General Question

troubleinharlem's avatar

Does society dictate what we should do in terms of clothing?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7968 points ) December 17th, 2012

I realize that this question makes no sense whatsoever, and I apologize in advance.

Alright. I wasn’t sure what to title this question because I’m a little confused myself. Recently I had been talking to this guy, and he asked me for a picture of my breasts, which I quickly denied. He said that I denied him because I was “a victim of society”. I was “taught” to be ashamed of my body and not show it off.

I said that it wasn’t really being a victim of society. It was more of a matter of privacy and personal comfort levels, to which he said that “native people walk around without clothes and they don’t wear clothes until missionaries tell them to. Your argument of nature is denied by logic.”

What do you think? Is it just society that tells us what we should do and what is socially acceptable?

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30 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Tell him that if you lived in an area with “native people,” whatever that means, you both would be walking around nude.

He sounds like an idiot, FWIW.

RockerChick14's avatar

I don’t believe in the whole fashion crap and I don’t think we should let anyone tell us how to be but yes it does.

SuperMouse's avatar

His logical argument is based on the fact that he is horny and wants a free peak. Your response to him was perfectly reasonable and more than he deserved. Send that freak a picture and you are liable to end up a victim of his voyeurism and your own naivete when your bare breasts are splattered across the internet for all to see. FWIW, I agree with @gailcalled, he sounds like an idiot. You made the right call refusing to send the photo.

@RockerChick14 did you read the details of the question?

DrBill's avatar

He is right that it is natural, but we don’t live in a place where that is acceptable behavior. He’s just trying to separate you from your clothes. If he truly believed what he was saying he would have been nude when he asked you.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Answer to the main question: yes, of course. Society certainly has an effect (as it does in most things). This is especially obvious in fashion (look at outfits from a few decades ago and see if you can stop yourself from laughing).

Now, whether society affects it and if you should show a guy your breasts if you don’t want to are completely different questions. Does society have an effect on you not wanting to show your breasts? Of course. But it’s also affecting his desire to see them (as @gailcalled said, if you were in a nudist tribe you’d both be naked, so he would hardly care). It’s a ridiculous faux-logic way to get into your pants, and you should take it for what it is: insulting.

Also, as @SuperMouse pointed out though not directly, society’s effect also means that you can expect certain things as a response of showing a nude picture that would not happen in a nudist culture. So to act as if the fact that there are other cultures means that the fact that you’re living in this one is immaterial is just asinine.

Also, I have found that most people that wave “LOGIC!” around like that are usually rather unfamiliar with good logic.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@BhacSsylan : That’s what I was thinking. I know that society has an effect (I mean, obviously, who could deny that?) That’s a good way of saying it: faux-logic. It is insulting, to be honest, and I’m completely stunned. I don’t even know what to say to him.

Unfortunately, he thinks that my silence is him “winning” the discussion.

WestRiverrat's avatar

When I was in Alaska, I visited several native villages that had reverted to native practices. I can assure you none of them ran around naked. In the winter you would freeze to death in seconds, and in the summer time the bugs would eat you alive in minutes.

filmfann's avatar

He just wants a look at your boobs. He will use any argument he can to manipulate you into sending him the pics.
I would never, ever do that, because I have too much respect and love for you. And respect.

chyna's avatar

He is so just tryiing to get a picture of your boobs by trying to act like it is you that has the issues. DO NOT give any pictures of your body to anyone unless you don’t care if it ends up on the internet, facebook, Youtube.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Well, a decent response would just be “well, we don’t live in a nudist colony, so bugger off”. Or something thereabouts.

Or, if you want to spin him around, “to act as if the societal conditioning, vis-a-via expected societal repercussions to such an act, is devoid of meaning as a result of the existence of distinct non-interacting cultural memes is to take far too narrow a view on the complex interpersonal interactions of our parent society.

Also you’re an ass.”

woodcutter's avatar

He thinks you are stupid.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@chyna : Oh gosh, no. I wasn’t even considering it! I like my boobs where they are.
@woodcutter : I think the same of him.

bkcunningham's avatar

You have a bunch of good answers. I just wanted to say hello and it is nice to see you back around here. Merry Christmas, Beautiful!

burntbonez's avatar

Just out of curiosity, how long have you known this fellow?

