Dressed for Success

An article in The Daily Beast discusses a school’s attempts to restrict girls’ clothing choices considered “distracting” to boys.

Like many (most?) articles of late about the sexualization & sexual harassment of girls and women, the term “slut-shaming” is casually used. This is a deeply offensive and misogynistic term, and I would love to see more awareness about its use. It seems to accept that some women and girls really are sluts and the only question to discuss is whether “shaming” them is or is not okay. As with so much else I thought we were long past this…the very notion of women and girls as “sluts.”

That said, the article discusses the issue of the way young girls are blamed for the effects of their dress on boys – the old “she was asking for it” idea that a woman’s presentation of herself must be to blame for any attention, wanted or unwanted, she is the subject of.

Women’s dress is routinely the source of attempts at control, by countries, cultures, institutions. In the west generally we hold ourselves as being above those whose ideas of female modesty demand that women’s hair, faces, bodies be covered, more liberal, more enlightened. In truth, we are (culturally) made uncomfortable by women’s choices to cover themselves for reasons of religious identification. We are equally uncomfortable with women’s choices to reveal themselves.

Yes, women are blamed for how their presentation impacts others. So much of attempts at dress codes and restrictions come down to this: how YOUR choices affect ME. But if there’s anything even more threatening it must be how a woman’s choice affects herself. If she dresses for herself – presents herself however she chooses, as her own expression – she might do anything.


The Politics of Leggings in Middle School http://thebea.st/1hbVQhz via @thedailybeast

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