Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: That's Inappropriate!

368 Responses

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  • Danielle, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    Ah, so your point is "she DID look slutty, though!" Nice to have it clarified.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Oh COME ON! I was a teenage girl and I definitely dressed to make boys notice me. Why can’t we be honest about the fact that girls dress to attract the male gaze?

    And sometimes they do. But they also dress for a whole bunch of other reasons, and also, as Danielle has said, that's completely fucking irrelevant. Last year my daughter grew 7cm. At that rate, yes, the $160 skirt you bought at the start of year 9 is going to be well above your knees by the end of year 10.

    But if your short skirt is part of an Office Work Power Suit, that's also dressing for male attention? How about this skirt? Is that slutty?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    My point is here: short skirts

    Oh, yeah, that’s right: one day skirts above the knee, the next day SEX. Because sex, ladies and gentlemen, is BAD. Teenagers having hormones or feeling sexual attraction? BAD. Girls who want to attract “male attention”? They need help. Or they might feel like people with sexual feelings and agency! Which is BAD.

    I can think of lots of ways to dissuade teenagers from sexual activity that they’re not ready for (and yes, that’s an important caveat) and slut-shaming? Reeeeeeeeeeeally not one of them.

    ETA: And, as Emma says, you're assuming that how they dress is all about men, to start with. Which is a little....reductive.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    The only people I know who dress like streetwalkers are streetwalkers. And if my fourteen year old was dressed for night out on the stroll, the first thing I’d be doing is going through my credit card statements with the proverbial nit-comb. (I don’t know any teenage girls with full-time jobs that allow them to buy their own clothes.)

    I’ll also admit that my experience of teenage girls is somewhat limited, but calling the little dears “sluts” or “whores” asking to be raped strikes me as a somewhat counter-intuitive way of securing a desired outcome.

    ETA: FWIW, a quick look at any Hollywood award show red carpet would strongly suggest there's a lot of women whose idea of "dressing for the male gaze" involves full-length gowns, enough jewellery to choke a horse and the attentions of a small army of stylists. What's that about?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    " Or they might feel like people with sexual feelings and agency! Which is BAD."

    I'm sure what your experience has been, but mine was that I was sexually active at 14. He was a nice guy, we used a condom, I didn't get any STIs or pregnant. But it doesn't mean that 14 year old girls are emotionally mature enough to be sexually active. I think we should encourage teenagers to wait until they are adults before having sex because with sexual activity comes adult consequences.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    Hey, you know what doesn't, and shouldn't, make a difference to the accessibility of a girl's vagina? HOW SHORT HER SKIRT IS.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    I think we should encourage teenagers to wait until they are adults before having sex because with sexual activity comes adult consequences.

    And the relation of this viewpoint to the length of their skirts, or calling them sluts, is....? You're putting a lot of effort into this particular strawman, but it's still made of straw.

    (Also not seeing the connection between you having sex at 14 and it not ruining your life and your assertion that short skirts lead to ruin.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I think we should encourage teenagers to wait until they are adults before having sex because with sexual activity comes adult consequences.

    By teaching them that only some kinds of sexual feelings are permissable? By enforcing an antediluvian standard of good girls vs sluts? By stomping on low level expressions of sexuality on the assumption that they'll lead to the full thing? Skirt length doesn't correlate with early sexual activity.

    Teenagers are learning to be adults, and they learn like any other age group by playing. You don't take their toys away, you make sure they play with them safely. And I believe that the approved Conservative Position (TM) on whether teachers get involved with teaching kids about sexuality is that they Should Not.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Having sex at 14 didn't ruin my life on the surface. I avoided all the traps that Family Planning warn one about. But it wasn't good for me. It certainly affected the way I saw myself. If I had my time over I wished someone had warned me of the deep but subtle consequences of embarking on adult relationships when one is still a child.

    My point is that we should not be allowing teenagers to dress provocatively. The teacher should not have said what she did, but the rule she was trying to enforce was IMO a sensible one. No one should call anyone a slut. And I loathe the way the girl has been spoken about and the way people have been nasty about her name.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    Michelle Obama is a grown woman who can wear what she wants to fully aware of the consequences of doing so. I'm not suggesting that we curtail adult women from dressing how they want to.

    Nor was the girl grown out of her skirt, she had hitched it up on purpose.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    My point is that we should not be allowing teenagers to dress provocatively

    I presume you apply that to boys as well?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney, in reply to Danielle,

    I don't think she looked "slutty". And I disagree with the teacher using that bully word.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sorry for the inappropriate link hoing, I wasn't particularly impressed by passive aggressive argumentum ad Hilterium either. Shouldn't we be pleased that the Summer hols are fast approaching...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Mm, nobody’s pathologised dousing oneself in Lynx, buying a car or taking up weightlifting as leading to teenage promiscuity.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    Honestly, I don’t think we’re doing our men in embryo any favours by giving them the message that they can outsource responsibility for their sexuality and behaviour to the Madonna-Whores they interact with. Boys will be boys (they can’t help their animal penis brains, after all), but the girls they do it with are dirty sluts who deserve everything they get?

    Not in my house, sister -- this hearth doesn't require an angel.

    I’ve yet to see any empirical evidence that the male human body doesn’t contain enough blood to sustain an erection and full brain function at the same time.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes, I completely apply it to boys as well.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    Why is it so shocking to observe that human animals send sexual signals to one another?

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    " nobody’s pathologised dousing oneself in Lynx"

    Well they don't think much of Lynx advertising campaigns:

    http://collectiveshout.org/take-action-against-lynx/

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    can wear what she wants to fully aware of the consequences of doing so

    boggle

    Because, like, once she put on that skirt everything else follows logically.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    Why must these [sexual signals] be controlled?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    Tess, both here and on Edwards’ blog, you’ve made flat, unnuanced statements about why females dress the way they do, and you’ve particularly attached this to skirt length. If you started saying, “Women wear short skirts to attract male attention, and also for a busload of other reasons”, you wouldn’t be having this argument. As long as you argue absolutes, every other reason and context for short-skirt wearing is perfectly relevant. You’ve also not succeeded in demonstrating any kind of link between skirt length and sexual promiscuity.

    Why is it so shocking to observe that human animals send sexual signals to one another?

    Is there any way you could confine yourself to arguing against things people have actually said?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    Why is it so shocking to observe that human animals send sexual signals to one another?

    Again with the strawmen - it's not. It's tiring to assume that a) teenage girls' skirt lengths directly and exclusively correlate to trying to get boys to look at them, b) that this will lead to sex and c) sex is bad. It's a chain of very bad assumptions supporting a worse conclusion, to wit, that it's okay to scold teenage girls for their skirt lengths because it will stop them engaging in sex. And you have yet to provide any actual support for that notion.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    Emma that was a general question and was not meant to be specific to anyone.

    Yes, okay there are various reasons why people wear short skirts.

    Netballers wear them for practical reasons for example. Perhaps short skirts are the fashion and girls want to fit in. But in certain contexts short skirts are a social signal of sexuality.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Tess Rooney,

    Emma that was a general question and was not meant to be specific to anyone.

    No-one was shocked, so you're asking why everyone is shocked. Ah. Logic.

    But in certain contexts short skirts are a social signal of sexuality.

    So teenage girls should be discouraged from wearing short skirts just in case it's sexual? Which is, of necessity, bad, because teenagers shouldn't have sexuality.

    Right.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

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