Outdated notions of women and attire

Mr Benjamin Sim Buke Huang's letter ("Mind how we dress in public"; last Saturday) appears to focus on the victim's attire, giving the impression that she is to blame because of her choice of clothing.

Mr Sim said there is a "good case" for today's parents to relook how adolescent girls and women should dress in public, just like how parents in the past told their daughters not to wear hot pants or shorts in public.

These are old ways that are no longer applicable to today's society. The fact that he referred to the "kampung days" shows how outdated it is to police women's attire in this day and age.

People should have the freedom to wear what they want, without fear of judgment or even assault from others.

Modesty is defined by one dictionary as "the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention". Such a concept pressures women to behave and dress "appropriately", while men rarely have such rules imposed on them.

These discriminatory and archaic mindsets should not be applied to today's society.

It is important to highlight that there is no justification for sexual assault, no matter what a person wears or does.

Mr Sim mentioned that women wear shorts to many places, even to places of worship.

But in Singapore, most people - including men - do so because of the warm weather, and there is nothing wrong with wearing something that they are comfortable in. The choice of attire should not be misinterpreted as disrespect.

Ultimately, it is imperative to understand that what we wear is our decision to make.

Claire Teo Jing Qi, 16, Secondary 4 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'Outdated notions of women and attire'. Print Edition | Subscribe