The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Excuse my language, but Go Fuck Yourself.

It must be quite hard for [men], too, to tell the difference between the women who went on a “SlutWalk” in Newcastle on Saturday morning, wearing very, very short skirts and very, very low tops and very, very high heels, and the ones who went to drink a lot of alcohol in nightclubs in Newcastle on Saturday night, and maybe have sex with a stranger. The ones during the day were, it’s true, waving signs saying things like “My Clothes Aren’t My Consent” and “It Doesn’t Matter What I Wear or Where I Go… No Means No”. The ones during the evening weren’t.

Oh Look! The independent found a feminist who is anti-SlutWalk. Isn’t that nice for them. One who doesn’t think that women should wear short skirts, low tops, or high heels. Or if they do, they should acknowledge that they are “sexually available”. That society at large (by which, I presume, she means men and Right-Thinking Women like her) will believe them to be stupid sluts who are up for it and couldn’t possibly want to be a doctor or a lawyer politician. Because bare legs precludes brain power, you see.

There’s so much in this column that I could complain about, so much wrong with it. But let’s just start with the massive fucking logic fail.

Women, largely Western women, said that they didn’t want to be defined by their value in the sexual market place. They didn’t want to be defined by the size of their breasts, or the shape of their bottoms, or the length of their legs. So they started wearing clothes – often rather ugly clothes – that made them look more like men.

OhMIGOD, REALLY? Women didn’t want to be judged by their appearance? They didn’t want to be assumed to be sexually available based on their clothes? They didn’t want comments on the size of their breasts or shape of their ass? I can understand that. So, WHY THE FUCK did you write 1500-odd words DOING EXACTLY THAT? It works both ways. You can’t complain that “men” judge “women” (God, those evil judgy lesbians get off easy), when you yourself vomited slutshaming all over a newspaper.

Of course, we get the standard “of course men should know that clothes don’t equal consent”. But by wearing your miniskirts, you are making it so hard for the poor loves. They can’t be expected to treat you like a human being when distracted by your magical cleavage.

And wanting to look nice some of the time, but slob about other times, completely undermines my argument.

They said that they didn’t dress this way to please men, but to please themselves, although when they were sitting at home, they didn’t dress like this. When they were sitting at home, they wore tracksuit bottoms and trainers.

I don’t know how many times I can say this. I dress FOR ME. Do I know people are looking at my tits? Of course. I might actually enjoy that! (And of course I said people. Not. Just. Men) And sometimes, when I am fucking around at home, yes, I wear trackies. But mainly because I don’t want to spill gin on my dresses.

And isn’t this a delight?

…little girls dress like their mothers, and if their mothers dress like sluts, or even like “sluts”, then they’re quite likely to be as confused on the subject of sexual equality as the mothers who briefly saw a flicker of progress, and then watched it fade.

Isn’t that some lovely “HEY SLUTS, stop being such bad mothers” dogwhistling. You’re fucking up your daughters with your very, very short skirts, and very, very low tops, and very, very high heels.

Look, lady, I am really sorry what you see as your battle to be taken seriously “faded”. Some of us think that a short skirt doesn’t actually preclude that, and shouldn’t. That what you are wearing doesn’t actually matter. We know that clothes send messages, but think that people are intelligent enough to know they are making massive gender, class, and cultural assumptions when they do that, and should be able to recognise that. The difference is, those of us over on this side of the fence think that you should be allowed to wear whatever the hell you like, and that you should grant us the same courtesy.

6 responses to “Excuse my language, but Go Fuck Yourself.

  1. Deborah June 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I read that tosh in the paper this morning, headdesked, and thought vaguely… talk about a total misread of slutwalks, and 21st century feminism, and contemporary thinking around sexuality, and what a huge, massive, long-winded version way of saying, “Well she was asking for it afterall, dressed like that.”

    Great post, Tallulah.

  2. Emma June 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    So, let me get this straight. Wearing dungarees is progress. Choosing what to wear – whether that’s dungarees or a “short” skirt – not progress. We can only be getting ahead if we dress a certain way. And good feminist parents teach their children to judge people’s worth by their clothes. Glad we’ve got that “straight”.

  3. Jennifer June 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I read this in the Herald over lunch today which ended up ranting to some work colleagues.
    At least there are blogs where I can find refuge from the sort of idiocy newspapers like to publish on the topic.

  4. Good Gravey June 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    “It can be quite hard to tell the difference…” Ummm … I thought that was the fucking point. It. Doesn’t. Matter. What. You. Wear. How fucking hard is that to understand – especially when you actually say it yourself?

    The point is really simple. If you want to be taken seriously, show at least half a fucking clue.

    If I may, I’d like to recount a wee story – slightly off topic, but the message is kind of the same. I worked in a fairly delicate public service area. Presentation was important. During some holidays, I got my hair coloured. Down the middle of my full-face beard, the moustache, down the middle of my hair and my entire pony-tail was bleached white (it was the ’80s, OK). It was a hell of a long way from “reputable” and “serious”.

    Not a word was said, because my clients (they actually told me this) saw my appearance as being a touch of humanity and individuality when dealing with an otherwise faceless machine. My manner, my behaviour, and my professionalism meant that they still took me seriously.

    Point being, your appearance is just that. It doesn’t say anything about you. The real you.

    And Tallulah – love your comment about dressing to please you. If one dresses up (shit – maybe even “provocatively”) in some situations, and slobbishly in others, it might just be – you know remotely conceivable that you do it because, you know, you actually like it like that.

    And I am sorry to make light of it, but I did get a strange image with the juxtaposition of a comment about miniskirts and cleavage. Dunno if you were suggesting bum-cleavage.

  5. Craig Ranapia June 12, 2011 at 10:02 am

    *sigh* Thanks for that Christina — I’ve met most of the Lady Gardeners in the flesh, and you’d be well aware that I wear cargo shorts most of the time. [sarcasm on] The way you’ve failed to read the message that I really really wanted to be called a whore, sexually harassed and even assaulted is most dispiriting. [sarcasm off]

  6. V Thrash June 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    *standing ovation*

    I wore silky, sexy, matching lingerie under baggy jeans and a sweater to the post office today. And fuck, did it feel good.

    Where was this blog when I read Kerre Woodhams horrifically misguided opinion piece on “child abuse” *cough* blaming single mothers for being abused and being from low socio-economics *cough*. I promise I’ll never read another offensive piece of anti-women writing and feel ragey and alone ever again.

    TLG = favourite. Keep ’em coming.

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