The women in Europe are free to wear whatever they want and most of them don’t mind if they look silly, a new survey has found.
The study, conducted by the UK-based think tank The Resolution Foundation, found that while the majority of women in the EU wear a top with no straps, women in France, Italy and Spain are more likely to wear tops that have straps than any other European country.
The UK- based think tank said the study showed that “even within a single country, there is a huge gap between the attitudes of the sexes”.
It found that the majority (62 per cent) of women surveyed in the UK said that they would prefer to wear skirts with straps, while only 14 per cent would be happy to wear a bra or a top that had no straps.
While it is not uncommon to see women in some western European countries wearing high heels, it is quite common to see them in France or Italy, the think tank’s president, Andrew Forrest, said.
“Across Europe, there are vast amounts of female body-image issues and a culture of self-harming that has taken hold,” he said.
“Many women in these countries believe that wearing a skirt with straps is a sign of inferiority, and that women should just do what they want, and it is a cultural issue that has grown around a fear of the ‘other’.” The Resolution Foundation said its research showed that the attitude towards women’s clothes varied across Europe, with attitudes among men in some countries similar to those of women.
“In France, for example, the belief that women are not beautiful enough for men is widespread, and women are seen as subservient and lacking in self-respect,” it said.”[In Italy,] there is an increasing belief that wearing skirts in public is acceptable.”
There is also a cultural belief that we should wear our dresses low and to the sides, and many women in Italy believe that they should not have to wear any kind of tops at all.
“It is common to hear that a dress in France means you are being treated unfairly.
In Italy and France, men also feel entitled to take advantage of the freedom women have to dress in their choice of clothes.
Some French women wear skirts without straps and have been seen taking photographs in public without them, with some commenting that it was not acceptable to wear the same dress to work as to social events.
Mr Forrest said women in countries such as the UK had a lot to be proud of, with the Equality Act recently making it illegal to discriminate against someone because of their gender.
A British woman said she did not feel like a “feminist” for wearing a high heel and skirt, with her mother saying that it meant she had to be more conscious of her appearance.
She said: “You’re not being allowed to wear what you want to wear.
It’s like being judged by someone else’s standards.
“We had to wear our clothes in school, and now people think that’s a sign that I’m a bad woman.””
[It’s] a big change from when I was a teenager, when I would wear skirts, or skirts and heels, or boots, to my school uniform,” she said.
“We had to wear our clothes in school, and now people think that’s a sign that I’m a bad woman.”
It’s about equality, and we need to take more pride in the ways we dress and act, she said, adding that she was proud to have been born a woman.