It was the Sophomore year of college and I was at a beach-themed party in the basement of a college fraternity. Because of the theme, many of the women were wearing a bikini top instead of a shirt, myself included. I was having a great night until a girl I knew approached me. For some reason, I felt like I knew what she was going to say. “I would put a shirt over your bikini top if I were you,” SHE said. A girl wears what she wants and it’s suddenly her against the world, even girls don’t support her anymore.
“It looks like you’re asking for it.”
It was funny because when she said that she had her arm around me, like a BFF saying something to help me. But, let’s be real girls, we all know there was judgment in her “concerned” statement. Honestly, I decided to play it dumb. Thus, I asked her “And what is it I’m asking for?” and the girl replied, “To be raped.” It was interesting to see a girl tell me that women “ask” to be raped. But, I cannot possibly say that this had been the first time something as such had happened. And the truth is, we have all been through that at some point in our lives.
Everyone is a feminist until a girl wears what she wants.
For centuries, society has taught us that revealing clothes on a woman mean she’s “asking for it,” while men can generally wear whatever they want. It’s simple, when a girl wears what she wants, it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I don’t even know when this whole “clothes shaming” started. I mean, think about it, we came on this Earth “naked” we were not born wearing clothes. Moreover, clothes are man-made, so whatever you believe in – God, or cells and Science – didn’t create clothing. Humans created clothes.
Still, we can see this “clothes shaming” habit everywhere in our society. For example, on August 31, 2018 – the historic day spent honoring the musical legend Aretha Franklin – the main news that the media covered was Ariana Grande’s dress. Ariana Grande, who performed the song “Natural Woman” as a tribute to the Queen of Soul, was torn apart for the short dress she chose to wear. Some critics argued it was too revealing and disrespectful especially “In the house of GOD.” Note what I said earlier, please and thank you.
Fashion and Beauty writer Joy Sewing shared this opinion when she wrote, “The church is often one place where dress codes matter. A butt-skimming mini skirt will get you ushered to a back pew, where someone’s grandmother hands you a coat to put over your legs.” Ah, don’t we just love these judgmental women who are feminists until we wear something “inappropriate.”
It doesn’t quite end there though. What happened after was way worse.
Although Ariana Grande hasn’t given her statement on the topic of discussion, a lot of the audience noticed that Bishop Charles H. Ellis was groping Ariana. To make matters worse, many people were even blaming Ellis’ inappropriate touch on Ariana’s outfit. Because victim blaming is where it’s at. Whether or not you agree with Ari’s fashion choice for the funeral, unwanted physical contact is never the victim’s fault.
But this isn’t the first time clothing has been used to blame and demean women. It also isn’t the first time clothing has been used as a distraction from more serious issues at hand. Remember when Hillary Clinton was running for president and EVERYONE was talking about her choice of suits? Who cares if a woman is running for president? We should know where her suits are from.
But, a profession that has seen “Clothes Shaming” a lot is that of Sports Athletes.
For female athletes, clothing has been a source for criticism in a way that it has never been for male athletes. The 2015 Twitter campaign #covertheathlete started as a way to show just how frequently female athletes are asked about their outfits and appearances during interviews. Yet, their male counterparts are asked about their athletic goals. The double standards seem exaggerated, but they are the truth.
Let’s take another example of female athletes being judged because of their clothing.
For instance, the backlash Serena Williams received for wearing a tutu during the US Opens. The tutu was a statement she made because of the judgment her catsuit had previously received. The 39-time grand slam winner partnered with Nike to create the tutu ensemble. And it screamed no matter what she’s wearing, she will still be the fiercest competitor in the game.
Whether it’s judging a woman’s clothing or using her outfit as justification for harassment and/or assault, clothing is constantly used as a way to bring women down. Seeing this happen so casually in sports, media, and amongst celebrities continues to normalize victim blaming. I think it’s about we changed this, don’t you?
The first step is definitely checking yourself. Like, women, giving advice is okay but judgment isn’t.
Next time you see a friend telling someone “She is asking for it.” Make sure to quickly correct them. NO ONE asks to be raped, NO ONE deserves to be judged because of human-made products. And NO ONE should continue being “clothes shamed” by society.
XoXo Queen Ivy