What makes clothes appropriate or inappropriate on different body types? Ushna Shah believes it has everything to do with the sexualisation of women.
The actor shared a video from popular TikTok user Tizzyent in which he reacts to a man asking whether a woman's clothes are appropriate. The woman in question is a teacher who is fully covered in jeans and a t-shirt.
Tizzyent responds to the man's asinine question and asks what he means by "is this appropriate for school?"
"Pants? A top that covers everything? That's the issue?" he asks. "Because she has a shape, it's a problem for you? You know God damn well if she was built like Sponge Bob Squarepants no one would have given two sh*ts and no would have taken the picture," he said.
He turned the tables on the man and highlighted how someone took this woman's picture without her consent. "How about we talk about the fact that this woman is trying to educate children and do her job and she has some fool sexualising her? How about we normalise not sexualising a woman for having attributes that we desire? How about that?" he asked.
Shah reposted his video and said if he came to Pakistan, "his head would implode from the sexualisation of women" and she's not wrong. She urged most men to listen to him.
"When my well-endowed female friends wear fitted t-shirts, it’s especially inappropriate. When women with curvy behinds wear fitted jeans it’s especially inappropriate. When my friends with beautiful arms wear sleeveless it’s especially inappropriate," she wrote.
"It isn’t the clothes. It’s the sexualisation of our bodies. If an attribute is attractive to them, it’s inappropriate because the can’t control themselves."
This reminded us of a terrible picture that keeps circulating on the internet about ants and lollipops — you probably know of it. The idea is apparently that men are insects and will swarm the lollipop (woman) if it is uncovered. A truly flattering comparison for everyone involved.
Both Shah and Tizzyent have a point. Our perception of whether clothes are "appropriate" is often coloured by the body wearing those clothes. To make it clear, people rarely have control over what their bodies look like so to judge someone's level of "appropriateness" based on their body doesn't even make sense.
What Shah and Tizzyent are both saying is that often, women are viewed through a lens of attractiveness. Clothes are appropriate or inappropriate depending on how attracted you are to them. We're sexualising women and their bodies whether they're covered up or not, which means men like the one who posted the initial video could find fault in a woman wearing jeans and t-shirt or even someone wearing a hijab because they're looking at these women solely as sexual beings.
How about we leave women alone and let them wear what they want without sexualising every aspect of their being? Let women wear what they want without worrying about random men taking pictures of them and then posting that on the internet to "discuss" how appropriate their clothes are.