This kind of photo needs no explanation, right? Well, it needs a lot of explanation, but the message is clear. The shorter your skirt, the more sexually accessible you’re perceived to be.
Except that isn’t often the case.
I recently read an article about Parisian style that claimed that French women didn’t wear short skirts. Supposedly, they preferred conservative lengths that hit at the knee. When I lived in Paris, however, the opposite was the case. Even in winter, most of the skirts that I saw in stores were short, and would in fact be considered too short for professional women in the U.S.
The attitudes of some of my male friends confirm these suspicions. When I was in graduate school, a male friend of mine in law school was appalled that his famous female law professor wore mini-skirts, with tights and boots no less. It was too “sexual” for a woman her age, and he thought it “gross.”
When I was in Paris, however, women of all ages wore short skirts. It didn’t feel like they were wearing anything too revealing, because the style was so common, and because people didn’t gawk. In fact, women biked around the city in mini-skirts, hopping on and off their seats without any problems. Sure, their underwear might have been visible if you were looking hard, but nobody was. People generally seemed more comfortable with bodies. It’s something that I miss in the U.S. when I hear women being sexually triaged by how much leg they’re showing.