Sex, the "Slut", and Dressing for Women

I started by Googling “women dressing like sluts.”

Just to clarify, I don’t condone the use of the word “slut,” and don’t think that any of the women in the mentioned photos and articles are “sluts.”

In my internet search, I came across an article on the Daily Mail’s website: “Why DO young women go out dressed like this?” by Tanith Carey. Carey hit the nighttime streets on Manchester, England to examine what women were wearing to go out on the town. The article is nothing short of snippy, referring to one of the young women they speak to as wearing an outfit that, “lends a whole new meaning to the term ‘Little Black Dress.’” The young women interviewed in the article allude to the attention they receive from other women. They mention that another group of young women referred to one of their party as a “slag.” One of the young women being interviewed, Ruby, says that, “They’re just jealous because we’re beautiful and look young.”

Is it entirely jealously, though?

A recent article on the New York Times’ website (“A Cold War Fought by Women”) by John Tierney reported on studies that revealed that women acted aggressively towards attractive women wearing revealing clothing because of competitiveness.

We are all familiar with female competition, whether it was in high school or in the workplace. However, one of the document cited in the article (“Cultural suppression of female sexuality”) by Roy F. Baumeister and Jean M. Twenge says that sex is a limited resource women use to negotiate with men. When women dress themselves scantily, other women see them as hoarding that resource, and competitiveness kicks in.

Upon reading this, I couldn’t help but firstly wonder why women have to use sex as a means of negotiation, but secondly, I wondered why there had to be one definition of sex, or sexy.

It should be entirely up to a woman how much of her body she wants to reveal (within means of the law, naturally) and it should not fall upon anyone else to judge her for it. If women are acting aggressively towards other women, or “slut-shaming” them, jealous or not, it is a slam against the entire gender.

There’s no reason for anyone to fear all of the “sexy” being used up by other women. There’s plenty to go around because you make your own. There is no one definition of what is sexy, and the meaning of it changes from person to person. Even with men.

If you see a woman who’s choice of attire doesn’t necessarily work with your personal style ethics, then that’s fine. There’s no merit in outright shaming a woman for how she dresses, though. Enough flip remarks and judgements come from men, who are supposedly the targets for provocative dressing. Should women band together against judgements put onto our own sex, and not adding to them?

 

Picture Source: Dailymail.co.uk (North News & Pictures Ltd.)