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Many of us living in the U.S. don't think twice about certain freedoms that aren't granted in other parts of the world.

Generally speaking, of course, we can wear whatever we want and behave without constantly walking on eggshells and worrying about consequences or judgment.


However, there are countries that look down upon women wearing suggestive clothing that aren't viewed as provocative in America. And when these women somehow find themselves here, it's fair to say it's quite the culture shock.

These are their stories.

Redditor blokesa1 asked:

"Women who migrated from a socially conservative country to a progressive country how significantly has your life changed?"

Having access to certain garments became life-changing moments for these Redditors.

White Socks

"I come from a very conservative Mennonite (basically Amish) family. Luckily for me, my parents left the faith when I was born. My mother tells stories of being jealous of the girls at school who could have white socks because her family was extra conservative so she could only wear black. Imagine being excited about white socks!"

– youngstirfry

Feeling The Air

"For the first time I wore something above my knees and felt the air! I know it sounds silly but that to me tasted like liberalization.Other than that I feel safe and can hope to make a better future for myself. My rights are protected and I have discovered my voice."

– Tintinlives

Happy For Sparkle Sneaks

"I had a friend who was so excited to see sparkle sneakers. She wanted them sooo bad but she could never buy them since 'back home' where she had to return after college they would get her in big trouble."

"She looked at them like they were a puppy but wouldn't even try them on."

– nerdy-opulence

Freedom of fashion was not an option for these women at one time.

Clothing And Mixed Messages

"My wife didn't leave Turkey until she was 18. She grew up having it hammered into her that anything that attracted attention was a sexual signal and that she was to blame for anything that happened as a result. She was 12 years old worrying about sending messages to grown-a** men with her clothing choices."

– JackBinimbul

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Having The Choice To Wear Anything

"I moved from PH to Singapore. Now I can wear anything I want in the streets."

– deepstash8

"Filipino here. There are wealthy areas in Metro Manila where you can wear whatever and be fine. Like crop tops or sports bras when jogging. Not so much in less developed areas."

"It's not illegal or anything, but people will stare and some will catcall or grope. If you complain, people will say that you're inviting that behavior by wearing revealing clothes."

– jonskn0w

Praise Be

"My sister's mother-in-law is Persian. She says watching the Handmaid's Tale reminds her of how things were before she left Iran. It was very westernized while she was growing up but then things changed..."

– AdditionalDoor9

Life Change At 17

"Moved to the US when I was 17, now 23. I was free to wear miniskirts, drink in public, and hang out with male friends without having my moral character trashed."

"There's an undercurrent of rape hysteria that's very real but seldom explicitly talked about. My dad would freak out if I spent any time in my male cousin's room, despite the fact that we grew up in the same house and were around the same age. Your movements are stifled because every man who's not your dad or brother is treated like a potential danger to your chastity."

– marcopolonaise

Strengthening The Marriage

"According to my mum, it's the little things. After a couple of years in Canada, my mum started wearing skirts. Nothing too revealing, maybe knee-length or lower, and she loved it. She had her first sip of alcohol when she was 31, LOVED the feeling of being Β« tipsy Β» after 1 beer. On the more serious side, she got to fully express herself to my dad (after 20 years of marriage). Her Canadian girlfriends told her about couples counselling, the love languages, etc. And she communicated to my dad the things she wanted to change. I don't know the details, but they seem much happier now than they were when I was a teenager."

– Material-Subject-684

"Treated As An Equal"

"Being able to wear what I want without having to be scared for my security while in public. And being treated as an equal. Edit: Oh, and the word freedom has gained so much more in importance since I had lived in some of those countries where it doesn't exist in some aspects. I think many people, not only women, don't realize how lucky they are to be able to live the way they wish and say what they want without punishment from some authority. I really cherish my life as a woman in a truly free country."

– justsomestupiduserna

These women were subjected to constantly worrying about perceptions.

Weight Off The Shoulders

"It's everything. I can finally go for a walk without the fear of strange men following me and passing lewd comments. I can finally do the things I like (eating meat, having a drink of alcohol) without the implications of 'what will the society say.' We have a saying in my country, 'A woman's body carries the pride of the family'- what an awful weight to carry for any young woman. I can finally just exist and breathe."

– rgreen3456788

Everything's Wonderful In New Zealand

"I experienced most of that my whole life in Peru, i was so pissed that I couldn't wear dresses or shorts in summer because people judges you for your looks or catcall you ugh I have anxiety because of the harassment but finally i can enjoy my life and feel awesome 😎 because I moved to New Zealand, best decision ever."

– ASquirrelHere

Marrying Young

"My mom is German, but her parents went to live in Bolivia in the late 50s/ start of 1960s. She wasn't married at 15, like most of her friends were and the whole town was putting pressure on her parents. Father's were literally trying to buy my mother's hand in marriage for their sons, so at 17 she had to run away and married her first husband out of despair."

"That guy tried to kill her because she wanted to leave him a few years later. In the 80s, she had to flee the country since her 2nd husband wanted to force an abortion on her and he could've easily done that."

"She always told me to not get married at such a young age and to never lose your independence to a man. I guess her life changed in so many ways, I can't write it all down."

– teilzeitfancy

Expressing Affection

"PDA between couples, holding hands, kissing. Seeing gay couples holding hands. Just made me feel happy to see people getting to be open and in love."

– kanubat

Wonders For Mental Health

"I grew up in a conservative family in South Asia and now live alone in Australia. The most significant way my life has changed is my sense of safety, both at home and in public places. At home, I live alone and being away from my conservative family has done wonders for my mental health. I don't have to face constant criticism for my choices. In public places, I still get sacred at night, but that has more to do with my triggers. I have the confidence to walk alone without anybody questioning/harrassing me. That's not to say it hasn't happened, but the frequency is much less. I have less fear and feel safe for the first time in my 22 years."

"I also wear clothes that I ordinarily never would in my home country. My clothes are still quite conservative (sleeves, no skirts etc), but I feel better knowing that I chose what I wore and nobody controlled this choice."

– me_and_otherthings

It's The Little Things

"I moved from India to Canada in 2017 at 17 years old. Freedom felt freaking amazing! I could stay out after 7 pm. I could call anyone I like. When I was in India i was only "allowed" to have calls from family. My parents would get mad if anyone else called me. I never had sleepover, I had my first sleepover here."

"It's the little things. Being independent and following your dreams is the best feeling in the world."

– impaired_attic

Cohabitation Issues

"Philippines: There seem to be plenty of things that people are only against because of societal pressures, not because they actually believe in the moral/ethical arguments against it. Clothing, gender roles, etc. Cohabitation before marriage was a big one for me - it's still often viewed as a scandal except among elites who can do whatever tf they want. My mom was among those fully against it and we had a few heated arguments, but several years after I left, I eventually moved in with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, she didn't even flinch - she was actually happy about the financial advantages even (she hadn't met him yet). I wondered if it was just because she didn't want to push me away, but 7 years later it's never come up as something that's bothered her. I guess she never really cared about it as much as she led me to believe."

– mufflednoise

Unless you come from the conservative countries mentioned above, it's hard to imagine life any other way than what you're used to.

Just imagine the reverse situation, where you find yourself suddenly losing clothing options and conforming to new customs in a country with uncompromising rules.

So don't knock sparkle sneakers. Because to some people, they represent a utopian society.

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