Tricks or Treats

“If you can see her butt cheeks when she stands up and you can see the outline of her nipples through her shirt, then she’s doing too much,” said Roger Collins, 19, a sophomore political science student from Atlanta, Ga.

Collins said women who parade around in skimpy outfits eliminate the challenge of any romantic courtship because if a man has already seen a woman basically naked, then there is nothing else to work toward.

Sharon Ames-Dennard, a clinical psychologist, said the women who men are attracted to are a reflection of how they were raised.

“It all goes back to home training and young men with proper home training are looking for a woman just like their mothers,” Dennard said.

Troy D. Lewis II, a member of Progressive Black Men, said a woman whose attire leaves little to the imagination is not the type of woman he would “take home to mom,” but he takes a progressive approach and puts judgment aside to learn more about her.

“A scantily dressed woman will attract a guy with ill intentions,” said Lewis, 21, a junior business administration student from Jacksonville. “But I would talk to her only to find out why she is dressed like that and I would try to help her if it’s a problem with her self-esteem or a lack of attention.”

Collins said he dated provocatively dressed women in high school but now that he is in college and looking to settle down, he tries not to associate with women who barely covers up themselves.

For many men, what a woman has on is an extension of her character. Collins said the “uniform” is what determines whether a woman will be approached by a gentleman or forced to endure an unrelenting barrage of whistles, barks and tactless references to her figure.

“If I was dressed up as a police officer, and someone was getting robbed and saw me, they would call for help,” Collins said. “So if a girl is dressed as a ho, how can they get mad if guys are calling them all sorts of names to get their attention?”

According to Dennard, as a whole, black women in 2003 have a standard of dress that is demoralizing, degrading and ultimately “unfeminine.” In a book she is currently working on that deals with black women’s issues, she said this state of fashion comes from “emptiness,” which is a lack of self-understanding and an inability to communicate from within so external appearance is accentuated.

“Women who have their breasts hanging out have a desire to access male energy,” Dennard said. “It is first necessary for women to recognize the need for help and then act accordingly whether it is receiving therapeutic help, counseling or attending women’s retreats.”