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Woman Questions Boyfriend's Request That She 'Dress Modestly' During A Heatwave

Photo: Halay Alex / Shutterstock / Africa Images via Canva Pro / Reddit
woman in a red dress, man upset with head in hand, reddit post

A woman has shared the outrageous request she got from her boyfriend about her choice of clothing and how certain things she wears make him "uncomfortable."

Posting to the subreddit "r/amiwrong" — an online public forum where people can describe a situation and seek opinions on if they were in the wrong — she explained that she didn't quite agree with her boyfriend's strange request for a few reasons.

He wanted her to 'dress modestly' during a heatwave.

In the since-deleted Reddit post that has since been reposted on Twitter, a woman explained that she doesn't quite agree with her boyfriend's sudden request that she wear clothes that cover her body even though they were in the middle of a heatwave.

"My boyfriend thinks it's ok for him to tell me to wear more modest clothing even during the ongoing heatwave, but I told him it was not ok. Am I wrong here?" she began in her post. She claimed that this issue has never been something they've had to deal with before since she dresses modestly regularly.

woman questions her boyfriend's request to dress modestly during a heatwavePhoto: Reddit

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However, due to a heatwave that had been impacting the area she lives in, she's started wearing more dresses and skirts. She pointed out that none of her outfits have bordered on being inappropriate, and she's still mostly covered up.

"I wore an outfit that showed cleavage and apparently it was more than he was comfortable with, so he asked me if that was the outfit, i.e. if I was going to wear something over it," she recalled. Her boyfriend admitted that he wasn't "comfortable" with her wearing a dress that showed so much of her skin, and claimed that it's fine for him to have these thoughts since it's one of his "boundaries."

"He also said that he would be ok with me telling him what he can wear," she continued. "Am I wrong in believing that he shouldn't have a say in what I wear and vice versa?"

Attempting to dictate and control how a woman dresses under the guise of it being a 'boundary' is problematic.

Suggesting that a woman's choice of attire is responsible for a man's discomfort can often be labeled as pushing the blame onto a woman, shifting accountability away from the person who should be responsible for their own actions.

Unfortunately, this woman's situation can be a relatable moment for many other women who may have had to deal with their choice of clothing being blamed for how other men perceive them. This woman's boyfriend also framed his discomfort as being a "boundary," and while setting boundaries in a relationship is healthy, they must be communicated openly, agreed upon mutually, and respect each other's autonomy.

It's impossible to set a boundary for someone else when it comes to how they dress because boundaries are meant to be about your own actions, not others'. 

woman questions her boyfriend's request to dress modestly during a heatwavePhoto: Zamrznuti tonovi / Shutterstock

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Her boyfriend also claimed that he wouldn't have an issue with her telling him what he should and shouldn't wear, but that same request doesn't have the same meaning as him telling her to "dress modestly." While no one should dictate what their partner wears or acts in a relationship, due to the patriarchy and level of power that both men and women hold in this world, the double standard doesn't quite mean the same.

While boundaries are essential, they should be rooted in mutual respect and understanding, not control. 

In the comments section underneath her Reddit post, many people agreed that she wasn't wrong to feel that her boyfriend's request was out of line.

"You are not wrong. You need to make it crystal clear that him policing your clothes is a hard limit. It will not be done. He can choose to grow up or walk away," one Reddit user wrote.

Another user added, "He doesn't get to set a boundary for you, only you can do that. What he is doing is setting a rule and as other commenters are pointing out, that's controlling and red flag territory."

Dictating how someone should dress based on one's discomfort is a practice deeply rooted in gender inequalities, and should have no place in any relationship, romantic or otherwise.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.