Sunday, June 16, 2013

Womyn Should Not Be Shamed Into Society's Norms

In our society today words such as "slut", "hootchie", "whore" are applied on an everyday basis for many girls and young women today. Words that have become acceptable because they turn into headlines in the media, topics for policy reform within our education system; Words used as an excuse to an enduring oppression for women of all ages within our society. A new method of checks and balances as to how and what we should like. And if we don't conform to these norms then we pay the consequences b being labeled these words that are perceived as derogatory.

School policies banning strapless prom dresses in New Jersey or body shaming policies in Stuyvesant High School in NYC enforce a silent message to theses young students on body shaming that will persevere throughout there lives after their academic years and onto adulthood. Not only do these policies send out the message in which young girls bodies are ruled not by themselves but by someone else's, they send out message of insecurity perpetuating a sense of inferiority simply because we're are women. As if being a woman one has to already abide by the approval of others. And if one does not abide by these norms then we would be labeled slut or invite negative actions towards us such as rape.

I clearly remember growing up in a similar culture during my high school years. Where if I wore a mini skirt in High School I'd look like a hootchie. Or if the girl next to me wore a low cut shirt would be slut. One  would be shamed away from wearing what we desired to wear simply because certain outfits would be labeled negatively by our peers. Now if we add today's policies implemented by academic administrators, we are marking a bullseye on young girls today. More victims of bullying, or a legit reason to dignify certain rape cases where "she was asking for it" may be used simply because our institutions have labeled dressing a certain way against the rules.

One does not escape the eyes of critics when we grow up. If anything I'd it becomes worst. In a recent headline, singer/performer Jennifer Lopez was criticized for wearing an inappropriate outfit for her performance in Britain's Got Talent. Labeled as family friendly, critics were on her case as to not dressing more modestly. This brought upon the question as to what a woman should dress like in order to represent modesty amongst a family.

Coming from the city, there was never a definition of what a mom looked like. There was no dress code or any form of socioeconomically labeling a mom in the city. On the other hand a suburban mom can also be known as the soccer mom. Maybe a depiction of a Stepford wife came to mind, but today less 1950s and more SUV, running to play dates, where dressing comfortably was the outfit of the day everyday. Maybe making a generalization but you get the idea. If one decides to move away from the monotonous stereotype of a mom in suburbia one attracts the perpetual body shaming we as women have endured since we were young. Once again the norm of what a mom looks like and what we have to conform to even if we might not agree continues to oppress us on an individual level.

Body shaming simply perpetuates the notion that women's appearances are valued over what we contribute to our society on a social and economic level. School policies surrounding itself on body shaming simply enforces and teaches students body shaming is permissible. This notion extends itself post academia and onto other steps in their lives. We should be able to wear and carry ourselves however we want. We should be able to celebrate our diversity as women not attack each other or enable ways and methods of oppression amongst us. There should not be a specific definition of what a girl should look like or a mom should look like or any woman should look like. We should not look over our shoulders for approval. We should celebrate our differences and our ability to choose what we want to be because it makes US happy.

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