I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s an interesting movement afoot. It stems from a Toronto police officer who, when asked at a York University safety forum what women can do to avoid being victimized, said they “should avoid dressing like sluts.”
Wow. So eloquently put.
Not so surprisingly, that statement caused quite an outrage, spurring a group of women to stand up against the whole ’you asked for it’ mentality when it comes to sexual violence. Pretty noble cause. Like many women and men, I’m a firm believer in ‘no means no.’ It kills me when they blame the victim. Given all of this, I prepared to stand firm behind these female idealists. Then they announced their mission:
They want to take the word ‘slut’ back.
Here’s a quote from their website (www.slutwalktoronto.com):
Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.
We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.
This groups course of action? SlutWalks! On scheduled days in a North American city near you, women everywhere are invited to dress up in their Saturday worst and strut their stuff for empowerment. Sluts of the world unite!
I’m going to say something incredibly shocking: a lot of moms like sex. They consider themselves ‘in charge of their sexual life.’ So does that authorize them to walk around in tight fitting mini dresses with their butts hanging out the bottom? Gross.
Granted, I can't say the whole promiscuity/sex for (ahem) ‘work’ thing applies to many of us. In truth, I doubt we're considered part of SlutWalk's target audience. If we are, though, allow me to say this:
I don’t want to take the word ‘slut’ back. I never had it in the first place. And if you are a woman who dresses like a tramp, has sex with a lot of men, and does both of these in such flagrant fashion that it’s obvious to all….well, all I’ll say is if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck....
Now don’t get me wrong. Rape is a violent act and rapists are downright sick. Some victims dress like hoochie mamas, others dress like nuns. Regardless, it is common knowledge that wearing provocative clothing invites sexual attention. You can't tell me you're shocked by this revelation.
Women have the right to dress any way they want. They also have the right to leave their car unlocked with the keys in the ignition. Is it wrong if someone steals their car? Absolutely. Could they have done anything to prevent it? Yes.
If you want to avoid being a victim, be smart. Dress smart. If you do decide to dress a little risqué one night and someone accosts you, I will strongly be in your corner. But, all in all, I’d rather you try and avoid the whole situation in the first place.
If you don’t want to be treated like a slut, the best course of action is not to dress like one. They're harsh words but they're also the truth.
So to you SlutWalk folks, please stick to your original message. That one I can get behind. But don't equate the word 'slut' with sexual empowerment. That just doesn't sit well with me.
At a football game? Really?
When it comes to dressing like a ho, you know what I’m talking about: too much here, not enough there, etc. So instead of discussing that issue (though, for the record, I will say that a red bedazzled bra with matching leather mini-skirt is a definite fashion ‘don’t’) I’m going to discuss this one: mom’s reaction when you dress that way. Let’s set the scene…
You’re in your bedroom, getting ready for a big night out. Looking yourself over in the mirror you say, “Yeah, this definitely won’t pass the ‘mom’ inspection but, dang, I look totally hot! And I am growing up aren’t I? Maybe, if I just sneak out the front door…
Your mom catches you with your hand on the doorknob and gives you THE LOOK. You aren’t going anywhere dressed like that, not without a fight. You take a deep breath and prepare for the worst.
Here’s where I come in. Want to know what your mom is thinking? For some moms I’ll be wrong, but for most I’ll be right. Typically, there are two responses:
Response #1: Oh my, GOD! I’m raising a (OMITTED DUE TO ADULT CONTENT FILTERS)! What have I done? What has SHE done? I hope I’m not too late. She needs an intervention! Call the priest/minister/rabbi/appropriate religious figure ASAP!!
You saw that one coming, didn’t you? Well, with everything parents hear today are you really that surprised? We’re constantly worried about our kids ‘making the right choices.’ We know it’s a battle. We’ve been there. Still, you'll find the parents who respond like that are the teeny tiny minority.
There's another response. It's the one most parents think and you just might be surprised. It goes a little something like this:
Response #2: Oh, man. She’s reached that age where she’s starting to explore her sexuality. Does she realize the way she looks? I hate to say it, but it looks like she’s asking for it. That can mean only one of two things…
She IS asking for it. Please say that's not the case. She's so young, too young. Does she really know what 'it' means? I'm not talking about the physical mechanics, but the aftermath-- the consequences, feelings, potential problems? (dramatic pause for reflection) Looks like it’s time for a serious talk.
