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October 21, 2013

“Dwonna Know What I Think?”

Dwonna Know What I Think?”

A social/lifestyle advice and commentary column by guest contributor Dr. Dwonna Naomi Goldstone. Dr. Goldstone is a Professor of English and Coordinator of the African American Studies Minor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.


Dear Dwonna:

I’m a 21-year-old woman who has been with my 24-year-old boyfriend for six months. He’s a really nice guy, and we get along most of the time, but he tries to control what I wear. For example, he doesn’t like when I wear revealing clothes when he’s not around, and if I’m wearing something that he deems inappropriate, he gives me a hard time until I change. Is it ok for him to tell me what I can wear?




Dear Julie,

Run! Run as fast as you can from this relationship and do not look back! Although I think that it is appropriate for you to exhibit some modesty in your dress whether you are with your boyfriend or not, I am not sure that it is appropriate for him to tell you what you can and cannot wear.

Let me give one caveat, though—If you are wearing a bustier and “daisy dukes” with your behind hanging out when you go to the grocery store, then I think it is reasonable for your boyfriend to suggest that you change your clothes.

However, if his concern is that you are his woman and that you should not be advertising yourself to other men when you are wearing something that even your 80-year-old grandmother would approve of, it might be time to dump this guy and look for a new boyfriend. Perhaps your boyfriend is just insecure, but do you really want to live the rest of your life with a man who believes that he can tell you what you should and should not wear?

If you look back over the course of your six-month relationship, my guess is that there are other arenas where he has tried to control what you do, and though his issues about your clothes seem little now, control issues can grow. Thus, trust me—you do not want to live the rest of your life with this kind of controlling person.

Go find someone who isn’t so insecure and who doesn’t think it’s his role to be your wardrobe stylist.


*Dr. Goldstone lives in Nashville with her four unruly dogs—Satchel Paige, Butterfly McQueen, Charlie Parker, and Lena Horne. She can be reached at

About the Author

Dwonna Goldstone



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