Someone, somewhere is going to accuse me of being a bad feminist for writing this.
We live in a completely commodified society, where everything, including sex is a commodity. Until we eradicate the notion that women are objects, that sex is a commodity, that men are objects (objectifying men is not the answer to the objectification of women), and the sense of entitlement a lot of people have, there will still be a frighteningly high level of sexual crimes. The very language of referring to attractive body parts as "assets" is a testament to this commodification. Attractive bodies are used prevalently in advertising, promoting unreal stereotypes and distancing sex and attractiveness from its natural emotional context.
Dressing in a sexually provocative way, male or female or other, IS advertising your sexuality. That's why it's considered "sexy" in the first place. You might not be dressing that way to land a mate or impress the one you already have, but it's still a form of advertising. I'm not saying don't dress in a "sexy" manner, just be aware of the fact you are deliberately dressing to instil a reaction in others, and that the reaction is going to vary as widely as people vary, and that more eyes than just the ones you intend will be on you. Baring flesh and emphasising curves is provocative - it provokes a response, and that response will be varied. You will get some negative reactions. Remember, you are only in control of yourself, not of other people, even if you can affect them. Complaining that people are staring at your chest while you are wearing a low-cut top with a push-up bra and details that direct the eye towards your cleavage is a bit silly. Yes, it is rude to stare and people should have the common courtesy not to, but you do have the choice to wear something a little less cleavage advertising.
Earlier this year, huge debate spread about this topic, culminating in Slut Walk protests in major cities across the world. I understand the sentiment, that, like the famous placard said "Showing my legs doesn't mean I'll spread them" and that it is wrong to suppose that a woman who is scantily clad is "asking for it". But as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown stated in the Independent "to objectify yourself in defiance is still objectification." The protest does nothing to address women being defined by their sexuality, and about the commodification of sex, the equation of masculinity with dominance and the objectification of women (and increasingly men), which are the underlying issues.
There is also a current of defence for such behaviour as wearing virtually nothing in public and getting so thoroughly drunk that one passes out in a door-way somewhere with no knickers/pants on. Regardless of gender, acting like that is reckless and not particularly classy. The only people acting like that will attract are the people not worth attracting.
One of my favourite internet writers, The Lady of the Manners wrote this in response to a teenager writing to her advice column about parental disapproval: "The Lady of the Manners (along with many, many other very articulate people) believe that women should be able to wear what they choose without the fear of sexual harassment, and that anyone who feels dressing in a certain manner is"asking for it" is WRONG. Sexual harassment and assault are very serious issues, ones that everyone needs to be aware of and help stop. But wearing “safe” clothing doesn’t keep women safe from rape; thinking that you can prevent rape by dressing a certain way does nothing, except lead to victim blaming and giving women who dress “the right way” a false sense of security." Wearing modest clothing is not a magical suit of rape-preventative safety, but dressing in a provocative way will attract more negative attention. About three quarters of rapes are committed by someone the victim knew. That leaves around a quarter of rapes perpetrated by strangers, and it is only some of that quarter that will be affected by the wearer's clothes. The major factor in clothes, from surveys on perpetrators, was how much effort and time it would take to remove them, not how attractive they made the woman look, but a short skirt and skimpy top are going to be easier to remove.
It is never the victim's fault that they were raped, as the blame lies squarely with the rapist, but that said, there are reasonable precautions that will reduce risk, and being aware of what is area appropriate dress, avoiding certain areas after dark, learning self defence and not getting too drunk to identify and avoid dangerous situations are part of that. Yes, in an ideal world those things shouldn't be necessary, but we're not in an ideal world. Statements like "but they dressed like a tart" are only a reflection of the rapists greed, sense of entitlement and lack of self-control. Also, dressing more modestly, being a man or being older are not protection against rape - elderly women are raped, males of all ages are raped, women in burkhas are raped! This is because rape is motivated by the twisted mind of the rapist, not the victim, and the characteristics for victim selection might be as simple as "alone". Also, rape is often driven by a lust for the exertion power as much as lust for flesh.