And that outfit? Talk about attracting the wrong attention. She doesn’t look alluring, she looks easy. Every boy who sees her will think that way, too. That also goes for the girls…. Oh, man. The girls. I can’t wait for the rumors to start. (sigh)
Okay, let's not jump to conclusions here. Chances are she's NOT asking for it. She might not realize the kind of message she's sending. I really hope that’s the case....
Always remember, Mom is on you side. She wants you to look your best, feel your best, be your best. So what happens next? I don’t know. It’s up to you and her. All I can offer is the official mom fantasy:
Your mom gently guides you back to your room and helps you pick out an outfit. The two of you find something both attractive and appropriate. You talk about different ways to attract guys without looking desperate. This leads to a nice, heartfelt talk about (ahem) other things. It doesn’t feel awkward at all! As you ask and answer each other’s questions, you both feel the mother-daughter bond strengthen. You give her a hug and tell her how much you love her, how you feel you can come to her with any problem. “Mom,” you say. “You’re so wise. What would I do without you?” It ends with her walking you to the door. You look beautiful, confident. You’re priorities are straight. She smiles, marveling at what a wonderful young woman you’ve become. You give her a sweet kiss on the cheek, open the door and dash to your car -- a cute, but not too flashy one with a high safety rating that you purchased with your own money. As she watches you drive away, she wipes a happy tear from her eye. Then she saunters into the kitchen to grab a slice of zero-calorie French silk pie, only to discover the entire room is spotlessly clean, the work of magical fairies.
Hey, we can dream, can’t we?
Anyway, chances are it won’t go anything like that. But we want it to be. We really do. Actually, what we REALLY want is to never see you dressing like a ho. Talk about a dream come true.
So remember, no red bedazzled bras. Okay?
WARNING: The mama bear in me is about to come out....
Scandalous outfits…provocative dancing...
No, I’m not talking about the recent Miss USA Pageant. You know, the one with the “tasteful’ lingerie photo shoots and (surprise, surprise) subsequent pole-dancing debacle. I mean, come on. When’s the last time a Miss USA was caught up in a sexy photo scandal? Oh, that’s right. LAST year.
How regal of you, Miss USA
So why, might you ask, are stories like this becoming more common? I gotta say cell phones, with all their photo/video/straight-to-YouTube capabilities, sure haven’t helped. Thankfully, they didn’t have them when I was your age. Not that I did anything wrong, but I recall a few times when friends of mine engaged in stupid behavior that, had they been recorded, may have come back to haunt them as adults. Just sayin’. As for kids today? You might be surprised by the size of your digital footprint. All those videos and photos being taken while you’re goofing around with your friends? They don’t just disappear as soon as you hit the delete button. They’re out there…somewhere… just ready to be plucked from the grid when you least suspect it.Now I don’t mean to scare you. Scratch that. I do. But I do it with love. I don’t want you to be sitting in an office somewhere, gunning for your first ‘real’ job, only to have some interviewer pull out a picture of you straddling a mechanical bull suggestively in cut-off jeans and a ‘Grab ME by the Horns’ t-shirt. That would be bad.So be cautious, my dears. Be very cautious. I’m not saying don’t have fun, just don’t have too much fun when a camera’s pointed your way. Which leads me back to the beginning of this post. Remember? Scandalous outfits and provocative dancing?The place: Pomona, CaliforniaThe date: April 10, 2010The event: The World Dance competitionOriginally posted on YouTube and pulled, I was able to find this video at the Huffington Post. To view it, click here.
Just in case the video gets pulled again, I’ve posted a photo taken during this hot mess. What you're looking at is a group of seven year-old girls dancing suggestively to Beyonce's "Put a Ring On It.' That's right. Just seven years-old and their self-worth is already being tied to their sexuality. How sweet.
What’s next, lingerie photos shoots and pole-dancing?
And here’s what really gets me: The girls danced well -- incredibly well. Dare I say they rocked? Only I didn’t see that. All I saw were a bunch of little girls shaking their boom booms in sexy costumes. Their value as dancers? Suddenly devalued. Devalued like the girl who busted her butt in college to get a 3.5 GPA, only to be told she wasn’t qualified to work for Acme, Inc. due to…ahem, unbecoming photos taken during Spring Break ‘09.
So be careful out there, girls. Be very careful. Trust me, #1 on the Top Ten Things That Have Never Been Said list is: “I’m so glad I made that ‘Girls Gone Wild’ video!” Plus, if I ever see you in one, you’re going to get a SERIOUS time out.
Big Brother’s out there and he’s armed with an ITouch.