Modesty Training? Or Slut Shaming?

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 24th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2i3wv01k/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Education

I can't believe this is happening in my home state. And at the same time, I am not in the least surprised. While I think it is appropriate to teach modesty, I believe a line is crossed when one gender must work harder to be modest than the other.

Siloam Springs Dress Code Lecture

Check out this news story from my local TV station here. Apparently, one student told her mother about the lessons she was being taught at a "modesty" assembly. The girls and boys were separated, and the girls were told that their bra straps, cleavage, and short pants were distractions to the boys' learning. As you can see in the video, the administrator feels he is trying to prevent girls from being harassed by boys. He does not understand that he is contributing to the culture of slut shaming.

Slut Shaming

This Wikipedia article on slut shaming clearly outlines slut shaming as making girls and women feel like their dress or behavior causes other people (men/boys) to react. Slut shaming undermines the ability of other people (men/boys) to have control over their sexual urges. Slut shaming puts all the responsibility on one gender -- women. Slut shaming is demeaning to men and women.

My Problem and My Solution

I posted the following response to the FB link to the KNWA article:

Uniform dress code: boys and girls should be expected to keep chests and butts covered in public areas of the school (allowing for their pants to be down in the bathrooms or for them to be changing clothes in PE). That's pretty simple -- right? And covers all the grievances -- right? But even if a heavy-set boy has "breasts," we don't make him cover up. Many young men have well-developed six packs to make young women swoon. We don't demand they keep shirts on their sexy selves. Only if a boy's pants are on the ground -- or headed that way -- are they are told to pull them up -- and only for practical reasons. Saying nothing about the idea that boys with their pants down look like clowns or thugs, not sex objects.

I don't object to a lesson on the dress code or modesty. But telling girls that a bra strap will pervert a boy's thoughts -- even if those exact words were not said, the girls knew what they were being taught. And I'm glad ONE girl knew it was wrong and that her mother was willing to go to the school and stand up for her daughter.

It was bad enough that boys thought it was amusing to pop girls' bra straps -- unexposed straps, and THROUGH the girls' shirts -- when I was in school. And I'm very fortunate that when it happened to me, a teacher told the young man to keep his hands to himself, that my clothes were not his toys. Otherwise, I might have thought, like so many of my female peers did, that the assault upon my person should have been tolerated. Like these SS ladies are being taught.

This girl probably will have a hard(er) time at school now. But I hope that other boys, girls, and teachers will be paying attention and offering support. Boys are not rapists and girls are not sex objects. It is entirely possible for teen-aged girls and boys to be friends in non-sexual ways. And we need to support and encourage such equality EVERY SINGLE CHANCE WE GET!!

Your comments

You are free to disagree with me. As clearly many people in my community do. But if you have girls in your life, I hope you will consider making sure they are treated positively and equally to their male peers. Teach boys self control, and they won't grow up to be rapists. Teaching girls to accept being victims: that their clothing, smiles, and actions, -- not the actions of others -- determines whether or not they might be raped, is hurtful to boys and girls who grow up to be men and women. All should be treated equally and with respect!

Tags

Boys, Double Standard, Double Standards, Dress Code, Girl, Girls, Rape Story, Rape Victim, Rape Victims, Rapists

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
24th Aug 2013 (#)

we live in a strange world at a strange time Phyl...thank you...

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author avatar Terry Trainor
24th Aug 2013 (#)

Weird, should all the young men and women sit around in the summer with great big coats on? Great post Phyl.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
24th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks! This is one of those things that just really gets under my skin about my home state. Just slightly tyrannical in its treatment of girls and women.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
24th Aug 2013 (#)

Well, a girl is known for her dignity, modesty and the life they lead. Many look worthier than thou, nuns included, but have some of the cheapest and most indecent habits behind the garb.
I know I wear low neck, transparent tops and short skirts, shorts too for that matter but with it comes the manner of presentation, how you dress with your body to combat transparency etc. I always know my style of dressing as I love linings and lace apart from being fashionably unique.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
25th Aug 2013 (#)

Phyl, this is very thought provoking and well done as usual. We all need to be careful about the messages that we send to kids. Also, you are so right about teaching boys self-control.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
25th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Connie. And Lady A, I agree. There is no direct connection between viewable skin and sex appeal. There are men who find the mystery of burkas very attractive, and women who frequent nudist colonies without being raped. Neither is right or wrong. If a school wants a dress code fine, but restricting one gender differently from the other creates more problems than it solves. Thanks for your comment.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Aug 2013 (#)

Thought provoking, Phyl. I feel tradition and culture plays a part. In Asia girls were over protected but things are changing fast. But if law and order is lax they have to take more care as they are vulnerable - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
27th Aug 2013 (#)

I know that is the reality, Siva. I hope minds and hearts can change so it is not always that way. Thank you for your comment.

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