Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Slut Shaming On the Subway

So an update real fast before I start this blog post:


I have finished the 20 in 20 Giveaways. There will be no more of those on this blog as I finished them in a spontaneous whim on twitter. I will be doing more giveaways on here in future for my upcoming book A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHTMARE so keep an eye out!

Now on to the actual blog post.

I have talked a lot on this blog about slut shaming and sex positivity. I have talked a lot about my personal belief that slut shaming is wrong and damaging. I have talked a lot about research I've done, articles I've read, and feminist theory. But I've never talked about personal experience with the issue. Why? Because I had none.

But tonight, on the subway, I had my first encounter with slut shaming, though in a milder sense of the term. But I wanted to write about it because I saw first hand how it can make a person feel, how it can make you second guess yourself, even when the comment is mild.

Tonight while on the subway with a friend an old lady (who may or may not have been a little crazy, this is New York after all) interrupted our conversation. First she addressed my friend, asking where she was born and enquiring about her hometown in California. It was kind of odd since she was a stranger, but whatever. No big deal. When my friend and I resumed our conversation, the woman butted in again about two minutes later. This time she addressed me.

"You should get dressed," she said.

I smiled at her and put on my Children and Old People Voice - you know, the voice you use when your'e talking to a very young person or a very old person who is confused. Don't pretend you don't have a voice like that. I replied, "But I am dressed."

"No you're not," she said. "You're exposing yourself."

Because I can't think of any other possible answer, I believe she must have been referring to the amount of cleavage I was showing. Below I have posted a picture of my EXACT outfit tonight so that you can judge for yourself.





And a closer look at my top, just in case that photo leaves you with any doubt.


Yes, this outfit does expose a little bit of cleavage. Enough to be considered inappropriate? I doubt it. I'd wear this outfit to school visits, actually. It's comfortable, it's cute, and - in my opinion - it's tasteful. And when you have a figure like mine (curvy) it's hard NOT to show a little bit of cleavage unless you are wearing a turtleneck.

And for that matter, no one has the right to judge another person's clothing based on something this trivial. I mean, my goodness, I'm a 20-year-old woman and it wasn't like I was walking around naked or anything. This is my body, my wardrobe, and my life.

And yet, even knowing this, and knowing the lady was likely a bit crazy, what she said got to me. I spent the rest of the night tugging on my shirt, worried I was somehow being inappropriate. I felt embarrassed and self-conscious and uncomfortable. I'm a girl who is all about embracing your body. I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin - comfortable enough to wear this *much* more revealing Marilyn Monroe costume on Halloween:




(BTW, that's my friend Rachael - the Book Muncher - dressed as Audrey Hepburn. Adorbs, right?)

I have never been the type to be self conscious or to second guess my clothing choices or how much skin I've shown (because I've never shown that much, and, um, so what if I had?). But tonight, after that lady said I was "exposing" myself, I felt . . . gross. I felt like I had done something wrong. Like people were looking at me and judging me and calling me names in their heads.

This is slut shaming. This is what it can do to a person - even the slightest little bit of it. I was made to feel guilty for "exposing" myself, when even if my outfit was revealing, that would be no body's business but my own (and the law's if TOO MUCH was exposed - but we won't go inot that because clearly I was not nude).

But if I was made so uncomfortable by this one little comment, what can the more intense slut shaming do? What does a girl feel when someone calls her a slut (which, as you know, often happens to girls who haven't even had sex yet)? How does it make her feel about herself as a person? What about when LOTS of people call a girl names based on her sexuality and/or the clothes she wears?

If one word from a likely senile old lady can make me - a hardened, anti-slut shaming adult feel uneasy and self-conscious, what can years of name calling and judgment do to a teenage or preteen girl?

So there are two things I want to say - first to everyone: Please, think about the little things you say. I don't know what was going through Old Lady's head whens he made her comment, but we all do it. We all make judgments about people based on how much skin they expose or how many people they've SUPPOSEDLY had relationships with. Whether you say it to their face or whisper it on a school bus or tell your friends when you're gossiping - that judgment could seriously hurt them. A lot more than you'd think.

And to girls' reading this: I know this is going to sound cliche, but I mean it - be who you want to be. Don't let anyone try to change you or pressure you into being someone you are not. Don't let anyone shame you. If you are comfortable with who you are, don't let anyone take that away from you just because they think you're being "slutty." Be confident. Be comfortable. Be proud.

And now, without further ado, I'm going to go crash. Good night, friends.

7 comments:

ChickLitGirl said...

love you kody.

Peter Bossley said...

wow, neither of those outfits are anything to be called even remotely too revealing. And like you said, none of her business anyway. I work on one of the biggest college campuses in the country, if she thought that was bad she should hang out here in the later spring or early fall.
I guess people really just can't mind their own business though. Hopefully you take your own advice and don't let it get to you too much.

Nina D'Angelo said...

Wow, I'd never heard that term slut shaming before but I guess it it the right term for it. Personally what you wear is your right and none of her business but having seen your outfit, it's damn right conservation to some of the clothes I have seen people wear and I have worn myself.

Anonymous said...

http://www.toma.jp/blog/333333/?entry_id=879603
http://nen360.nenonline.org/blog/most-modern-printers-are-made-work-specific-types-ink
http://archive.remdublin.com/blog/jiumengshici/2013/01/28/article-may-be-freely-reprinted-your-ezine
http://nen360.nenonline.org/blog/always-be-aware-where-you-search-your-spybot-virus-protetion
http://hollar.se/index.php?do=/blog/2282/there-m-a-r-c-b-y-m-a-r-c-j-a-c-o-b-s-%E3%83%90-%E3%83%83-%E3%82%B0-is-presently-only-one-option-fo/
http://huangshumei.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2013/01/these-days-ever.html
http://17951501.at.webry.info/201301/article_34.html
http://blog.qlep.com/blog.php/218220/718501
http://prsites.biz/myblog-admin/gratefulness-plays-a-major-role-in-your-happiness.html
http://www.toma.jp/blog/aaa333/?entry_id=870947
http://www.benches2swings.com/vocab/catpath/comparison-sites-other-hand-make-you-compare-various-manufacturers-and-models-and-enab
http://developinglinks.com/index.php?do=/blog/133975/having-too-many-spyware-removers-or-running-on-your-system-actually-could-b/
http://www.toma.jp/blog/aaa333/?entry_id=870937
http://www.soberhood.org/node/125734
http://www.moselbook.de/index.php?p=blogs/viewstory/144331

Anonymous said...

Brokersring.com - Learn how to turn $500 into $5,000 in a month!

[url=http://www.brokersring.com/]Make Money Online[/url] - The Secret Reveled with Binary Option

Binary Options is the way to [url=http://www.brokersring.com/]make money[/url] securely online

Selimut Buluk said...

I'm waiting for your Giveaway debe dilacious

Aisyah Putri Setiawan said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

Wanita Yang Biasanya Terkena Kanker Rahim
Cara Mengobati Gusi Bengkak Secara Alami
Obat Penghilang Penyakit Diabetes Melitus Tradisional
Cara Mengatasi Batuk Pada Anak Yang Tak Kunjung Sembuh
Obat Alami Penghilang Flu Untuk Ibu Hamil
Cara Menghilangkan Wasir Pada Ibu Hamil
Awas Bakteri Buruk Dalam Mulut Dapat Sebabkan Tumor Bibir
Khasiat Yang Ada Di Dalam Buah Markisa Bagi Kesehatan
Obat Batuk Untuk Anak Di Atas 3 Tahun
Nutrisi Agar Bayi Cerdas Sejak Ada Di Dalam Kandungan