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?

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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Empowering Mantras That Soothe The Soul

Learn and repeat these mantras to center yourself.

January is the month of change. We can decide to change at any time during the year, but the start of the new year pushes us to be our best self. If you have something you want to stop, or start doing, now is the time. As I sit in Spain far away from my family, friends, and peanut butter (which is shockingly impossible to find in Spain), I’m confronted with a new challenge and a new opportunity to grow. Although studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and I am more than grateful, I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments of crying in the shower and longing for my body pillow at home (his name is Maxwell and he is pink, and no, I’m not pregnant).

Whenever I get overwhelmed I find it extremely helpful to stop, take a deep breath (or sixty) and repeat calming mantras to myself until the feeling passes. Mantras can be words or sentences and phrases that you can repeat to yourself anytime, although traditionally they have been used during meditation. The goal is to help focus the mind internally and block out any external distractions. It helps to center you and mentally decongest. Scientifically, the benefits are incredible.

The repetition of mantras have been linked to a decrease in heart rate, brain waves and the ability to slow down breathing.

“I am enough”

Fake it till you make it. Believe it or not, say it over and over again. We are what we think, so think positive.

“This too shall pass”

Life goes on even when you think it can’t. We have to experience the peaks and valleys to live a full life. Remember that in a bad moment, it will pass and a new feeling will replace it. And treasure and revel in the good moments because you know what you have overcome and what you may face in the future.

“I am grateful”

Your nail breaks, you spill your coffee, you tumble down a flight of stairs. Plenty of things happen throughout our days that may cloud our overall perception. Challenge yourself in those negative moments to list three events or people you may have overlooked that made your day brighter. Gratitude literally alters the way our brains process our emotions and thoughts and the best part is that we are in control of making our thoughts positive.

“Let it Be”

Time and time again we learn this lesson. It is what it is, what will be will be. That’s not to say it’s always a graceful moment of acceptance, but there’s a certain freedom in knowing that so many things are out of our control.

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5 Must Things To Do During Second Semester

Looking for things to do during this winter season? This list has got you covered.

For many of us who have just started our second semester, or are about to, the stress of college is about to come at you full force and smack you in the face. Personally, I find second semester to be much more difficult compared to first semester.

First semester is filled with tailgates, football games, hayrides, pumpkin patches, Thanksgiving, Halloween, the list can go on and on. Due to the fact that there's so many more activities to do first semester than second, that can lead to a semi-dull second semester. With that being said however, here's a list of things you can do to prevent all that boredom.

1. Go to other sporting events that your college offers you

College sports are one of the best parts of living in America so you might as well take full advantage of them. Even though football season may be over, hockey and basketball season are in full swing right now. Also, by end of March and beginning of April, baseball will start as well. Going to games as a student is a great way to have fun with your friends while not having to bust open the piggy bank.

2. Pajama and movie nights

A simple enough idea, but has the potential to have tons of fun if you decide to give it your all. During the winter, especially up north, it can be brutally cold so staying inside is priority majority of the time. But that doesn't mean there's not a way to enjoy all that cold.

Curl up with your best friends whether it be in your dorm room or apartment while showing off the funniest or best pajamas you own. Pick out your favorite movies and settle down for a night full of laughter, gossip, and memories.

3. Enjoy the outdoors

Even though I just said that winters up north can be brutally, there's still plenty to offer when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. Go ice skating and watch all of your friends struggle to stay upright and fall down, or go skiing/snowboarding and enjoy the beauty of the snow while getting a great workout in.

Or, you could be like my friends and steal dining hall food trays and use those to sled down some hills. Having these options can help you look forward to the winter and enjoy activities other than staying inside.

4. Go to a museum

Learning about different cultures or parts of history can be a lot more fascinating than people would like to admit. Go to your local college museum and check out cool facts there or drive to a city around you to check out other museums as well. If you're close to a moderate to large city, you will usually be able to find a history museum, aquarium, or some type of science museums. These are fun ways to learn new facts about the past, present, and future of our world.

5. Day trip

Spontaneous (or not spontaneous) day trips can be a blast with your friends or significant other. Choose a random place to go and drive there. Find something to do wherever you go. You'll make some great memories that'll last you a lifetime. It doesn't even have to be far, it can be only 30 minutes away and still be just as fun. Where the destination is doesn't matter, it's who you're going with that matters.

I hope these 5 ideas of what to do in the winter will help you enjoy your second semester of college while still having as much as first semester. After all, you're only in college for four years, so take advantage of everything you can do while you can!

Cover Image Credit: Maddie Blank

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