An Open Letter To The Author Of "Young Ladies Of The SEC, Cover It Up!"
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Politics and Activism

An Open Letter To The Author Of "Young Ladies Of The SEC, Cover It Up!"

"Our bodies, and what we choose to put on them, are not your concern."

An Open Letter To The Author Of "Young Ladies Of The SEC, Cover It Up!"

Dear Rebecca Walden,

After you posted your recent commentary on the HuffPost website entitled: “Young ladies of the SEC, cover it up!” I am sure that you sat back and smiled. I am sure that you, in your heart, believed that you were making a positive difference in the lives of many young women. Mrs. Walden, I am here to tell you that you are wrong. I read what you had to say and my heart broke. The way that you eviscerated the young women that you saw at that Alabama-USC game was extremely concerning and, to use a word that you seem fond of, ‘misguided.' From a student in the Atlantic Coast Conference, I couldn’t help but feel as if your attacks were personal. My school is big on the tradition of wearing dresses and suits on game day. This is not a practice that everyone adheres to, but quite a few students choose to wear their finest black and gold gear on game days. It’s a personal choice that they are entitled to.

As you went after girls in dresses with their bra straps exposed who chose to wear high heels on game day, I thought back to my favorite game day outfit from last year: a black and white dress with cutouts that exposed the straps on my bralette with the crisscross back, and my high heel black boots. I knew that I qualified as one of these girls that you tried to shame into dressing differently.

There were some statements that you made that I felt I could not help but respond directly to:

“I wondered if your mother knew what you were wearing.”

My mother actually does not see it as her personal mission to control what I wear. From a young age, I was raised to express my individuality and creativity with my clothing choices. I was the five year old in the nursery at church in a Pocahontas dress up costume and plastic high heels. My mother raised me to respect myself and that I was valuable as more than a sexual object. In your post that was (I think) an atrocious attempt to encourage women, you systematically reduced every young woman to a piece of property that requires monitoring from her mother to make respectable choices.

“What we didn’t want, and what we never did, was to show up for a college football game looking like we belonged in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.”

I am trying to understand what you meant by this particular phrase. I believe you and your friends did not want to appear as if you were wearing lingerie and oozing sexuality at a football game. What I is where I ask you, why is it so bad to want to be a Victoria’s Secret model? If I want to own my confidence in my body, why is it so shameful to you? Our bodies are incredible things that are not inherently sexual. If I want to wear high heels, that is my prerogative. It isn’t my fault if someone chooses to sexualize that.

“Most of all, I hoped you would soon wake up to embrace the ethos shared by higher learning institutions everywhere – class. That lucky shaker tucked into the back of your on trend boot? The team logo you’re sporting on your cheek? The Greek letters sticker on your shirt declaring the sorority to which you belong and your loyalty to your team? All rendered classless by those ill covered curves you’ve made sure are on full display.”

This biting remark was the most appalling to me. I was horrified that you equated body positivity to being classless. You clearly have an issue with those of us who aren’t a size that you deem appropriate wearing clothing that displays those curves. I suppose that while I am a student at Wake Forest, in order to better represent the university with ‘class,' I should cover my arms, legs, chest, and whatever else has excess fat on it. I am thankful that when I recently met former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, that she was not aghast as you would be at my ‘classless’ display of my curvy arms and legs. Mrs. Walden, I hope that you will wake up to realize just how ignorant you are.

Our bodies, and what we choose to put on them, are not your concern. So on behalf of all of us young women who felt attacked by your post, who deserve to wear whatever we want without being looked at like a piece of meat: mind your own business.


Hayleigh Carroll

Wake Forest University

Class of 2017

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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