In my university newspaper in the lifestyle section, there are weekly trends. A while ago, it was the creeper shoe which I have always associated with the shoes worn by those afflicted with polio. I mean no disrespect. When I was younger, I remember a man who I used to see very often in Brixton. He had polio and his shoe looked like the creeper shoe hence my nickname for the fashionable shoe being 'polio shoes'.
Moving onto this week's trend, its hot pants that are the fashionable thing to be seen wearing. When I used to think of hot pants, albeit rarely, it was those horrid silver PVC ones that the Cheeky Girls wore. But last summer, I saw the new style of hot pant. I was horrified by them and before the jibes start, I was not horrified because I can't wear them. In my slimmest day, you'd not catch me wearing them. I was horrified because I find them incredibly sexist, demeaning and perverted.
Perverted why? Late BBC TV funny man Jimmy Savile has been turned from hero to Nero overnight when it came to light that he liked to sit in the comfort of young ladies and do more than talk. Now, think about 70s fashion. They also had miniskirts and short clothes, but women also wore flared trousers, glasses more nerd than hipster and funny slogan tee shirts. A young girl today wears hot pants as young as age 14 and what we sometimes see, are her body parts. Her buttocks are there, in our face, for all to see. Jimmy Savile is dead and over 300 women are saying they were abused by him. He is no longer seen in a good light. With these modern hot pants that are showing the undercarriage, Jimmy Savile need only sit in Oxford Street.
In a world where men used to have to trawl the internet, magazines, phone boxes and the like to get his sexual kicks, all a man has to do nowadays is walk down the street and there is a girl, barely at womanhood, showing everything she has. When I see these incredibly short shorts, I get red-faced. I feel embarrassed, ashamed and I feel dirty. I feel like I've partaken in staring at them in the wrong way when maybe all I did, was turn to look around me.
Whether you are 14 or 17 or 22, I always want to ask these women why they would show their bodies off. Of course the answers that would come back would be, "why not? Its fashion. It's not hurting anyone. It's my choice. I like wearing them." Ok fine, I'm glad you do. But I do wonder if the shorts were designed by someone who had the wrong idea about what constitutes as fashion. Forgive me, but I'd take legwarmers any day over one of those.
It's brazen of me to say it, but I do think 14 year olds wearing hot pants, is wrong.
The Slut Walk in Toronto Canada on 3 April 2011 was a voice for young women who, dressed smartly or casually, had been raped or sexually assaulted. These women were fighting against the internet past-time of slut shaming which is where a man or woman will call a girl a name for engaging in sexual acts with a number of people. However, this was being taken a step further and these internet trolls were targeting women and calling them sluts and their only sexual act, was forced upon them. Rape. In relation to the slut walk, women were also mad that they were being told that they were dressing to be raped. So they turned it on its head, they dressed as sluts.
I would never agree with this. To suggest that wearing a dress is asking to be raped is wrong. My worry comes when a woman dresses to be seen and doesn't think that whilst she may be feeling fun and isn't harming anyone and DOES NOT deserve to be harmed, that there isn't a man out there who sees your clothes and wants to harm you.
If women are wearing these hot pants where you can see a woman's butt cheeks, this is akin to telling people you are for sale. This does sound strong, but is it wrong? In prison in America, men wear their trousers down low to show that they are ready for...you know. In the Western World, women wear hot pants to look attractive and to feel good about themselves? Yes this is a question because it garners thought and an answer. Must you show your body off to feel good?
How does the slutwalk and my view link together? They do because how we dress as women is so important. How we dress as women, is also a sort of way we view ourselves. You may say I'm wrong, but when you feel good about yourself, you put your clothes on and you make sure you look presentable and you leave the house happy. You don't wear new clothes without taking a shower. You don't wear dirty clothes on a clean body (on purpose anyway). We dress how we feel about ourselves.
Women for the past two hundred years have battled to feel empowered and they did it in the fashion of the day. Emmeline Pankhurst and the like did it just fine. Florence Nightingale donned a nurse hat and empowered women. But I firmly believe that it is hard to tell a man that a woman has a voice and a view and is more than a body, when it is all that is on show. Look at these women on the slut walk. They were ordinary girls dressed normally and they were taken advantage of. How much more so could a girl who is wearing so little be taken advantage of?
This is one of those open ended posts where people yell, "It's my body and I'll do what I want!" or someone says, "this is what I believe!" Maybe I am even mixing the two up. Women will always be allowed to have a say in what they wear. Nobody has taken that right away. But I am asking for women to rethink the clothes that are just too short or don't cover up enough. Not in case of rape but because it's just not necessary to show everything off. You have a chest, so do I. You have a stomach, so do I. You have a backside, so do I.
If women want to be empowered, DO NOT listen to Beyonce. Women don't run the world. They run 6.86% of the world as there are only 14 female heads of government: Germany, Liberia, Argentina, Bangladesh, Croatia, Iceland, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Slovakia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand and Denmark. There are 204 sovereign nations. I must thank this funny video on YouTube for those stats
Also Beyonce is famous and rich, so she no longer has to fly economy or wear bad weaves or eat at KFC but still has to answer to some kind of man.