The other day I was sitting in a restaurant next to a man and I heard him say: “That girl’s shorts are too short. Looks like her daddy’s just preparing her for the stripper pole.” The girl and her father didn’t hear the comment, but I felt sick to my stomach. I was angry, but I didn’t really know what to say to him—I just knew he was wrong.
Clutch Magazine ran Sasha’s story on their site, and commenters both defended and criticized Sasha’s clothing choice. However, one commenter argued, “The real question shouldn’t be why little girls wear shorts, President’s daughter or not, but should be: why are grown people sexualizing little girls?”
I agree. Sasha and the girl I saw are just girls in shorts. The adult commenters are the ones sexualizing little girls. So if you have a problem with girls wearing short shorts, you should probably stop attributing sexual characteristics to them and just let them live their lives.
I’ve heard the argument that we must teach young girls to cover up in order to avoid being objectified. Yet, we really need to get out of this “she was asking for it” mindset. Instead of teaching girls to cover up in order to avoid perverts or judgment from others, we should teach others to stop poaching on children. I know it’s a reach because our society is very quick to blame the woman—but wearing short shorts is harmless. It doesn’t create danger for bystanders. It doesn’t kill innocent people. It’s kind of like the slogan “instead of teaching women to avoid rape, teach men not to rape.” Instead of telling girls to cover up, let’s encourage everyone not to sexualize them.
I’ve also heard the argument that young girls shouldn’t be allowed to wear revealing attire because they’re growing up too fast. I get that. Maybe girls are growing up fast, but come on—it’s not the literal clothing that’s making them grow up faster. If they are “fast girls” they are fast whether they wear revealing clothes or not. The clothes aren’t making them fast. I’d blame that on a combination of things: an overdose of sex-oriented advertisements marketed to young girls, poor role models in pop culture, lack of self-confidence and maturity, and so much more. Forcing a young girl to put on less revealing clothing doesn’t change the way she feels about herself, nor does it change her behavior.
Also, the judgment doesn’t stop when girls get older. Grown women who show a lot of skin are constantly shamed and deemed “slutty.”
We do it to one another. We shame other women based on how much cleavage is showing or how short their dress is because have been raised in a society that teaches that overtly sexy women are “impure” and deserve less respect. So we police their behavior and their appearance, label them sluts, and ook upon them as if they is stupid or broken.
But seriously—What is wrong with a woman being sexy? If she loves her body, then she has the right to dress it as she pleases.
No one should have to alter their appearance to fit into what society believes is the “appropriate” or “respectable” way a woman should dress. In my understanding, part of being a feminist means loving yourself enough that you express yourself however you want, and allowing others to do the same.
Feminists challenge the ideas about women who show their bodies being “impure” or not worthy of respect. Therefore, I wear short shorts because I am a feminist (and for several other reasons—see amateur poetry below).
I wear short shorts because I am a feminist.
I wear short shorts because I want to, and because no one else can tell me what to do with my body.
I wear short shorts because it’s hot outside.
I wear short shorts because I love my body.
I wear short shorts because they are part of my outfit.
I wear short shorts because I like attention.
I wear short shorts because I’m sexy, and no, I am not “asking for it.”
I wear short shorts because I can— Get the f*ck over it.
You have to know that what I’m saying is not that revolutionary of a concept. Thousands of women partake in yearly Slut Walks, protest marches that calls for an end to slut shaming and rape culture. Some feminists have even embraced the term “slut” in an attempt to reappropriate its meaning. Sluts now have their own website (What’s up Slutist!). Internationally, women have fought against slut-shaming and victim-blaming. Yet, it is difficult to protest sexist ideas that have existed in our society for centuries.
To contribute to this discussion on slut-shaming, for the next few weeks, my posts will be catered to body and sexual politics. In addition, I will utilize my facebook, pintrest, and tumblr for my “I Wear Short Shorts” mini photo-campaign.
For further reading on body politics and all things sluttty, check out Slutist.com.