dressing to “wow”

Ynez Sines is an overnight celebrity. Others have traveled similar paths to sensational success, like Kim Kardashian, a darling of reality TV. Her body hugging fashions with plunging necklines accentuate her natural assets, which include a gorgeous face. These days, such apparel seems the style of choice for reality TV divas. Picture the women of the “Housewives of…” shows, “Jerseylicious,” “Bethenny Gettin’ Married?,” “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” the “Batchelor,” and  “Batchelorette.” So why the uproar over Sines?

Women dressing to attract men probably began with our prehistoric ancestors. Like their contemporary counterparts, cave women needed an edge over the competition. Capturing the strongest cave man was essential to keeping  food on the table. But we’ve come a long way in dressing for survival, to dressing for the WOW factor. Where a woman might have narrowed her audience to a handful of men, she now wants to impress every man who sees her. And that can range from a roomful to a worldful, of men. Grabbing the attention of the competition is an added bonus. Maybe the media’s coverage of “red carpet” events has contributed to our narcissism.

We have increasingly turned our focus toward better health, including a better body image. Efforts to eliminate anorexia and bulimia are ongoing, as is obesity. On one hand we are attempting to regain control over our bodies so we can live our best lives; on the other hand, we continue to worship celebrities and models for their rocking, good looks and hip, hot fashions. It seems like an oxymoron to be striving for self-acceptance, while remaining shackled to our desire to look like someone on a magazine cover or a TV show. It’s as convoluted as trying to save in this economy, while trying to spend our way out of a recession. It’s a struggle, but it can be done. I guess.

Sines is neither a reality TV diva, nor a red carpet regular; she works in an all male environment which, for the most part, revels in grunge and sweat. So why the need for body hugging styles and plunging necklines as a 9-year-veteran, professional sportscaster? Her response? That’s how she’s always dressed, and she’s not making any changes to her wardrobe. So why twitter that she was “embarrassed and uncomfortable?” It’s like “wanting her cake and eating it too.” So what’s wrong with that? Don’t we buy a cake to eat it?

I’m guilty of having worn hot pants in the day, even in Guadalajara in the early 70’s when I was a summer program student at a local college. I dressed provocatively to captivate my husband when we were dating. Obviously my tactics worked, 40 years later we’re still celebrating marriage. But I’m almost certain I wouldn’t have dressed to provoke unwanted cat calls from football players, of any ethnicity. I think it would be similar to walking past construction workers in tight jeans and blouse. 

I’m not averse to athletes, having dated the captain of the football and basketball teams in high school. It just seems that their attention would naturally be drawn to the human body, since playing sports involves their bodies. Being in a locker room is probably like being in a frat house, with behavior bordering on bawdy. I wouldn’t want to witness what goes on, but that’s my choice. According to journalist Cokie Roberts on GMA this morning, Sines presence in locker rooms is part of her job as a sports reporter.

The stand-off between Sines and athletes in locker rooms is being addressed by the NFL, and in the court of public opinion. I don’t think we’re looking for a winner; I think we’re looking for both sides to be accommodating, going forward. The best scenario would be if Sines modified her professional dress, and the players were more respectful in the presence of female reporters. Whether that happens or not, is for both sides to decide. Of course the resolution will impact the female-male professional relationship, beyond the locker room. Miniscule, small, medium or large, change is already underway. Eyebrows have been raised, so there’s no going back.

accommodating change, for the better…hugmamma.

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attractive, or irresponsible?

Ynez Sines, the Mexican sports reporter in the midst of an NFL investigation into sexual harassment charges leveled against members of the NY Jets football team, claims she is only a “witness” to the events which occurred in the locker room. Essentially, her tight jeans and white, button-down blouse provoked comments by some players. Having been within earshot, Sines twittered that she was very embarrassed and uncomfortable. Yet she explained on ” Good Morning America” and the “Today Show,” that she didn’t want the situation to become the brouhaha that it has. But now that it has, she is content to leave the matter in the hands of the NFL. Will she rethink how she dresses on the job? No, she wants to remain true to herself, dressing as she pleases.

Sines is entitled to live her life as she wishes. She’s chosen to be a sportscaster, with access to the men’s locker rooms. She’s obviously aware what presses mens’ “buttons,” athletes being no exception. That their testosterone levels are “through the roof” after exiting a game like Roman gladiators of old, should be no surprise. Being the sole woman in an atmosphere heavily laden with male hormones running wild, requires Sines have the impenetrable skin of an armadillo or a rhinoceros. Judging from her appearance, she bears no resemblance to either. She looks more like a fawn, vulnerable.

Many years ago when my daughter was still a student at a performing arts conservatory, my husband and I accompanied a group of young dancers to a dance festival in Utah. Looking forward to the trip with excitement, the teenage girls made plans including what to wear. Twelve years ago, the dress code on airplanes was not as relaxed as it is today. (But definitely more relaxed than a decade earlier.) So my daughter’s announcement that a couple of the 13 and 14 year olds planned to wear short shorts upon take-off, garnered our disapproval.

I explained that the girls would receive unwanted attention from men, whose leering glances would undoubtedly follow the youngsters sashaying their way down the aisle of the aircraft. I’m sure they would have approved if the looks came from attractive boys, but men in business suits? Picturing it, my daughter felt the image was a yucky thought. The dancer who initiated the trip’s provocative dress code eventually left the conservatory, and enrolled in a public school where she was in and out of relationships, seemingly in search of love and security. We were happy to recently learn that she is settled, enjoying marriage and motherhood.

I agree that women should do what they want to do. But I think it wise to consider the realities of life when making choices. If Sines were my daughter, I would be concerned for her safety. Dressing to look beautiful, her explanation, will draw attention, good and bad. Men shouldn’t “cross the line,” but who’s going to stop them? Rapes are reported in the news with regularity. Something snaps in a rapist’s mind, he victimizes a woman, killing her to eradicate his crime, knowing that if he’s caught he’ll most likely serve a life sentence. While that can end life as he knows it, he’s still alive and cared for, until he dies. Unfortunately his victim is gone forever. I wouldn’t want that for Sines. I wouldn’t want that for anyone’s daughter.

A woman can, and should, fight for her rights. I just think she should choose her battles, and life, so she can continue to be an activist for women’s rights.

the right choice, hugs for…hugmamma.