Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dear Women Everywhere

Below is my response to a since-deleted article from The Huffington Post. The post was titled "Young Ladies of the SEC, Cover It Up!" and the author made it her job to school young women for their clothing choices at a recent football game. The article spread like wildfire across social media, and many of the comments were complimentary, which made me both sad and angry. You can read the article here. My response is below.
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Dear women everywhere,
 
Let's agree to do each other a solid (whatever that means) and stop judging one another. Let's stop the slut shaming, the body shaming, and degrading one another in any form or fashion.
 
I was a college student myself 18 years ago (seriously...18 years?!?!). I have no doubt that some of my fashion choices at that time were questionable, but thankfully social media wasn't around then for women to share open letters to my friends and me, telling us we looked "classless."
 
I can say with full confidence that I wore some things that others would deem skimpy. But you know what? I was a teenager; I was having fun with fashion and trends; I was still trying to figure life and myself out...a common theme for all college students.
 
Some of my favorite memories from college revolve around getting ready for a night out with my girlfriends. We'd share clothes or jewelry (hello tattoo chokers); we'd help one another choose our outfits for the night, and most importantly we were together...laughing and just living...enjoying the moment of being young and carefree.
 
I can imagine that many nights my bra straps were exposed (seriously, is this a big deal?), and I can imagine that many nights I thought my friends and me looked irresistible. And you know what? That's a good thing! To be able, at a young age, to own one's appearance and to walk confidently into a room of your peers? It surely beats the alternative.
 
Young ladies everywhere, please know this: your clothing choices do not define you. Your amount of class is not measured by what you are (or are not) wearing. Being proud of your body and showing skin does not make you tasteless. You are SO much more than your appearance, and at the same time, it is OK to have fun with it...to embrace this time in your life where you are just trying to figure out who you are. In the words of Madonna: "Express yourself."
 
To the women who are judging the clothing choices of college kids: to put it simply...get a life. If gossiping about the outfits that young women are wearing to football games is consuming your time, you're doing life wrong.
 
The author of the original post was worried about these "scantily-clad" women because families attend these games, and "little eyes are watching." And, sorry not sorry, but that's just ridiculous. Yes, families attend football games, but I can assure you that the children there do not care what college girls are or are not wearing. Children are cool like that. In fact, we all need to be more like our children. You know what they are doing? They're running around with their friends; they're laughing; they're getting sweaty and dirty, and they are living life. I know one thing they're not doing: they're not gossiping about others.
 
To women everywhere: be proud of your body and wear whatever makes you happy. You know the saying, "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Believe that.
 
Make a conscience decision to build one another up rather than tearing one another down. Compliment a fellow female. Embrace your individuality. Most importantly, love yourself; love others. We'll all be better for it.
 
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