This whole “movement” forming now where girls rebel against dress codes has been on my mind for the past few days. My knee jerk reaction is to cheer them on. After all, they have a point. If a person is sexualizing a fifteen-year-old, as one sign that was hung in a school said, then yes they are the problem. That person is still a child. It is not ok to sexualize women. (There is equally as much to say about the sexualization and unrealistic standards applied to males as well.) When these girls are putting up signs that call out a school dress code as sexualization, I thought it was great that they were standing up for themselves. Yay confidence!
I thought of myself at that age. I was not overly confident and I blushed every time a guy looked my way. I felt like I wasn’t pretty enough, or popular enough. There were few lines I would not have crossed for the attention I craved. This includes dressing in a provocative manner. Luckily I had a mother who taught me that leaving some things to the imagination is sexier than bearing it all. Not every girl has that and others don’t want to listen to it still I thought to myself, they are just kids and they deserve to exercise their rights and we should encourage young people to move and make changes when they sense a problem.
Then today happened. I went shopping at a local outdoor mall. I’m in my early twenties so I hit up the junior’a sections for some good deals on several very specific items. By the way, why do men’s gym shorts cost half as much when they use twice the fabric? Anyone? Either way, It was the first time I have felt to old to be in the junior’a section. All of the “workout” clothes were trying to be cute instead of functional for the gym. I’m not going to look sexy at the gym. Not that I wouldn’t like to, I still like my crazy prints and colors. It is just that I am aware that I’m going to look like I’m dying. (If you don’t feel like you are going to throw up afterwards, you are not trying hard enough- DS Santi)
What really bothered me is that in a sea of crop tops and high waisted shorts that for some reason have a ton of material and none of it covers your butt, there were shirts glorifying the “dumb girl.” I am a firm believer in building your own brand and what you wear is the first impression people get of what you are about. Be proud to be a girl. Be proud and confident in your body and image. But in the hurry to fight dress codes and stand against injustices, don’t forget to respect yourself first. Whatever that may mean to you. It is possible to show you are confident in the way you speak and carry yourself in a way that doesn’t involve see through shirts, #checkmeout, and “boys are my favorite subject.” No wonder today’s girls feel the pressure to wear less. Look at the options our society is giving them! Mainstream media, down to the selection of clothes we offer young girls is manufacturing this pressure to be “sexy” at age 12! Then we send them to school and the culture persists because that is what we have taught them. Then we penalize them.
Wear whatever you want. Fight for that. While the hyper-sexualized world is unfair and has taught you this is the best way to make it through this world, don’t forget that what you wear tells other people who you are. What do you want them to see when they look at you?