Victims of sexual violence are often blamed for precipitating their own assault with their so-called “provocative” body-revealing style of dress, which is viewed as conveying consent for sexual advances. To explore some of the grounds for this allegation as well as its accurateness, the present study examines the attributions made by both sexes regarding the motivation for women’s sexualized appearance. The factual connection between revealing clothing and actual occurrences of sexual invasions is examined as well. The results demonstrate a gender-based attribution gap wherein men report perceiving the sexualized look as indicating an interest in sex and intent to seduce, whereas women cite their wish to feel and look attractive as its primary cause, while entirely rejecting the seduction claim. This gap is examined in the context of the current widespread sexual objectification of women and the social construction of female beauty in sexual terms, as well as the finding that in reality there is no connection between style of dress and sexual victimization of any sort.
She Dresses to Attract, He Perceives Seduction: A Gender Gap in Attribution of Intent to Women’s Revealing Style of Dress and its Relation to Blaming the Victims of Sexual Violence.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 11(4), 115-127.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol11/iss4/8