short skirt

The short skirt game: real or fake?

EVEN AFTER 14 years of marriage and two daughters, I have not quite grasped all the complications of women. I don’t feel bad, though. Most men go to their graves without understanding what makes females tick. But I’m different from those guys, because I’m willing to admit it. I’ll even go one step further. I’ll turn to my female readers and ask for help.

Help me understand the short skirt

[blocktext align=”right”]Are women who spend all day tugging at their short skirts actually trying to call attention to them? We just want the truth.[/blocktext]

I’m not trying to be mean here. I’m not even trying to tell women what to wear. I am, however, trying to understand something that has confused me for years.

Why do some women wear tiny skirts or shorts and spend all day trying to adjust them? Why not just wear something that fits the way you want it to fit and forget about it? If you want it really short, then go for what you know, but if you think your skirt is too short, why wear it in the first place? I mean, wearing clothes you think are too small is awkward enough, but pulling at your skirt while you’re walking just draws more attention to the fact that it’s too little. Unless …

Is the short skirt a game?

Could it be that women who spend all day tugging at those short skirts are actually trying to call attention to them?

Have we men been duped into believing the too-short skirt thing is an accident? Is it all an act to make us believe your clothes are too little, but you didn’t do it on purpose? Are we to believe it’s all one big misunderstanding?

Please help me to understand this phenomenon. Do women mean it when they try to pull their too-short clothing into place, or is it a carefully orchestrated con game? Inquiring minds want to know.

Featured photo © Canstock Photo

solomon thumbnailSolomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Click here to learn more about Solomon


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Aphrodite Brown

Mr. Jones I am disappointed. I am disturbed that this topic entered your consciousness and that your judgment landed on the side that this was an acceptable topic for discussion.

A woman’s clothing decision should not be up for pontification period.

On more than one occasion in your lifetime I am sure you’ve worn a shoe, that became untied and you knelt to tie it. Are we to believe that you deliberately wore a shoe, with laces, with the plan in your head that it would untie and you would kneel so that those who watched you kneel would ogle your butt?

Clothes move when a person moves. Adjustments need to me made even if the clothing is well fitting at the outset. Over the years I am sure you’ve adjusted a tie, or shirt sleeves, or the crotch of your suit pants.

My inquiring mind wishes to know how you possibly thought this blog was a good idea.

Solomon Jones

I was curious so I asked the question after years of observation. If you go to Facebook you’ll find that many women and men had the same question once I raised the issue, so if you’re suggesting the question is somehow sexist, I beg to differ. I’m asking this clothing question about (some) women this week, and next week (or before) I will be asking about a particular clothing pet peeve I’ve observed with (some) men. I am an equal opportunity questioner.

Regarding adjusting a tie or a shoe, that’s a little different than having your butt hanging out (and again, I have the same question for men). I also state quite clearly that I’m not telling women what to wear. I am simply asking a question because I really want to know.

Aphrodite Brown

Is it different? They are articles of clothing that require adjustment when being worn.

Yet, the question is not asked did you wear that tie to call attention to yourself, or those shoes to call attention to yourself.

This question is sexist, even if that was not the intent of the author. To ask if it is a game to call attention to a woman’s body, supports the objectification of women. A woman is more than her short skirt, a woman is more than her outfit, and questioning the point of either is an exercise in misogyny.

Questioning the length of a skirt is looking for an excuse to justify a categorization (she’s a ho) or an action (she must be looking for something) and it is not appropriate.

I don’t think that was your intention, yet intention and results are not always compatible to the same result.

Solomon Jones

If you believe it’s sexist to ask that question, that’s your opinion and you’re certainly entitled to it, but I obviously have a different opinion. I also think the whole “looking for an excuse to justify a categorization (she’s a ho)” statement is a big leap. Where did I call anybody a ho?

Further, I don’t think it’s cool to tell someone what they should think, feel or ask. I asked a question and you expressed your opinion, which I disagree with (as do many sisters who I’m sure will weigh in soon). You still my peeps, but we’re on different sides on this one.

I think we sometimes get so hypersensitive with racism, or sexism, or whatever the “ism” of the day happens to be, that we can’t even have real conversations anymore. We’re going to have real conversations here. It’s a safe place to do so. That’s one of the reasons I have the site.

Aphrodite Brown

Mr. Jones, you are my peeps as well. I have supported, followed and respected your work for quite some time. You are one of my idols, and remain such. This topic though is sexist.

This is absolutely a safe place to express an opinion, and I thank you for allowing me to voice mine.

I think this should be a part of a “real” conversation. Pointing out the things in our society that further disparate treatment is real conversation.

