Owning It

I was initially hesitant to get out of the house clad in this outfit. After getting dressed, I had to stay a good 20 minutes in my bedroom, standing in front of the mirror and studying the details of what I was wearing. My mind oscillated between the length of my short shorts and the best transportation method I could get to cover myself and minimize the attention I could receive in these short shorts.

If I had been wearing bottoms at least three inches longer than these cut-offs, I could have dashed out of the house earlier and easily walked the distance to my destination. Wearing these shorts, I felt compelled to book a Grab or Uber ride. As you can tell, staying “safe” and “comfortable” cost me a lot more.

You’d probably ask: why not just switch your shorts with another pair of bottoms you’re “comfortable” in? That would have easily solved it, but nothing—absolutely nothing—about that was right.

For the record, I was only uncomfortable in these short shorts because I was afraid of getting catcalled. Wearing bottoms that were more “comfortable”  meant I was giving in to a society that polices how women should dress, feel, speak, think, and live. It meant I was taking these disgusting and downright unhelpful measures that, asinine as they are, authorities and attackers claim to “help prevent sexual assault.”

Guess what? I’m not buying any of that. At 13, a friend and I were trotting along the streets of Cubao when we got whistled at by bystanders. We were wearing immaculate blue uniforms that dropped a little past our knees, frilly white socks, and standard black doll shoes. Survivors of sexual assault wore clothes of varying shapes and lengths, including hoodies and sweatpants—what would fall under the code of “appropriate clothing”—when they were attacked (see this and this).

“Appropriate clothing” does not prevent sexual assault. Respecting women as real human beings, and not as objects for some predator’s sickening consumption, does. Our bodies are not for anyone’s taking. I’m definitely not the first person to say this, and you can bet I won’t be the last.

So in response to all of that, I decided to wear these shorts. Not to show skin, but to show that I own my body and my fashion decisions. I still booked an Uber ride, because the anxiety doesn’t brush off that easily. But I’m glad I didn’t change out of these shorts for something else.

On a more superficial level, these scalloped shorts are cute AF. I own only two other pairs of denim shorts: one is a pair that I’ve had since high school and is now two sizes too big on me. The other is a pair I’ve had since college, but they’re a little too tight now for my belly to comfortably stick out. These scalloped shorts hugged my waist at all the right places. Plus, that shade of blue complemented my shirt better than the other pairs I own.

Ruffle Top: H&M – Scalloped Shorts: H&M – Lace-up Sandals – SM Parisian – Black Bag – Zalora – Ring Necklace: H&M – Invisible Tassel Earrings (you can’t see them because they’re the color of my hair): H&M

Photos: Joanna Cabangon


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