How to repel a Human Male:

Step One: Buy and wear overalls. These may be designer, maternity, denim, corduroy, or thrifted. Wear them often around members of the opposite sex.

Step Two: Wear any kind of shoe that is not a ballet flat or stiletto.

Step Three: Fix your hair and makeup in a cool way, possibly using an unusually bright lipstick.

Go forth and repel.

Many criticize fashion as being vain and worldly, but the most common criticism I hear is that fashion is immodest.

Season after season designers and retailers turn out clothing collections full of skin-baring styles, they say. Fashion is all about flaunting assets, sky high cleavage, and short shorts. Fashion is trying to lure women into wearing styles that naturally seduce men. We Christian women have to stand strong against the fashion establishment and turn our noses up at the latest styles in order to retain our dignity. Right!? Maybe not.

Image: julieet via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

In the last several years, “man repelling” was coined by the enormously popular blogger, Leandra Medine, who blogs under the name Man Repeller. She did not invent the trend; she simply recognized what had been taking place for years in fashion: many women were dressing for themselves, in a way that not only didn’t appeal to men, it confused them. It was chic to dress in a non-sexy way, a way that drew more puzzled looks than lustful stares.

Medine defines a man repeller in the following humorous way:

Outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive mode that may 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, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs.

Being a man repeller doesn’t mean being a grotesque human being that intentionally wears weird things to deflect male attention. It simply is about wearing what you like, regardless of what most men may find attractive. Maybe that involves a curious amount of layers, a sneaker paired with a dress, or a pile of super glamorous necklaces over a t-shirt.

Many people consider feminism and fashion at odds with each other. Maybe in certain sects of feminism and fashion, that holds true. But with many women dressing for themselves – in a way that makes them feel comfortable and confident – and not solely for male attention, it feels empowering.



  1. Implicit in the “man repeller” concept as you outline it here seems to be an assumption that fashion – the sky-high, asset-baring runway collections you mention – is primarily about appealing to men. But the fact that most fashion designers are gay men, as you and I have discussed before, would seem to question that premise.

  2. i like this a lot. It’s my first time to hear the words “man repeller” but it really describes how I dressed in my twenties. I wore what I wanted to and I often had people tell me that I must be ashamed of my beauty or that I liked confidence in myself (and maybe there was a bit of that) but generally I dressed how I wanted because it’s what I liked to wear, and I felt beautiful in it. (often I wore a long skirt over jeans that was pulled up to the top of my chest with an old cardigan safety pinned together in the front. it looked awesome, in my opinion) I did meet a boy who fell in love with so much more than what I looked like (but that too!) in my late twenties and we now have two kids together. My style has changed a lot since my early twenties but I will probably always wear what makes me feel good over what other people think looks good.

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