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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Open Letters to my Childhood Friend

"There's something about childhood friends that you just can't replace" ~ Lisa Whelchel
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As a young adult who has lived in New York City their entire life, I have come across countless people at various people in my lifetime. While some faces were part of a short time, some individuals were significant factors in different phases of my life. The individuals who have left a substantial impact on my memory were my childhood friends. These individuals were the first group that would push me to understand the meaning of friends.

Here is an open letter to my childhood best friend, who was a significant influence in my life.

Dear friend,

I remember the time we spent in a local Queens neighborhood. I remember the school years, the summers we ran through the park, the morning when we would play in the sprinklers, and the time we spent in each other’s homes. Those were times when we interacted and spent the most time together. These moments were some of the best memories I hold today of my childhood. I thank you for those memories.

I remember being the first to move out the neighborhood because my family dynamics changed. But a few months later found out you were leaving as well. You wouldn't just move neighborhoods as I did, but you moved across the country.

However, we got some time before you would leave. I no longer saw you at school. I would no longer spend the summer with you. Lastly, I wouldn't be friends with you anymore as the distance would make it difficult to keep in touch. We spent a few weekends and a few summer weeks before you left for the west coast.

I remember moments with you and the other kids. We would study and play together. Despite having other friends, we connected because we spoke the same language, ate the same foods, and even loved watching some of the similar shows. But, it didn’t matter because you weren’t there. Your mom and my grandmother stayed in touch for a little bit. But then my grandmother got sick and heard any news about you and your family became merely impossible.

However, I remember being on MySpace. Yes, I was a little kid on Myspace. Where I connected with you again, but time zones, school, and our lives still kept us from really talking. We acknowledge each other and even exchanged how we had changed over the years we were not in touch. With time and social media change, I connected with you on numerous platforms and eventually through text.

But at this point, it doesn't matter. You had new friends, so did I. We faced high school, college and grew up in two different parts of the country. We cannot change the fact that we are not the closest and we may never be a part of each other lives today. We weren’t who we were in the Queens Neighborhood in the early 2000's. We must merely adore the past and enjoy the memories we hold, as they play a part of our lives.

I see how far you have come and can say that I’m happy for you. I also wish you all the best for your future as it seems that you have everything at grasps and are heading for better.

I hope that we eventually have the opportunity to meet and connect as adults who have experienced life in such different manners and opposites side of the country. It would be interesting to see how our lives have changed since the last time we met.

Thanks for being a part of my childhood.

Your friend in NYC.

Cover Image Credit: google

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To Ole Miss's Incoming Class Of 2022

Make the most of your freshman year.
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To the future freshmen of Ole Miss,

First and foremost, congratulations on choosing the best college! I know you will love it as much as I do. At first, I was a bit skeptical of moving down south while knowing absolutely no one, but it turned out to be one of my best decisions. For those of you who are as nervous as I was, here are a few tips:)

1. Don't be afraid to make friends and go out of your comfort zone.

On my second day of classes, I went to up to this girl who I recognized from orientation. I knew she was a freshmen and also from St. Louis and I just wanted a friend to sit by. Flash forward 8 months later and we are best friends and currently have every single class together. I don't know if I would have been able to survive my freshmen year without her. Don't be afraid to go up to someone on the first day of class. Who knows they might become one of your best friends.

2. Get involved.

Make sure to go to the activity fair even if it sounds a bit lame. It is good to keep busy for the first few months to avoid getting bored or homesick. Also, you can meet a lot of cool people and join so many different organizations that are offered! Consider joining Rebelthon, it was one of my favorite events of freshmen year!

3. Consider rushing even if you do not want to.

I was super nervous about Greek life down in the South especially since I am from out of state. But, I am so happy I rushed and found a home at an amazing sorority. Some of the people I have met through my sorority have become some of my closest friends.

4. Complete the Freshman Bucket List.

Eat chicken on a stick, go in the tunnels, and if you aren't too afraid- sneak onto the football field.

5. Keep your dorm room clean.

Trust me you do not want a smelly dorm room or ants.

6. Take a lot of pictures.

Please capture your outfits for spring parties because in about 10 years you are going to ask yourself why on earth did you wear that. Also, snap a few pictures of the beautiful red tulips.

7. Tailgate in the Grove.

One of my favorite things about the fall semester was football games. Even if you don't know anyone who has a tent, plenty of families will welcome you into their tent. After tailgating, make sure to head to the stadium for Locking the Vaught (and maybe try to stay for at least 1 whole game).

8. Stay connected with your friends over Christmas Break.

Honestly leaving for Christmas break was one of the hardest things. I'm pretty sure my friends and I all cried because we didn't want to be apart for 6 weeks. Make sure to Facetime them a lot:)

9. Study hard.

College is a lot harder than high school. Study and stay on top of your homework. You do not want to get behind in a class.

10. Have fun and make memories.

There is nothing like freshman year, so make the most of it.


Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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