What’s your first reaction when you see a woman with her cleavage game on 10 in a pair of “jean panties” like the ones Kimbella wore on the season premiere of Love and Hip Hop? Chances are it’s not: I want to be her friend.
In a recent article on Jezebel, professor Hugo Schwyzer talked about a saying he uses to describe the relationship dynamic between females on the college campus where he teaches: “sisterhood is easier in the winter.” He said he’s actually noticed that during cold months when women are bundled up in sweaters and jeans there’s less hostility between females than in the warmer months where those students are more likely to murmur comments like, “This is school, not a nightclub,” when co-eds bounce into class in more revealing apparel.
Schwyzer’s theory was confirmed in a recent study in the journal, Aggressive Behavior, which found that when a conservatively dressed woman entered a room, females didn’t notice her, but when a woman walked in like she was auditioning to be on the cover of the next men’s magazine, there was a marked increase in hostility, and women reported they would be less likely to consider befriending her. The authors say the reason is that women who appear sexually available are not perceived as ‘‘safe” friends—basically, they’ll sleep with your man the minute you turn your back.
Schwyzer says the fact that women would stay away from certain females because they are seen as a threat to their relationships is problematic because women aren’t placing any expectations of sexual responsibility on their partners; rather they are policing other women’s sexuality. Schwyzer calls this the “myth of male weakness,” and while I agree that women shouldn’t try to control other women as negative outside influences on their relationship, I don’t think you need to necessarily invite a scantily clad woman into your home to flaunt her business in front of your man. Even if she isn’t promiscuous, men are still visual and there’s no need to dangle a carrot right in front of his face.
I think a better question about female friendships is why women place more stock in building or maintaining relationships with men than women, and are these same “befriending” trends seen among single women who aren’t worried about their man being stolen by a woman in revealing clothes?
Are you hostile toward women who dress revealing? Is it because you perceive them as a threat to your relationship or do you just think it’s inappropriate? Do you notice that you get along better with women when they’re more covered up?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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