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Louise O'Neill was criticised for wearing a 'revealing' outfit in a review of Asking For It

A woman baring her shoulders in 2016? LORD HAVE MERCY.

It's D Day! Reality Bites - Asking For It? is airing tonight on RTE2 at 9.30pm #AskingForIt

A post shared by Louise O' Neill (@oneilllou) on

LOUISE O’NEILL’S DOCUMENTARY Asking For It was one of the most talked about programmes on Irish telly this week.

The documentary explored the issues of sexual assault, consent and Ireland’s sometimes outdated attitudes to sex. Both O’Neill and the documentary were widely praised for inspiring a belated conversation about sexual assault and consent in Ireland.

In today’s Irish Independent, television critic John Boland took issue with some of O’Neill’s sartorial choices in the documentary. Namely her decision to wear a shoulderless top while interviewing two male journalists.


Given this, is it permission to wonder what point she thought she was making by turning up for an interview with two young male journalists while wearing a shoulderless party dress with a plungingly revealing neckline? Was she asserting that what women wore was entirely up to them and was not to be construed as anything else?
She didn’t say, though the outfit seemed incongruous to the daytime occasion and indeed was not worn when she was talking to any of her female interviewees. Perhaps I’m harping on about a distraction, but I found it a bit curious.

O’Neill shared the extract on Twitter and shared a photo of the offending top (erroneously referred to in the passage as a “party dress”) in question.


Needless to say, many were shocked that O’Neill’s bare shoulders were one of the main takeaways from a documentary that dealt with matters pertaining to sexual assault and gender equality

I mean…

Meanwhile Folkster, a clothing store with branches in Dublin and Kilkenny, made this very tongue-in-cheek suggestion…

sup Source: Folkster

And now people are baring their shoulders to show their support.

Louise told DailyEdge.ie that she was disappointed with Boland’s review and the focus on her outfits.

I was disappointed to see that he had commented on my clothes, seeming to imply that I deliberately wore a ‘revealing’ outfit when interviewing two male journalists.
It’s a pity that when watching a documentary on sexual violence and rape culture, he was concentrating on what I looked like.

And she clarified that she sure as hell wasn’t dressing for her male interviewees.

My background is in fashion styling and I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I love clothes. However, I dress for myself, not to get attention from men. I don’t think my outfit was provocative but even if it was, shouldn’t a woman be allowed to wear whatever she wants?
This idea that we must dress in a more conservative manner to avoid inciting sexual advances from men is at best laughable and at worst dangerous. It snacks of victim blaming. Women are never ‘asking for it’, no matter what they’re wearing.

In conclusion? A gal should be allowed to wear whatever the hell she likes without being accused of trying to “distract” men

Let us live, goddamnit.

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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