The #MeToo movement has sparked a revolution. It has forced us to start a dialogue about how we treat each other. This question puts the focus squarely on men's behaviour towards women, particularly women in the workplace. This movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault has also caused women to stop and reflect about the clothes they choose to wear at work.
Fashion designers are also taking note and are aware of the shift in mood. Dresses that used to be described as "sexy" are now being re-labelled"empowering". This begs the question, will the #MeToo movement embolden women to be freer to choose what they want to wear, even if that means showing a bit of extra skin or will it make women more conscious and careful with their outfits?
In an article by a news portal, Bella Pollen, a former fashion designer, reflects about a time when the fashion for women in the workplace was celebrated. Working women took pride in their clothes that were designed specifically for them to feel powerful and confident. Our style of dressing is an expression of our identity, but the hashtag activism has had an effect on whether we perceive the clothes to be a reflection of empowerment or something untoward.
Since the movement began nearly 18 months ago, women around the world have come out to share their experiences of being treated like an object instead of a person. These revelations had caused a lot of women these days,especially those just starting out in their careers, to worry about not being taken seriously. They want to be safe and wear clothes that show just the right amount of personality that will make them look professional.
"Intellectually, I know that men who are going to offend, will offend no matter, but I intend to minimise my odds," Natalie, a criminal psychology student who will soon be starting a job, told a news portal. However, this is not the notion for all women as some are taking a different approach. “I have friends who have decided to dress as provocatively as possible to prove a point. First, because they believe they have the right, but also because they believe that, post-#MeToo, nothing bad should happen to them,” Alessandra, who is studying marketing and fashion, told a news portal.
Whatever your stance, Bella points out an offensive nature has nothing to do with clothes. "Harassment in the workplace isn’t about dress, any more than rape is about sex. Both are about the raw power that men have over women whether through leverage, rank, muscle or simply the savage entitlement that comes from a long history of subjugation," she stated in a news portal.
While the movement's lasting repercussions on what women choose to wear to work is yet to be seen, Bella states women hold the power in making their own success in the workplace. "Women, the ones who buy the clothes, will determine whether they are successful. And that gives us our power. Hold our ground and we’ll get what we want: to feel both comfortable in our own skin and comfortable – and safe – in the clothes we choose, " she stated in a news portal.