Why this ‘provocative’ tennis outfit made you angry exposed

If this photo makes you uncomfortable, you might want to stop and ask yourself: Why?

The snap shows a young woman wearing a white sports crop with a matching tennis skirt that she purchased from popular athletics brand Lululemon.

But after sharing a photo of her wearing it online, she was quickly met with a barrage of complaints, many stating the ensemble was “inappropriate” for a swanky tennis club and demanding she “cover up”.

“You’re showing too much skin,” one reasoned.

“Put a polo shirt on, this isn’t suitable for a country club,” another advised.

But is wearing a skirt and crop top really “inappropriate” in 2023? Or is there another reason why the sight of a woman in an outfit designed for physical activity is making so many people squirm?

Many argued the all-white ensemble wasn’t modest enough for others attending the tennis club, instructing her to change to “more conservative attire”.

Others stressed showing midriff and cleavage was against “dress codes” of establishments for the wealthy.

But research suggests women who dress provocatively are judged negatively by others due to false perceptions of promiscuity.

A 2022 study that looked at why women were often disparaged from wearing “revealing” clothing found females who ditched modest expectations were often deemed to have negative traits and behaviours.

Earlier research published by the National Library of Medicine also found that both men and women perceived sexualised women as lacking in certain human qualities such as mental capacity and moral status.

“Women who are objectified are viewed as less than fully human, perceived to have less of a mind for thoughts or decisions and viewed as less deserving of moral treatment by others,” the 2019 report found.

“This denial of mental capacity and moral status has been found to have negative repercussions for objectified women, including increasing men’s willingness to commit sexually aggressive actions towards them.”

This could explain some of the more aggressive comments on the Reddit post, which saw some describe the woman’s outfit as “embarrassing” and a “dress code violation”.

“Definitely too revealing! I worked at a private country club and this outfit would not be appropriate. You need to dress more conservative,” one lamented.

“Just the suggestion of this is embarrassing. This isn’t an Instagram shoot with a country club theme. There will be actual tennis, and a nice seated lunch with older, fairly conservative folks,” another raged.

As one wrote: “Do not wear that. It’s a violation of most dress codes and plain embarrassing.”

Sadly it’s one of many recent examples of women being publicly criticised for what they are wearing.

Melbourne woman Olivia Burrows Sutherland was chastised for wearing a crop top with a tiered maxi skirt to a friend’s wedding in March.

Despite being in “love” with her outfit, many flooded Olivia’s comment section with unsolicited feedback, claiming the strapless top was “not wedding suitable” and described the ensemble as “inappropriate”.

New data also shows Australians have strong opinions on where a woman can wear her bikini after it was revealed 73 per cent of us believe those wearing an itsy-bitsy two piece shouldn’t wander far from the beach.

The eye-opening stats, obtained by news.com.au’s The Great Aussie Debate, suggest we’ve got a long way to go until social norms relax for women – though 27 per cent of Aussies argued people should be able to wear their togs anywhere they’d like.

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