I wonder how many women he has gotten to show him their breasts, or whether he has had no success and is like a 15 year old boy with more horniness than sense.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@burntbonez : I’d say about four or five months. I doubt he’s gotten any, to be perfectly honest. He’s very socially awkward and stubborn, which makes a really weird combination.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@burntbonez depends on how close to closing it is in the bar that night, and how drunk the women in question. Some women lower their standards at closing time too, so he may have gotten lucky once or twice.

burntbonez's avatar

What is attractive about him? Why have you stayed involved with him for so long? You must like him a bit.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Wow! Some guys will say just about anything to get into a gal’s pants (or, in your case, her shirt).

He asked you to do something that you wouldn’t be comfortable doing. When you declined, that should have been the end of the discussion. Instead, he dismissed your concerns and tried to belittle you into submission.

Please forgive me for asking, but why do you waste your time and efforts on this guy?

Jeruba's avatar

Of course societal standards and customs are a factor, one of many. But that’s almost irrelevant here. What seems relevant to me is that this guy is trying to pressure you into inappropriate behavior that you don’t want to engage in.

Don’t bother to argue with this guy. Who cares if he thinks he’s winning? A winner he’s not. Forget him.

woodcutter's avatar

I bet he says that to all the girls. The sad part is, there will be someone who does what he wants. Why else would he think he is being clever?

lillycoyote's avatar

LOL. The guy just want a picture of your naked boobs, that’s all. I imagine that he sees you as intelligent and educated and thinks this will work. So show him you are intelligent and educated and tell him that you don’t need an anthropology lesson from him on cross-cultural attitudes toward nudity, that he’s completely full of shit, and you’re not sending him naked pictures of yourself… end of story.

JenniferP's avatar

In our culture women cover their breasts. The guy is a perv.

Bellatrix's avatar

Tell him he would be better off forking out some money and buying a copy of National Geographic.

Lots of tit pics in that magazine.

woodcutter's avatar

I betcha if you call him on his BS he will try to act all hurt and dissed that you didn’t take him up on his idea. But beware, that will be his back up plan because he’s not ready to give up. He’ll try to guilt you into believing him as if you are the one who’s being unreasonable. It’s a total mind f&ck if you listen to him. Don’t encourage this guy.

_Whitetigress's avatar

And in his society barbarism is ok.

Anyways you asked: “Does society dictate what we should do in terms of clothing?”

Clothing is a part of communication. It’s instinctive and we give our clothing meaning. But does it dictate me with what I do with clothing? A little bit. For the most part I get to wear whatever I want, but during professional meetings it’s a time to dress up.

Shippy's avatar

Manipulation plain and simple. Hope you ignore him forever.

Cupcake's avatar

Yes, society dictates what we should wear. As you may be “victim” to these societal norms, he is most certainly “victim” of the societal norms of dictating what body parts are arousing.

You have more reasons to cover your body and not send electronic images of your breasts than he has reasons to request/convince you to send them.

Tell him you’re perfectly comfortable sharing photographs of your ear… or your foot. Why insist on breasts?

Tell him he is more of a conformist than you are.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I wouldn’t even be willing to discuss reasons with him. It is really none of his business why you refused, and for that matter, he is lucky he didn’t get his face slapped.

bookish1's avatar

ugh, “native people.” Hooray, primitivism.~ Was this toolbag white by any chance?

This POS is a victim of societal sexism that allows himself to reason that he is perfectly justified in asking for pictures of a random girl’s breasts.

No point trying to reason with a man-child like this.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

I think society can influence individuals who want to fit in and only care about what people think, but in the end it doesn’t dictate what we wear, because we choose what to wear. I sometimes still dress like it’s the 90s with jeans that have holes in the knees and a flannel tied around my waist. Some people seem to stare and perhaps laugh amongst their friends, but I don’t care. I wear what I like and I could care less what society thinks.

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