My statement about categorization and action was to point out that the length of a woman’s skirt leads to those actions. It was not an accusation of your personal thoughts, or activities, but a light on how the question affects our surroundings.

I am sure there are women who will disagree with what I’ve shared, but the reality is that women have the ability to further sexism just as much as men, and we often do.

Solomon Jones

Okay. Thanks, as always, for supporting my work and for commenting. Please keep chiming in. We need your voice in the discussion.

Catherine DePino

Being who you are (and I could tell even though I only met you once in your seminar at PWC). I certainly don’t believe you had an sexist intentions when you posted this. I’d simply like to say that women who wear these skirts feel that they look stylish (in some cases, that’s true). However, it isn’t always easy to keep them in place; hence, the tugging. I think it’s better to wear something that doesn’t take so much wiggling and gyrating to keep it in place. I wear both short and medium length skirts, but if I feel it’s more trouble than it’s worth, I’ll send the item to Goodwill. I just want to be comfortable. Good article. I enjoyed it.

Solomon Jones

Thanks Catherine.


“Is it different? They are articles of clothing that require adjustment when being worn.”
That’s a very childish interpretation. Might as well ask “is there a difference between lingerie and work boots?” One is made to attract sexual attention; the other is made to serve a utilitarian purpose. Women (and men) are certainly more than what they wear, but both genders wear certain clothing to attract attention form the opposite sex. That’s not misogyny. That’s nature.

Lisa Balthaser

LOL! I am going to attempt this one, even though I may get backlash. While some women do wear skirts that are WAY too short to begin with, women who wear (appropriately) short skirts more than likely have this issue: The skirt DOES fit. It looks great when one is standing still. However, the movement of walking causes the skirt to ride up – especially of the material is the clingy type. Hence, the necessity to be constantly adjusting. This same movement of just walking also causes the skirt to move to one side (this is usually the side one carries a handbag or tote on). This is caused by the handbag or tote rubbing against the side of the skirt and “pulling” it to that side. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about!

Solomon Jones

Okay, so it’s the material that makes it rise up … and also the pocketbook pulling it to one side. I get it.

Lisa Balthaser

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! 😉

Solomon Jones

Yeah but what’s the REAL story? LOL!

Tia Watson

Solomon this article cracked me up. It’s a legit question in my opinion because it does seem silly to wear something that you’re going to be uncomfortable in. You seem so innocent in your quest for answers so let me help you out. There are a few explanations for this tugging.
1. We buy something new and aren’t aware of how it’s going to fit after a few hours of wear. Once we’re out we’re stuck.
2. We wore it before and forgot how annoying it is and how much it rises.
3. We think we look so cute and don’t care how much it rises. We figure it’s worth a few tugs to show off our beautiful legs.
I’m guilty of them all at some point in life but these days I’m old enough to know what’s going to be uncomfortable.
Hope this helps

Solomon Jones

Okay, now those answers all make sense. Thanks Tia. 🙂

Lisa Balthaser

Tia, these are also very valid reasons! It has probably happened to most of us at some point!


In the earliest of time Adam and Eve would wear fig leafs to cover themselves. And Jehovah God proceeded to make (long) garments of skin for Adam and for his wife and to clothe them. Ladies get that hem line in check.

Joyce Sample

We’ve all put on something that was already a little snug or a little short before we left house and hoped it stayed in place. To that point, you knew that skirt was too short.

I thought it was a lighthearted, legitimate question.

Solomon Jones

Thanks Joyce.

W. Jonathan McCoy

Personally, I believe that it is a bit of both. Yeah, some women might not have considered all of the issues involved when purchasing that – “Oh, my god! I’ve got to have that skirt/dress!” Then again, it is highly likely that there are more than a few women who purchase that dress/skirt because they know that it will be an “attention getter.” From a purely male perspective women and fashion make about as much sense as Liner Algebra to your average truck driver… We look/leer and wonder – “Why would she wear a skirt that short, if she has to spend all day tugging at it?” Then we interject our own ‘-ism’ into the equation and conclude – “She’s only wearing a skirt/dress that short because she WANTS me to look at her!” So the main reason this becomes a ‘Talking Point’ isn’t because women wear short skirts/dresses. It is because for men, most of our brain is caught up in the real or imagined sexuality of the apparel and we justify our leering with the “logical” assesment of why she would wear a skirt that short. Thirty years ago I might have a) made a remark, b) turned around to “show my appreciation,” or c) come to the conclusion that she must “want me to look.” Today, I just am thankful for an opportunity to get a moment’s look at a woman’s legs and move along, because I probably have more important issues to worry about.