Boys Will Be Boys and Girls Will Be Sluts

Boys Will Be Boys and Girls Will Be Sluts

When will school dress-codes stop slut-shaming girls?
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It is always surprising to me that the words ‘slut’, ‘hoe’, and ‘whore’ are thrown around so casually and regularly in conversation. Many conversations where girls are slut-shamed because of something they have done or how many people they have hooked up with are looked upon as taboo, but when it comes to what a girl is wearing, conversation is commonplace. Conversation about what girls are wearing is encouraged by schools with their strict dress codes that are often sexist, specifically targeting girls as the subject of their rules. For example, many school dress codes include regulation on skirt or short length, width of straps, and exposing of cleavage. Also, many schools strictly enforce what a girl is wearing, but overlook any violation by boys.

There are hundreds of stories of girls standing up against their school dress codes and exposing the sexism so present in school policy, one of most popular being Carey Burgess, the school President from South Carolina who was sent home for wearing a shirt that was too short. Carey is not the only girl being sent home for her outfit choices- girls are also being forced to wear shame suits or are being sent to detention for what they are wearing often with the justification that their outfits are “too distracting” for male students and even male teachers. It is not surprising that in a “boys will be boys” society, girls are the culprits for distracting their male peers, not the boys themselves. The fact that school administrators and teachers promote this idea proves the idea that dress codes are sexist and specifically target girls.

In a society where girls are policed for everything from career choices to body weight, it is not surprising that girls are policed for what they are wearing as well. Girl’s bodies are viewed as “off limits” and “overly sexualized”, especially girls of color and bigger girls. This is where the true issue of dress code lies- that it isn’t about what girls are wearing, it is about their bodies. Schools are teaching girls at such a young age that their bodies are off-limits and that they’re dangerous to a boy’s well-being and education. Schools are thereby teaching young adults that girls are responsible for the actions of boys and that girls are to blame if something happens to them. This is why dress code perpetuates rape culture and victim blaming- it encourages blaming girls for what happens to them based on what they are wearing.

Because of dress codes, girls see themselves as objects who should not attract attention from boys. Also, girls who get in trouble are suddenly bad and dangerous and don’t deserve the respect of boys; not only does this shape the way boys see these girls, but also how these girls see themselves: as objects who don’t deserve respect from boys if they dress a certain way. Girls are also looked upon has having less respect for themselves the less they wear, which often leads boys, and even other girls, to view them as lesser. It is this culture of girls being “sluts” if they show a certain amount of skin that is imprinted into student’s heads that often leads them to slut shame someone based on what they are wearing. Although much of the blame for slut-shaming is placed on boys and the way they judge girls based on what they are doing or wearing, in fact, there is an aspect of girls policing other girls that is sometimes left out of the dialogue about slut-shaming.

As stated in Rebecca Raby’s thesis, “Tank Tops Are Okay, But I Don’t Want to See Her Thong” where she interviewed various girls on the issue of dress code, “These comments were frequently set starkly against concomitant hostility against other girls’ revealing dress and a consequent appreciation of dress codes”. This shows how girls sometimes agree with dress code regulation, considering clothing like spaghetti straps “slutty”. Some of the girls in her study group felt that certain clothing was “sleazy” even though they agreed a girl should be allowed to wear that clothing if she wanted to. This shows how schools’ dress codes often give girls standards or “reference points” by which to judge other girls clothing choices.

It’s hard to see what we can do in a society so immersed in dress code to change this. Schools are teaching kids at a young age to judge girls based on their clothing and that their clothing is directly correlated to their worth, so how is it possible that we can get around that when it is so embedded in our culture? In a society where 1 in 4 women will be raped in college, it is crucial that schools take measures to avoid perpetuating rape culture and foster an environment where girls are not sexualized and where “boys will be boys” is not a valid excuse. Convincing schools to change policy is rarely a viable option, but girls who are exposing these instances on social media are the ones taking the right steps to expose the injustices of school dress code. Hashtags like #IAmMoreThanADistraction are bringing problems to the general public and allowing girls who are actively facing these injustices to take a stand. This is one of the first steps we can take to end the sexism of dress code along with being aware that these rules may be changing the way we view other girls and taking active steps to avoid perpetuating this slut-shaming. Once this happens, maybe ‘slut’ will stop being a major part of our vocabulary and we will start standing up for girls who are being slut shamed instead of participating, and even encouraging, the conversation.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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It's Not Easy To Keep The New You Around All Year, But It Is Possible, Fight For The Life You Want

Keep yourself in check with these tips.

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There's no better time to set goals for yourself than for the new year! However, many people have the same goals of going to the gym more or working on saving money and often don't follow through with them after the first month or two. To help keep your goals to better improve yourself, I thought I'd share some tips that help keep me in check, and can hopefully help you, too!

1. Share your goals!

If no one knows your plans, it can be easy to just forget about them or use that as an excuse to give up. However, if you tell a few of your close friends, they can hold you accountable and check in with you to make sure you're following through.

2. Evaluate who you hang out with

You want to make sure the people you're sharing your goals with are going to hold you accountable and support you. It is also important to look around and make sure everyone in your life is leaving a positive mark. Negativity will just bring you down and won't help you achieve any goals.

3. Invest

You don't need to be a pro or even know much about investing to do so, but you'd be surprised how setting a little money aside makes a difference in the long run. Many accounts even allow you to set it up so it automatically takes money from your account.

4. Help others to help yourself feel better

Many people don't realize volunteering is as simple as helping out an organization that supports something you believe in for even just an hour or two a week. You might be surprised how humbling volunteering can be and it will make you appreciative for what you have. It is also good to help make the community you live in a better place.

5. Change how you get fit

It is very common to want to get in shape and healthier for the new year, but doing it the right way is most important to make sure you can stick with your goal. Rather than rushing into things and trying to go to the gym every day of the week and not eat any processed foods, start small. Start by going to the gym once or twice a week. Start by eliminating one unhealthy meal a day. Habits don't form overnight. Changing your health takes time and realizing that is the first step.

6. Find ways to reduce stress

This may sound irrelevant, but stress can often be used as an excuse for us to not do something. While you can't completely eliminate stress, finding ways to reduce it can help you stay motivated to stick with your goals! Little ways to start this can be by finding time to meditate once a week or taking more time for yourself.

7. Pick a place to travel!

While this is not easy and possible for everyone, even finding a cheap weekend getaway is a great way to give yourself a break and evaluate how you have been doing in the year.

8. Spend less time on your phone

This is another thing where you can start small by maybe choosing to not go on your phone immediately when you wake up!

9. Become more knowledgeable with what is happening in the world

You can learn so much just by reading the news, and you never know the types of conversations you could end up having with people. This just helps keep you well rounded and a part of society. It can also help you determine whether or not your goals are attainable depending on what is going on in the world, especially with investing!

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