Halloween is this Friday! In order to ensure a safe space, be conscious about the way you judge and perceive the way others dress.
According to “Mean Girls,” arguably, the most referenced movie on college campuses, “In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In ‘Girl World,’ Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”
However, this is not how our society works. Every day or night, no matter the setting, people are (for the most part) always judging women based on how they dress. A woman who dresses in a revealing manner (i.e., by wearing form-fitting or low cut clothing) is deemed a slut. This leads to slut shaming.
In general, slut shaming is a huge issue and it occurs everywhere, even on college campuses. This is when people deem women as being sexually promiscuous based on their appearances and/or set of behaviors. Slut shaming is wrong because it perpetuates the following ideas: women in revealing clothing have no self-respect and are sexual objects.
Self-respect cannot, and will never, be measured by the amount of skin a person reveals. Self-respect is how individuals show respect for themselves, and can be gained and displayed in many ways, i.e., feeling comfortable with yourself and/or your body. Did it ever occur to anyone that women can dress for themselves, and not to attract men?
Slut shaming perpetuates the idea that women are sexual objects. This can be exemplified when a person judges the rate of difficulty of bringing someone to bed, i.e., saying that a person is “easy.” Just because a woman is dressed a specific way or is flirtatious, does not mean that she wants or is looking to have sex.
Even if a woman readily wants to have sex, whether with a single or multiple partners, this does not mean that the woman is a slut. Having sex is natural. Just because someone is seemingly engaging in many sexual encounters does not give anyone the right to judge. The way that I see it, who cares if someone is having a lot of sex or not? I have no right to judge them, and another person does not have that right either.
I think that the worst aspect of slut shaming is that women are most likely guilty of slut shaming. I have witnessed women, strangers, and friends slut shame throughout West Chester: on campus, at the bars, and even off campus. Every woman, at some point in her life, has been guilty of shaming another woman. I know that I was guilty of slut shaming, until I learned how problematic it is.
Although I have mostly encountered situations on campus where women shame other women, this does not mean that women are the only ones guilty of the act. Men can slut shame women too. We live in a society that ingrains these judgments in our mind, and we almost never consciously question why we constantly shame other women.
So, if you want to dress sexy on Halloween or any day of the week, go for it! Respect each other without judgment. No one has the right to shame or police you about the way you dress. Your number of sexual partners or hemline does not define your self-worth. Remember, self-respect is how individuals show respect for themselves—not the amount of respect that you have for that person.
Stephanie Frasca is a fourth-year communication sciences and disorders major with minors in linguistics and psychology. She can be reached at SF767711@wcupa.edu.