It seems like foreigners are going viral in other countries for various infractions, sparking debate on proper conduct and rule compliance when a person is in another country. Ashley Garcia, a freelance model based in the Philippines caught the attention of onlookers and got her shot at fame in Singapore and Taiwan—but for the wrong reasons. Shot by a passerby, a few of her images taken while she was waiting at the MRT Station in Singapore were posted on social media over the weekend. The photos feature her (with her face blurred) wearing a loose sleeveless with low cut sides and shorts that could barely be seen. What most online critics pointed out was that she appeared to not have worn a bra and that this way of dressing is not appropriate in public spaces.
Garcia identified herself after a literal virtual hunt for her started online.
Some netizens wrote that what she was wearing “was not fashionable but obscene.” In her defense, Garcia posted an apology on Facebook, saying, “I apologize if I offended any culture on this outfit, but, please understand that I do not have any obscene or malicious intention by wearing it. I am sorry if you think that this was an ‘indecent exposure’ but, it was not my intention.”
She also said that even if people were “already hitting me below the belt and criticizing” her, she still respects them. She also clarified that she was wearing shorts and nipple tape at that time.
Should women be shamed for what they wear?
The astounding online outrage that this incident begs us to ask, is it right to shame women for what they wear? If we put this in another perspective, will a man go viral if he wore a tank top and shorts in the same manner and place? Would it have been an issue if nobody shared the photo online?
First of all, she was photographed without her consent, from certain angles that show her in a questionable light. Obviously, the anonymous poster had ill intentions for posting her photo and deeming it “indecent.” In most countries, “evidence of intent to shock, arouse or offend other persons (lewd conduct) is evidence of prohibited conduct” is considered breaking the law, but in this case, she had no intention to cause any of these.
Second, the incident has caused her more harm, with strangers online posting negative views about her without knowing her side of the story.
On the other hand, she should follow the rules of the country where she was currently visiting or at least be sensitive to the culture of the people around her. What do you think? Is this public outrage justified or was it blown out of proportion?