After I left home, I realized that this wasn't just a phrase used by the people around me; it was widespread. Even now, sometimes I will ask girls why they don't wear tighter clothes, or large earrings, or heels, and while they will usually make some excuse about comfort, they almost always follow it up with "and anyway, that would just attract the wrong kind of attention" - the same phrase, almost verbatim*. In any case, as I've progressed through my twenties and have gradually come to understand what it is that attracts me to a woman, I've come to realize that the notion of "the wrong kind of attention" is bullshit, for two reasons.
1. It assumes that a woman's clothing is responsible for others' perception of her sexual mores.
While there is a small grain of truth to this, it resides only in the most extreme cases (think: cheap hookers). The kind of women that would actually need to be reminded about attracting the wrong kind of attention are not the ones concerned with avoiding it. Conversely, the women actually getting warned about attracting purely sexual attention are almost always those who are in no danger of it. While this is sometimes because the girl wanting to avoid sexual attention has not been taught how to make herself sexually attractive to men, it is more frequently function of the fact that adornment and presentation are low on the list of factors indicating a girl's promiscuity. Her behavior is what matters, and girls that don't want casual sex don't usually act like whores. Here is a list of things that actually do attract the wrong kind of attention:
- Going to bars and clubs known for casual hookups
- Initiating contact with men
- Fucking on the first date
- Sleeping around (reputation)
- Drinking too much
- Swearing, being vulgar, etc.
- Dressing like a cheap hooker (Note: expensive hookers dress well and should be emulated)
Think of female sex appeal as the equivalent of male confidence: while arrogance (the excess) is a turn off, a healthy dose of confidence is not only acceptable, but necessary. Men who err on the cocky side get a shot with way more genuinely good girls than the men who humble themselves and demur.
2. It ignores the fact that men looking for easy sex and men looking for something more than sex are both equally attracted by appearance.
Those warning young girls to dress conservatively ignore the fact that by doing so, a girl not only avoids attention from "bad" men, but simultaneously destroys her chances with "good" men. The good men value appearance just a much as bad men; they simply have requirements above and beyond it. If all good girls were to dress conservatively, good men might eventually lower their requirements for physical attractiveness and presentation (though this is doubtful - I would put my money on them giving up getting a good girl). But as I mentioned above, this is not the case; all good girls do not dress conservatively. There are plenty of women who are conservative in their behavior, yet still dress to maximize their physical attractiveness; and these are the women that will be getting all of the attention from the good men.
When I have daughters I will raise them to respect themselves and behave in such a way that their self-respect is evident to the men around them. I will have their mother teacher them how to dress so that they look both sexy and classy, and then I will finish their instruction by telling them how to filter out men who are only interested in impregnating them and giving them STDs. I will not tell them to dress like their grandmother (or probably even their mother - fashions change quickly) because this will leave them without options, and probably make them social outcasts.