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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!