Tag Archives: slut shaming

You Can Find Me in Da Club—but Don’t Touch Me!

31 Jul

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A few years ago I was with a group of friends at a party, wearing one of my staple going-out pieces: a short, tight, high-waist pencil skirt. Now, I kinda have a big booty (I’ve discussed my prior insecurities about it in a previous post). That night, my favorite skirt and my rear-end got a lot of unwanted attention.

While I was minding my own business and dancing with my friends, some drunken fool walks over, grabs my ass, and then stumbles away.

I was embarrassed—but not nearly as embarrassed as I was after it happened again only a few moments later. I went over to one of the guys I’d come to the party with and told him what had happened. “Well, your ass is nice,” he responded. Then, when I turned my head, he grabbed my booty and walked away laughing.

After that, I stood up against the wall trying to protect my ass from any more attention. In hindsight, I know I shouldn’t have felt the need to do that. Here’s my question: When did my body become public property?

Just because my ass is big doesn’t mean you have license to grab it.

Several people may be quick to blame the guys’ actions on my choice of clothing. However, I shouldn’t have to cover up my curves just because some guy wasn’t taught how to act in public. It’s a free country (kind of). I am allowed to adorn my body (mine—not anyone else’s) however I please. People should know better than to touch others inappropriately—it’s called sexual harassment. My skirt didn’t make them grab me—skirts don’t have magical powers like that; they grabbed me because they wanted to. Don’t blame the victim, blame the offender.

The problem is that our society often embraces Male Sexual Entitlement*, the idea that men are owed sexual attention and that women are expected to “give it up” to them. This entitlement shows up in social interactions at bars, parties, and clubs.

Some of men think that just because a woman is dressed up and at a party, she must be seeking attention. Some women are, some aren’t. I won’t deny it: I like attention. And by attention I mean conversation and polite complements—not touching, hugs, high fives or any of that bullshit. Sometimes this entitlement isn’t as serious as groping, but strangers shouldn’t feel like they have permission to put their hands on a woman they don’t know. If she didn’t grant permission, it’s inappropriate. If you see me at the club—look, wave, say hello, judge me if you must, but don’t touch!

In addition, I, like every other woman and man in the club, reserve the right to be selective. In other words: just because a woman dresses up doesn’t mean she has to acknowledge every guy that approaches her. She can pick and choose based on looks, personality, or whatever she wishes. That’s her decision.

But some idiots are too aggressive, too touchy-feely, and too angry when they get rejected. Am I a bitch because I told you “no”? (Even though I said it politely?) Okay—then you’re an asshole for assuming that you are entitled to my attention. (Perfect example of Male Sexual Entitlement).

So here’s my advice for combating this kind of entitlement at a bar, club, party, or wherever. aka:

How to Get Rid of Assholes at the Club

no-assholes

  • A firm, smileless “No” solves most problems. A decent guy would back away after hearing the word “No” in a serious manner.
  • If he doesn’t back away, you may have to get a little more verbal and embarrass his ass.  Yell as loudly as you can “Excuse me! I do not want to dance with you. Don’t touch me!” That not only humiliates the hell out of him, but also makes him look like a huge creep. And, other people may come to your defense or at least give him dirty looks.
  • Another option is to do like the Plastics on Mean Girls. If he’s being inappropriate (and you’re bold enough) you can yell “Excuse me, I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP WITH YOU!” I’ve never tried that one—but good luck.
  • You may have to get physical (just a little bit) if none of the previous recommendations  work out. Some young women, I’ve noticed, if they are in a situation where there are creepy guys around, they move. Yet, I hate having to change my location or actions just because some idiot doesn’t have manners. So I will sometimes push (lightly yet firmly) a guy away from me. I mean “push” as in soft shove that signifies for him to back the hell up—NOT “push” as in I’m starting an all-out brawl in the bar.

*If you’re interested in reading more on Male Sexual Entitlement, you can read the article that inspired this post.

