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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Teenage Girls, body image and "dressing like sluts"

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Author Topic: Teenage Girls, body image and "dressing like sluts"
Jill2000Plus
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There's a thought I had today while reading an article on Slate about teenage girls "dressing like "sluts"" and why they do this, someone may have mentioned this before but I was thinking that on the one hand people are concerned about the poor body image of teenage girls (which I agree is really sad and societal sexism has a lot to do with it), but then when a teenage girl has enough confidence in her body to wear revealing clothes (I know that not every girl who wears revealing clothes has body confidence but I would say there is a strong correlation), we complain about that too, and never even think to throw in a "I'm glad you don't feel so ashamed of your body that you think you're obligated to hide it away even if you don't want to and/or it's the middle of summer". Has anyone else noticed this? Does anyone have any thoughts on it? Also, I recognise that there are many teenage boys who have body image issues and I do not want to imply that this is not the case or is not a problem, but I do not think teenage boys have to deal with the specific dynamic I've described here, hence my gender specific language, though if you're a trans guy who's had to deal with this based on people's misgendering of you please feel free to weigh in too [Smile]

Also, some d-bag in the comments said that girls who dress like this do so because they haven't realized that modesty will attract men who will cherish them while "sluttiness" will attract men who will abuse them, which is nasty victim-blaming bullshit and very much ties into the societal narrative that goes "sluttiness may not make a woman worthless if she's sufficiently miserable being a slut so we can view her as a pitiful victim instead, sluttiness is a decision women should be free to make but it's a bad decision and will lead to that women being unhappy, etc."

(and so it's clear, I am not saying there is any shame in being a victim of abuse, I am saying that it is wrong to pity victims in a condescending and judgmental way that involves viewing them as in need of saving from themselves and doesn't involve listening properly to their experience of what happened and working with them to help them heal and feel empowered).

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
moonlight bouncing off water
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Hmm, well I have some thoughts that don't necessarily pertain to the word "slut" but that certainly pertain to my experiences as someone presumed to be female. What annoys me is the concept that women must wear tops at all times whereas men can swim, walk around the house, play the "skins" half of an improvised sports game, etc completely topless and have it not be considered indecent. I personally would prefer not to have to wear a shirt if I didn't feel like it, but the societal rules prevent me from doing so. (The actual law, not so much, it is legal here for women to be topless anywhere it is legal for men to be).

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

Posts: 864 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
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Well, and that whole idea of sluttiness is just so super-loaded that it loses meaning entirely. IN other words, it's used as an insult and still doesn't actually mean anything. I think too that when people say someone dresses like a slut they're saying something very different from "oh she dressses immodestly" or "she wears revealing clothing". They may define it as the same, but the baggage around "slut" is just too heavy. ..which is why, perhaps, I don't think we're at the point culturally where "slut walks" are going to have the positive impact they're intended to. The word still does more harm than good.

I'm riffing from what you were talking about Jill. I agree that it's a double standard to want young women to have healthier body image but to so closely dictate how that body image can be expressed.

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Robin

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Jill2000Plus
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Agreeing with you on that - it's just as important to defend the right of women not to have their exposed bodies viewed as automatically sexual as it is to defend the right of women to wear revealing clothes for reasons that are to do with expressing their sexuality and wanting to feel attractive (which of course is not always the reason, but it's one of the reasons and is a perfectly valid one).

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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