Why Dressing Skimpily Attracts Bad Men

I used to think women should be able to dress however they wanted without attracting unwanted male attention — or attention from bad men who will take advantage of them. It was up to men to control themselves, I thought, and the responsibility shouldn’t be on women to change how they dress. Society — men in particular — needed to change.

By Julie Mastrine3 min read
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Shutterstock/Roman Samborskyi

I would often get angry when a man took a woman’s skimpy attire as a sign she wanted attention. I thought women should be totally free to dress as revealingly as they want, and men should be the ones to control themselves. 

But as I got older, I realized that this line of thinking was very one-sided. While it’s true that men ought to control themselves sexually, there will always be bad men out there who don’t — men who are looking for cheap, easy access to sex. Women bear some responsibility for making sure they control the way they dress so that it communicates they’re selective and repels bad men. This way, we won’t attract bad men who are looking for an easy lay.

A Skimpy Outfit Signals He Doesn’t Have To Put in Work

Women are physically alluring, and men are hardwired to be sexually aroused visually. When a man sees a woman in a revealing outfit, he gets the message that she’s not very selective and will require less for him to have sex with her. For a man who wants all of the reward for none of the work, a skimpy outfit is a welcome signal!

How you dress conveys a lot about your mindset and determines the type of man you will attract.

Fashion is communicative. How you dress conveys a lot about your mindset and determines the type of man you will attract. Classy dress communicates a woman respects her body and is selective about who gets access to it; a skimpy outfit communicates that she isn’t — her body is for everyone to enjoy. 

Look at the difference between these two options. One gives the impression of sexual promiscuity, the other of class and romance:

Women Bear Some Responsibility

A lot of women think they should be able to dress revealingly, then complain when bad men give them unwanted attention. There’s a belief that women should bear no responsibility for the interaction. But women are alluring, and men do react to us based on how we dress. It’s up to us to anticipate this and account for it. If a woman provides access to her most intimate body parts visually, of course some men will think she would let them have access to her sexually. We communicate where our boundaries lie through how we present ourselves.

We’ll never create a utopia where there are no men who seek cheap and easy sex. 

As my friend Rachel pointed out on Twitter, we see plenty of women who knowingly put out a lure via skimpy dress and garner attention, but then become offended, disgusted, or hurt when a man they don't like gives them attention or makes a move. The appropriate feminine reactions to male attention are to either reciprocate the attention, or to kindly or jokingly decline. Mocking men or acting disgusted that they noticed your allure is the toxic feminine. 

There Will Always Be Bad Men

There will never be a shortage of bad men who want to do the least amount of work possible in order to get sex. In fact, they’re hardwired for it. Good men control this urge, holding themselves to a higher standard and committing to someone before they get physical. But a skimpy outfit tells bad men they hit the jackpot. 

Feminists often imagine women will be happier when we’re free from having to anticipate attention from bad men and can just dress however we want. But if we accept that women are naturally alluring and bad men will always exist, we can stop fighting reality, and actually learn to harness the power of female beauty to attract good men

The men we really want to be with are going to be put off by women who dress really skimpy. 

The men we really want to be with are going to be put off by women who dress really skimpy. That’s because a committed man wants a woman who is committed, too. We’ll never create a utopia where there are no men who seek cheap and easy sex. As women, we can choose outfits that account for this reality while showing we’re selective and have standards — and attract good men as a result.

Being Alluring Doesn’t Have To Mean Being Trashy 

Contrary to the message we get from modern-day feminists, women actually have a lot of power — especially when it comes to the type of man we attract. Female beauty and sexuality will always draw attention, and it can be harnessed the right way. 

Erring on the side of classy, classy dress communicates you have high standards, are selective, and are interested in commitment. Being classy doesn’t mean you can’t still be sexy and attractive, either.

There are plenty of ways for women to dress classily while still looking feminine, sensual, and appealing. Instead of choosing nipple pasties, mesh stockings, and bondage gear (clothing I saw a lot when I spent time in the music festival scene!), we can choose clean-cut skirts, sweetheart tops, skater dresses, maxi skirts, and other clothing that is appealing and sensual, yet shows we’re selective and commanding respect:

When your outfit says “only high-quality men need apply,” you’ll be less bothered by men who are not serious and are just looking for an easy lay.

Closing Thoughts

Feminists who insist women should be able to dress skimpily and receive no attention from bad men are only looking at one side of the equation. They ignore that women are naturally alluring and that there are always going to be men out there who will want access to cheap sex, and see revealing clothing as a signal they can get it. If women account for this in the way we dress, we can wield female allure appropriately — attracting good men who will respect us.