But that is only about the very worst kind of negative attention. Wearing provocative clothes can garner a lot of other, less violent, types of harassment which are while not as bad, are varying degrees of unpleasant. Be aware of this, especially if you go out in public wearing things that are fetish inspired, burlesque-esque or particularly revealing. There is a belief in the non-Goth world that Goths, especially Goth "girls", are "easy", and that they will sleep with anyone/thing, so a lot of non-goths come on to young/young looking female Goths quite brazenly and rudely and especially if they are wearing a short skirt, high heels and a revealing/emphasising top (if I'm in Victoriana or a Rivethead outfit I get a lot less unwanted poor attempts at flirtation than if I'm wearing a short skirt and emphasising top) and sometimes regardless of if said female Goth is with their partner. Also, if you wear fetish clothes in public, don't be surprised if people assume you're a professional dominant and either proposition you or give you hassle over their assumption.
Goth fashion has often borrowed fashion ideas from the realms of fetish and burlesque and is a subculture not afraid to brazenly sexual. This is mostly fine when done in an age-appropriate manner and within the realms of certain clubs, but do not forget that you will have to journey two and from those clubs, probably late at night (or very early in the morning), and that even if the weather was warm during the day, it can be cold out. (Now I sound like someone's mother saying "you'll catch a chill like that!"). While Goth attire may LOOK brazenly sexual, Goth has always been a particularly Romantic and romantic subculture, and Goth relationships tend to be quite long lasting, and while Goth is a subculture more accepting of those who are polyamorous, in open relationships, etc. or into BDSM or simply have a different sexual orientation, because they are generally a bit less judgemental (but not always, sadly) it does not mean that we are ALL like that and the majority of relationships are exclusive and pairs.
This really depends on the specific Goth club and its usual clientele, but with some it is an unspoken thing that they are a safe space to wear fetish clothes and express varying levels of alternative sexuality without physical danger beyond accidentally getting you leash caught on something or being caught on somebody else's spikes. For Goth clubs to remain a safe space in which the patrons can fully express themselves, the other Goths ought to to respect each other's personal space. Here is the Lady of the Manner's advice, from ::this article:: "As to using clubs as a romantic hunting ground . . . sure, flirt with people. Look appreciatively (and/or longingly) at the attractive creatures wandering around the club. But make VERY sure that an advance would be welcomed. Don’t suddenly start touching the object of your desire unless you know that they won’t view such behavior as an affront. If they ask you to stop whatever you’re doing to or around them, don’t interpret that as them being coy or flirtatious. If their friends have to step in and tell you to stop, you have Gone Too Far, and should start apologizing profusely, then leave the club." and she had to write further on this point in a follow up article: "It is NOT friendly to go up and grope people you barely know; for that matter, it isn’t friendly to do that to people you DO know unless you have An Understanding with them. And don’t you dare try and fob the Lady of the Manners off with the excuse of “I’m just being friendly” or “They’re just overreacting.” The Lady of the Manners is quite serious about this; people are supposed to feel safe in their own subculture, and being pawed at by strangers or semi-strangers does not make one feel safe at all."
Also, before you go out scantily clad, consider your reasons. Is it because the club is rather warm and it's the best outfit for dancing without over-heating? Is it because you feel confident and attractive looking that way? Is it because you want people to look? While there is nothing wrong with being happy with positive attention, or revealing one's flesh because one genuinely feels comfortable that way (it's not like the human body is some sinful, dirty thing to hide away, like some would have believe), revealing ones flesh with the motivation for doing so being garnering attention, (sometimes including negative attention) is a sign of terrible self-esteem issues that need resolving in a better manner. Messing with the emotions of others by playing with their desires is an even worse behaviour and generally considered not very nice. There are worse levels of self-destructive behaviour based on insecurities, but that's not what I'm writing about here. Yes, there is nothing inherently wrong with various levels of dress, but it is about context and motivation. Also, attractiveness is not proportionate to the amount of flesh revealed. Reveal too much and it stops being a mystery, there needs to be room for the imagination. If you reveal too much you look desperate and tacky rather than attractive. Also, beautiful and sexy are not synonyms, while it's fine to look sexy, don't feel pressured into believing that this is the only way to be "beautiful".
Today I read ::this:: article via Feminist Fashion Bloggers, and it pertains directly to this issue and is worth a good read. One thing that it is important to remember is that revealing clothes do not work like certain portions of mass media would like some of us to believe - most men do not have a Pavalovian response to revealing clothes, and those that do make the wolf-whistles at anything slender in a short skirt or suchlike are a minority, if a significant minority, and this behaviour has little to do with male nature and more to do with a society (or rather a subsection of society) where it is considered manly for men to show continual interest in sex and for them to objectify women. It is insulting to men as a whole to assume they are all like the worst Frat/Jock stereotype.