When I was in sixth grade we had a “girls only” assembly to talk about dress code. Before this time it had never been explained to me that the reason we have a dress code is so girls “don’t distract the boys” with our bodies. This infuriated me, and still does. Why is their eduction more important than mine? Why are girls pulled out of class for thirty minutes, because a boy may be distracted by their legs or shoulder blades? More importantly, why is it that boys “can’t control themselves” and girls are shamed for them acting pigs?
I am not a sexual object for just existing as a female. The few times I’ve caught guys staring at me, or making inappropriate comments I’ve felt violated. I don’t exist for your pleasure, and I’m not just something pretty to look at. Now my spit fire attitude and just generally being a lesbian has protecting me from the bulk of the suggestive comments or stares that most girls get. I have a major case of resting bitch face, and overall don’t always look “approachable.” Needless say I haven’t experienced this kind of behavior of men often, but I have had friends who’ve dealt with this a lot.
Clothing is a form of self-expression. High school is supposed to be a time where you began to “find yourself,” but how can you do that if how you dress or color your hair is constantly being policed. If you find it liberating to wear short skirts and low cut tops, then do it. If you prefer to dress conservatively, then wear the clothes that make you feel comfortable. Showing off your body is not a bad thing, and it doesn’t define you as a person. A woman is either perceived as a prude if she dresses “too conservatively” or a slut if she shows off her body. But yet society teaches young girls that men want women to show off their bodies. So does she show off her body and get called a slut, or cover up and supposedly get ignored by men? You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
Wearing a provocative outfit doesn’t mean a girl is “asking for it.” Assault is assault; it doesn’t matter what the victim is wearing. We need to stop blaming the victims, and start examining the subliminal messages our society sends to us about women’s worth. When a girl tells you she’s been molested or raped, your first response shouldn’t be to ask “what were you wearing”, or “were you drinking?” Consent is necessary in all situations, and clothing does not equal consent.
As much as I which I could still be in high school, I don’t miss the dress code, or the passive aggressive “slut shaming” assemblies. At least I can wear nike shorts and a t-shirt in my own house without being called a whore. I guess chronic illness does have some perks after all. 😉
Lots of Love,