinda setting myself up to be judged a hooker. (No judgement, lol) Short shorts with ass out…there really IS no “right” time/place for that? And we can’t expect men not to ogle or be offended they do when we’re clearly inviting it. Hmmm I apparently have more opinions than I originally thought….

    • It’s a lot more complicated than you think when you start peeling away the layers, huh? Time and place, time and place. It’s how I dress, but not everyone does I suppose.

    • Poor lady can dress how she likes, we can like or not, but most importantly, no matter how a lady is dressed or undressed, no one, repeat … no one….dare accost her and blame it on her state of dress…..
      The old ‘asking for it by dressing like thus or so’ is not allowed under any circumstances….Never, never, never…..

  2. Guuurl, you crack me up. I’m more of an Annie Hall dresser but I am always impressed by the scantily dressed crowd.

  3. First, I wish there was a “people of Target” website so that we could all appreciate Ms. Hot Pants.

    I feel like as a dad of three girls, I’ve done a good job of appreciating that they’re pretty like their mom, smart and savvy like her too, and pretty and smart and savvy and great soccer players like … each other.

    I hope they’ll learn that there’s all sorts of means and measures of allure, some physical, some spiritual, some intellectual, but that sometimes a woman just looks great in a pair of hot pants. Or capris. Or fast-food restaurant visor. Or vat of Nutella, whatever.

  4. I loved this. Funny, and dead on! I would have been having the exact same internal conversation. Before I sprinted to the candy aisle and bought myself ten pounds of gummy bears and Twizzlers. To eat on the walk to my car.

  5. Is it wrong that my mind spun off at the thought of all that Nutella?

    This is a very complex subject, and as my 10 year old daughter grows up, I wonder how I’m going to handle her wardrobe choices. I like the idea of making sure we dress appropriately for the situation. I’m definitely leading by example here, but we’ll have to talk more about it as she gets older.

  6. I was just thinking about this when I saw pics of the ladies that are in the Miss America pageant this weekend. Not endorsing anything, but is it so wrong to just want to look that pretty? Thought-provoking post, Frugie!

  7. By rights the equality advocation of feminism will NOT permit women to wear this kind of hotpants,because no man has ever worn such a disgustingly indecent article outside as commonwear;besides feminism purposely denounces men for portraying women in such obscene articles,so dont u think it’s slapping themselves in the face if feminists condoned themselves to dress in such a way?But knowing the feminists of today,they just want respect for free n dont have a single sincerity with standing up for any equality at all,i’d say they’d find all sorts of excuses to justify women dressing this way.I hope women can find within their own morals what is right and dont follow such misguided notions which destroys equality and the very fabric of morals we live upon.
    Having said that,I’m extremely disgusted that,while men are getting more modest n self conscious of their appearance in public,women seem to care less n less.They go out in obscene hotpants even with a boyfriend who is in full longs,not bothering to note if that is a worthy or fair match.They look no better than bargirls latching on rich kids,and yet the boys of today are just so stupid n tasteless that they can accept girls portraying such an image on them n still trouble themselves to dress up impressionably.At work,it’s worse,in a way that company superiors n bosses ignore women who violate the dresscode by wearing in tank tops,miniskirts and flipflops;while the men are still made to wear a collar shirt,long pants n shoes,not to mention a long sleeveed shirt is often needed in interviews for the men.
    Women have achieved the impossible,and its not impossible as in challenge of physical n mental limits,its impossible as in social acceptance,and they have forced upon society to accept what was once socially unacceptable.Others may grudgingly accept but not me;i’d NEVER accept women in hotpants in public,or miniskirt at work,just because i lack authority to oppose it doesnt mean i’d conceded to it.Unless the impossible for men happen,ie if men are allowed to finally wear shorts to officework,then i’d accept women in hotpants in public n miniskirts and tanks at work.

  8. Honestly,from what i’ve read further,i really feel u the author have been poisoned,abeit a little,by the ills of feminism.You tell the men to fuck off if they feel aroused by women this way?Why dont u women fuck back to your own house n keep that indiscretion to yourselves?If thats how u think then DON’T ever complain if men walked about topless in just trunks,or if men in your workplace dont dress ‘up to standard’.I’d tell u to BLOODY FUCK THE HELL OFF.Don’t be such a double standard slut

  9. Paddy Peters says:

    Love your blog, been offline for last 9-10 posts and I laughed and grumbled right along with you through all of them. Love the favorites dupes again! I ask myself the same clothing questions a lot. I can’t help but pass judgement in my very judgey enclave of San Francisco where every other 35-45 year old looks 10 years younger and many wear their teenagers clothes… Ugh. But since my twins 4 years ago I finally spent last 2 years getting into fantastic shape, I kinda want to show off my new ( old) body, constantly triple checking my outfit to make sure it doesn’t make me look pathetic, and getting hubby’s advice. For now I’m going to rock it. Except hot pants! But I don a bikini now 🙂


  1. […] recently wrote about my struggle with seeing the woman wear hot pants, or short-shorts  in Target. I was struggling over the fact that my gut told me she […]