From Bra Strap to the slightest corner of their cleavage: Women’s clothing and its relation to slut shaming

Why are women slut-shamed on the basis of their clothes?

“I feel my vulnerability in my clothes, in the way I walk in those clothes, in the way I carry them. There is always a gaze at me, that someone is watching me, that everyone has an eye on me. That the slightest appearance of my skin catches attention, and I wonder why do I get that attention, why do I feel vulnerable?”

From pointing out visible bra straps and the slightest of the cleavage to gaping the short skirt hemlines and the skin undershorts, a woman’s identity is brought down to be all about this – the clothes that she wears. She is called a ‘slut’ and to reason why society calls her so is in the fact that she likes wearing short clothes, and the red lipstick on her mouth proves that she is asking for being harassed.


What does the word, ‘Slut’ means?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term ‘slut’ has a range of interpretations. From the Middle Ages onwards, it was used to describe “a woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance”. And further, their appearance becomes a parameter of judgment for a woman’s decency, sexual interest and often leads to the declaration that a woman is wanting sexual attention.


Read more: Understanding Virginity: Here are the things you might be missing about virginity

slut shaming

Slut Shaming is simply moral Policing

We wonder who gets to decide what is moral and what is immoral. But what it looks like in a patriarchal society, anything that appears comfortable to men becomes moral and everything that doesn’t fall in the sphere of man’s comfort is immoral. The same is with slut-shaming. It has a deep-rooted relationship that is to justify a man’s lust. A woman’s decency can be defined by their clothes, they can be tagged as ‘acchi ladki’ if she is wearing a suit or clothes that cover the whole body, and ‘bur ladki’ ( often a slut) if she reveals any part of her body. And why, because society thinks covered bodies are moral.


What can a short sleeve, a bra strap, a short skirt suggest?

Clothing is just a part of how a woman sees themselves, and many women argue that there is nothing bad in their bodies that they need to hide. Their body is their body and they have all the rights to carry that body in whichever manner they would like to carry. Simply judging their character on the basis of their clothes is an act of body shaming. Do women mind the length of a men’s shorts or the hairs on the legs and the arms, then why are women judged on the basis of any part of their visible skin, and especially when the skin is toned.


What can red Lipstick Suggest, Eroticism?

Well, red lipstick can be a liking of a person and is a choice that they are allowed to make for their face. Wearing or not wearing red lipstick can not be suggestive of if the woman is trying to get attention. And if someone gets attracted to that, it is their problem, they are picking signs that really aren’t indicating anything. Red lipstick or dark shade lipsticks so to say are not an indicator of eroticism. A girl chooses to wear them because they like them on their face, even if they like a bold look on their face, the fact that they are using them is not because they are hungry for your sexual attention.


Well, is slut shaming an easy way out to justify male lust

A man rapes a woman because she was looking attractive. Nakedness makes them feel nudity. The revealing body part on a woman’s body provokes a man’s lust, makes them have a more revealed image of the body. Well, yes, these are the arguments that men/ society use to justify and identify women only as sexual objects. This is how they justify their lust, by putting the blame on the woman, for provoking them.

And our simple answer to such men would be – You are taking the wrong signs and entertaining the wrong signs, as when a woman wears anything, they do it for themselves, not for you. If you feel that it is to excite you, and you are not at fault, try to not get entertained by those so-called sings and you will know if it really was for you or not.


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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.

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