Related posts: Wanting to be a Big Booty Hoe

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Welcome to Slut Shamer Rehab

25 Jul

ShaeSlut

Confessions of a Reformed Slut-Shamer

We’ve all done it: Shook our heads at the girl who decided to dress in a way that was too provocative for our own good taste, while in the back of our minds thought, “Where are the rest of her clothes?” Then we’d mentally label her a slut or skank, and if we were mean enough, we would give her a stank face and utter a few words under our breath. We’d stand high and mighty in our not-so-skanky stilettos and turn our noses up at the “slut” who dared leave the house and enter our wholesome presence showing all her goodies.

Sometimes I am that “slut.” I’ve worn ultra mini-skirts with my high heels to show off my legs and curves.  I used to think that because I was smart, sophisticated, and in fact, not a slut—I could dress however the hell I wanted and if people judged me, the joke was on them.

I know better now. I know that criticizing a woman for dressing proactively, for having an overtly sexual presence, or for having an active sex life is called slut-shaming. Basically, slut-shaming teaches that a woman’s (but not a man’s) body and a woman’s sexual desires are immoral, and must be restricted. It’s a specific type of bullying that targets women. Men are rarely victims. We all know the double standards: men are applauded for sex while women are shamed. There are such things “man-whores,” as people call them, but within our society, they do not bare the same burden as women who are known to have sex. The fact that you have to put the word “man” in front of whore displays just how gendered the term is.

When girls commit suicide because of this type of criticism, the need to end slut-shaming becomes even more serious. A few months ago, 15-year-old Audrie Pott killed herself after finding out that explicit photos of her being sexually assaulted were circulated via texts and emails from her peers.  A year before that, 15-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons endured a similar fate of photos going around, and in addition, was tormented by her classmates. In response, she hung herself.

Unless we take slut-shaming and victim-blaming seriously, more young women will die.

In an article I recently read, which discusses these suicides, the writer argues that everyone, including you and me, is responsible for these deaths. When we perpetuate certain ideas that blame the victim and shame young women, we spread hate and violence.

I am guilty.

I have never shamed anyone after they’ve been raped; however, I have shamed women for having active sex lives and wearing revealing clothing. If you are like me, then you have a problem.

 Welcome to Slut-Shamer Rehab

Step 1: Be woman-enough (or man-enough) to own up to your mistakes.

Step 2: Know that it is only partially your fault. We grow up in a society that likes to blame the victim. Our mother and grandmothers have sometimes taught us that only “loose girls” dress provocatively. Generations and generations of women have been raised to believe that women who have sex lose their purity and become forever tarnished. But those outdated ideas don’t have to be your ideas.  Cut the crap! Repent and don’t do it again.

Step 3: Whenever you see someone you want to call a slut, skank, whore, (or any other variation), stop yourself! Take a moment and ask yourself: “If I think this way about this woman, what oppressive ideas am I progressing?”

Step 4: Educate Yourself. Google “slut-shaming” or visit this awesome blog I found recently called She Must Challenge, a blog to promote strong women and positive trends toward gender equality. Read up on the implications of slut-shaming. You might also want to learn more about rape culture while you’re at it.

Step 5: Know that we all are prone to relapse. Just last month I was in Vegas. At the Hard Rock Hotel, where I stayed, a lot of women walk around in their bathing suits. The slut-shamer in me thought, “What the hell? Put some damn clothes on, we’re in public!” Then I caught myself doing it and had to repeat Steps 1 and 2.

Step 6: Take a healthy dose of humility. Do you deserve to cast the first stone?

Try Hard: The fate of women’s empowerment and freedom lies in the ideas we spread.

Related Posts: I Wear Short Shorts BECAUSE I’m a Feminist

I Wear Short Shorts BECAUSE I’m a Feminist

19 Jul

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#IWearShortShorts #FierceFeminism

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.

The very next week, the NY Daily News posted a picture of Sasha Obama in short shorts, and the media attacked Sasha, saying her clothes were “inappropriate.” Sasha Obama Shorts

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.

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