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How To Repel Men


If you’re a woman and you leave the house in something that Vogue or Elle deems on-trend then you will repel men. Women will coo over you, men will avoid you and pensioners will ask you if you are feeling OK. LAUREN WISZNIEWSKI reports.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a certain wardrobe is not going to get a boyfriend any time soon. While leggings, uggboots and flatforms are considered to be offending material, the whole premise of ‘The Man Repeller’ is about dressing for yourself and liking what you’re wearing. Fashion designer Betsey Johnson puts it best, “Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves and, of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys they’d just walk around naked.” Female empowerment is at the core of wearing what you what, where you want.

The words ‘Man Repeller’ were first defined by blogger Leandra Medine in 2010. After a shopping expedition to Topshop where her friend noticed all the items Leandra found appealing (Harem shorts; a white muscle tee emblazoned with the word “Mom”; a floral-print denim vest; sequin hot shorts) were guaranteed to repel men. The two wrote up a dictionary definition: “man
(mahn-ree-peller) – noun: outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include but are not limited to harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls (see: human repelling), shoulder pads, full-length jumpsuits, jewellery that resembles violent weaponry and clogs.” Any item that confuses, confronts or scares those with XY chromosomes is thought to be man repelling.

The media continually bombards us with tips and tricks to lure a man and then once you have him, how to keep him. Unlike a pet, a man will not love you unconditionally. Sacred wisdom passed down to Miranda Kerr from her grandmother included the words, “Men are very visual. If you want to keep a man you must always put a little bit of make-up on and put on good underwear.” If a woman doesn’t wear makeup (or enough makeup), she will be asked if she is ill.

On the other hand wearing ‘too much’ makeup will make a woman look like she is trying and she is not the flawless beauty that she should naturally be. Her fuckability goes out the window as men wonder what they will wakeup to in the morning. Women are expected to be virginal beings created purely for men. Displays of overt sexuality and individuality will have the patriarchy running for the hills.

In an era of Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, the female silhouette is becoming more and more obscured. Yet man repelling isn’t about getting dressed and thinking of how to repel a man, it’s about getting dressed and feeling good. When wearing your new harem pants, you may feel judged by your male counterpart, but hey sister, at least you’re doing it for yourself.

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