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From Our Readers: To All the Girls Who Love Dressing Up
Because no one can tell you what you can or cannot wear.
PHOTO Nadine Lustre | instagram.com/nadzlustre ART Clare Magno

As Filipinas, most of us were raised in a country where girls are taught to be modest and reserved. We were brought up being told to wear clothes that show little or no skin at all. However, today, it is nice to think that girls have the confidence to "wear themselves" when it comes to clothing. But just like in all stories, there are always be villains along the way. In this case, girls who like to show a little more skin than usual are often shamed and called names because of being "not conservative" and "having no respect for themselves".

To all the girls who have been shamed because of the way you dress, know that there is absolutely no shame in wearing what you love. If you love that off-shoulder top you've been passing by the boutique every day on your way home after school, don't be afraid to wear it and show off your beautiful shoulders. If you have been lacking sleep just thinking about that cute mini skirt you saw online, don't be afraid to wear it and boast of your legs.

It is a fact that we girls actually dress for ourselves. Not for boys, or for the people around us to judge, but solely for the pleasure of our own, free selves. It is not true that women give men motive whenever they dress sexy. Often, girls who are sexually harassed are not given the support that they need because people think they "deserved it" for wearing something that's "inappropriate."

People, please keep in mind that girls can wear whatever they like—even a swimsuit in the middle of December—and boys who are mature enough to understand will not take that as a sexual invitation.

So to all the girls who love dressing up, the next time you feel like wearing something that's lower than the average neckline or shorter than the usual hem, don't be afraid of doing so. After all, you are not the one who is losing respect for yourself; it's the people who shame you for it who are forgetting to respect your right to decide for yourself. Remember that the final verdict about respect for one's self does not lie in the hands of anyone else but you.

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