Day 24 - Clothes Make the Woman - NOT

I know I've been phoning it in a lot this month. It's a sort of Catch-22 where having to post every day makes me post something, but I don't feel like I have time to do anything really thoughtful or substantial, especially because November has been busier than usual. But before November, the lack of deadline and motivation meant I didn't have the drive to do anything really thoughtful or substantial then either. 

The cute-as-a-button Ukrainian sales girl that seduced me into buying the magical eye serum in Barrie threw in a facial scrub for free that she said I had to use once a week. She said (in an adorable accent): "Tell me you won't be too busy or too lazy." Sorry, darling, it appears I'm either one or the other ALL THE FREAKING TIME. 

One of the things I've been meaning to post about, back when there was another public furor about school dress codes and how they're fairly discriminatory towards girls. There was also a post on Facebook by a teen-aged or young adult woman (or someone pretending to be one), talking about how she was wearing jeans and a midriff-baring shirt, and how this was the outfit she wore while doing her job and making a baby laugh, while talking with her friends, and then when overhearing a mother tell her child that she was going to get what was coming to her because she obviously didn't respect herself enough to dress like a lady.

Yesterday there was another comment about how women should "respect themselves" on a blog post talking about how women generally deal with either flat-out misogyny and sexism or smaller micro-aggressions related to the same thing every day.

I'm still not taking the time to assemble the post I meant to write about this. I'm just going with what I can think of right now. In the first place, I hear a lot of people (some of them my friends) saying: "What's wrong with modesty?" Well, nothing is inherently wrong with modesty. If modesty is a part of your religious beliefs, or just your general philosophy, then by all means, practice it. But you don't get to make other people adhere to that belief, just like you don't get to make them take Communion or give ten percent of their earnings to the church.

A body is just a body. Every single thing you ascribe to a female body is just that - something YOU ascribe to it. Boobs are just boobs. We have them because we might be able to feed a child with them, assuming we choose to have one. They weren't put there for your gratification, and whether you like seeing them or find them offensive, that's not our issue - it's yours.

One of my friends said she has a male teacher friend who feels uncomfortable when girls in his class show too much skin. Suck it up, I say. He has the same right everyone has - to not be made to feel uncomfortable by someone else's actions or behaviour. If the girls are acting inappropriately towards him, they should be disciplined. If he's uncomfortable because of the very fact of a non-shapeless-garment-draped female body? That is SO not the girls' problem. Go have an argument with the goddamned rape culture that has existed since culture itself became a thing, and probably beforehand.

Now on to that fucking ridiculous empty-of-any-usable-content statement, "respect yourself". Apparently if I respect myself, that will prevent men from perpetrating a host of indignities on me, from paying me less for equivalent work to raping me. Right. All I have to do is respect myself. Good to know it's so easy. Oh, and respecting myself means I should make sure I'm covered up so no one can see "everything I have". Because everything I have extends solely to my boobs and ass.

Yeah, fuck that. If you ever see someone wearing a t-shirt saying "I don't respect myself", THEN you can base your opinion of their self-respect on their clothing. Actually, not even then - maybe they just spilled something on their other shirt and had to borrow that one.

Okay. So that's done. Now I'm going to go scrub my face, because she was seriously SO cute, and I promised.


Nicole said…
Ha! This: "Apparently if I respect myself, that will prevent men from perpetrating a host of indignities on me, from paying me less for equivalent work to raping me. Right. All I have to do is respect myself. Good to know it's so easy."

We should have known!
StephLove said…
To take this back to dress codes and not just women's clothes in general, I find it complicated. On the one hand, I see how they are more restrictive on girls than boys and I agree that's a problem. But I also find it problematic that what's considered fashionable for girls is so much tighter/more revealing than what's considered fashionable for boys. To fit in, a girl might have to reveal more than she really wants to, so it's not just an issue of choice, wearing what you want, etc. Girls are subject to pressure from both sides (wear less! wear more!) and it seems hard to me to find a middle ground. And my daughter is only 9. The worst of this is ahead.
Bibliomama said…
Fair enough, Steph. I've never experienced that particular problem with Eve, but I'm sure some people do. I guess my point is that either pressure is equally unacceptable to me.
Maggie said…
Amen to all of this. It's frustrating how pervasive this is. For example Youngest (6.5) does climbing and it's right after school so my mom takes her to it and I pick her up. The other day when my mom called to tell me that she'd dropped Youngest off she also told me in a very serious voice that I have to be sure Youngest doesn't wear the same T shirt to climbing again because when she was reaching for some climbing holds you could see her stomach!!!! It was all I could do not to tell my mom that her thoughts and statement were complete bullshit, that it's garbage that she'd even be thinking about that w/r/t a 6 YEAR OLD, and if she ever said anything of the kind to Youngest I would be extremely upset. Suffice it to say I was raised with plenty of shame/anxiety about my body and I'm doing the best I can to keep my kids from having the same experience and society (and my mother evidently) are making it really hard. Sigh. /rant

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