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The Rant – Slutty Fashion

The first time I was called a slut was at the tender age of 11. The first group of boys had been admitted at the all-girl catholic school I studied at. A group of girls had decided to greet the new students with some hardly provocative ranting, calling out their names. Soon the entire class was being scourned and labelled with the term “slut”. One nun added that she “knew we all hanged around street corners wagging our handbags at horny men”

The second time I was called a slut occurred when I decided to wear an anklet. My father strongly disapproved and told me only prostitutes wore them. I carefully removed it every time I returned home but whenever I went out, I would put the anklet on. My girlfriends loved it. I was 15.

The third time I was called a slut I had pierced my belly button. My boyfriend at the time told me it was “sluttish”, I was 20.

The fourth time I was called a slut I had paired my bell bottom jeans with a pink blouse, which was see-through, and a pink bikini top underneath. I was 21.

I’m sure these are only the times I remember, or that I know about . Some people will use the term slut openly, others just throw disapproving looks. This Christmas I wore a pair of mock suspender tights, my boyfriend and closest friends thought they were a lot of fun, but I received offended stares from some old acquaintances.

A Canadian policeman has brought the adjective back to the lime-light by stating that there would be less sexual assaults if women “stopped dressing like sluts”. This remark has resulted in the now famous SlutWalk phenomenon: women are taking the streets calling for a rejection of rooted beliefs that place the blame of a rape on the actual victims.

My life has been about expressing myself, I’m extremely creative and have a lot fun with fashion. What others considered slutty, to me was being myself. As a teenager I was pushing boundaries and growing up, making my own decisions: “this is my body, I live in a country and a time where I can wear anything I want, so get your hands off me and let me live”.

 Most of us can play with fashion, have fun with it, but all joy goes out of the window when some policemen, lawyers and judges state that we are asking to be assaulted.

The Slutwalk defends the empowerment of women through clothes. However, with great power – excuse the Spiderman quote – comes great responsibility. The maturity to understand that a certain way of dressing will sometimes get an unwanted reaction. To me, the key word here being “unwanted” and, I will add, completely undeserved. Completely uncalled for.

Fashion sends out messages with every trend that hits the catwalk. It can reflect a general mood in society, or make a statement for or against something. Whatever we wear says a lot about ourselves.

Have you ever been called a slut? Do you believe a woman is “what she dresses like” and therefore anything that comes from it is actually deserved or sought after? Have you ever called anyone a slut because of the way they dress?

Pictures: Fashion Limbo

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  • Annebeth May 18, 2011, 3:44 pm

    this is a great post. I feel very fortunate for having a family that doesn't call people sluts, not even when jesting. And I am extremely lucky for having a boyfriend who would never use that word to describe me (unless I ask him to during seksi times hahaha, and even then he feels uncomfortable doing so :D), only using the word in absolutely random situations. I never use it in the classic meaning, I just use it among my girlfriends for shiz and giggles and in random situations. I have no business with other people's lovelives and nobody deserves prejudice. That canadian policeman is a moron and I want to kick his ass.

  • Fashion Limbo May 18, 2011, 3:47 pm

    And I simply love you, Annebeth, every day more!!! :D you funny, funny woman, thanks for visiting!

  • For Those About To Shop May 18, 2011, 3:59 pm

    The SlutWalk happened right on my doorstep and I think it's amazing the way they are taking a derogatory term and making it lose its power. It is losing its power, thankfully. I've never been called and slut and am quite shocked that you've had to endure that. I notice it seems to be always men calling you that which makes my blood boil. And, you're right, the slut walk is about the fact that women can wear what they like without fear that they will be sexually assaulted and have it be blamed on their attire. It is not our job to monitor our clothing choices in case some random man might lose control of his faculties. The very idea is barbaric and something from the dark ages.

  • Courtney Erin May 18, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I don't think I've been called a slut since junior high school when it was apparent that the people throwing the term around didn't even really know what it meant. I think this is really all just another example of how disgustingly misogynistic our society still is it's really disappointing.

    xoxo ~ Courtney
    http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

  • Fashion Limbo May 18, 2011, 4:20 pm

    Thanks for commenting Laura, the SlutWalk did origin where you're at! When I was called "slut" in my younger years I don't think I realised how offensive they were, I guess it just reflects the fact that the word is so widely used we tend to forget how strong it is.

    @Courtney thanks so much for your on-going support, it means so much to me xx

  • Hana May 18, 2011, 5:29 pm

    Wow! What a powerful post! If I have been called a slut (in a non-joking matter from my girlfriends) then I don`t know it nor would I care for some strangers comment. I have been offered money on the streets (ironically, I am always covered up or in business clothes when it happens)…so I suppose that is kind of similar to the word whore…but doesn`t draw the same meaning as the word slut to me.

    I find that first situation you experienced absolutely appalling! Those were adults saying that to children. Talk about lack of professionalism.

    However, as someone almost raped…I can say that I did get blamed by various people in my life for it. I know some of it was concern coming out incorrectly but others…I couldn`t help but really wonder if they thought that way (& very surprised people even did think that way–eye opening). Not to mention how damaging being blamed felt to me even though I know it wasn`t my fault & the victim should not be blamed for another`s actions against them no matter what they are wearing, etc. Men (or women) are not mindless animals, so that excuse that we are "asking to be assaulted" has got to go.

    When I heard about the Slutwalk I was really happy to see that the word slut was losing it`s power and that people are standing up and doing something about it. Now, if only the attitude surrounding it could vamoose as well.

    Great post!

  • Arash Mazinani May 18, 2011, 9:16 pm

    Great post. I think those that use the word 'slut' are generally men who have no success with women themselves. I completely disagree with the term in fact it only serves to hold both men and women back.

    Blog:http://www.arashmazinani.com
    Twitter:@arashmazinani

  • dusanabotswana May 18, 2011, 10:29 pm

    It’s true that dressing a certain way can get unwanted attention, and my style is usually fairly modest- at least on top- because there’s only one special guy I want seeing that. But, by no means do I think this should apply for everyone; I do this because of my personality, my personal style, my body type, and even the mood I’m in that day.

    The beauty of fashion really is seeing how each person, all with different body shapes, expresses themselves through their clothing choices.

    No woman should have to change her style because a man cannot control his urges. Somehow all of the men I saw at topless beaches in Spain were able to control themselves, even amongst all these “sluttily dressed” women, so wow, I guess it is possible to respect a women however dressed or even undressed she is!

    Thanks for posting about this!

  • Angga May 19, 2011, 3:49 am

    Such a great post, I live my whole entire teenager grown up called as one, mainly because I use to live in a Moslem country where most of the girls are wearing veils but not me. I was call a slut when I was 9 years old, mainly because I wear sports bra underneath my white uniform school shirt. To be honest now that I really think about it, it actually affect the way I grow up, probably most of my teenage life I've been called horrible names, I dont know why and would not care anymore for those people.
    Anyway I moved to the States in 2005 and my luck, I moved to midwest where most of old people or even young ones are still racist and doesnt recognize hair color besides blondes. I've been called ugly, slut, bitch to most of the guys that I know…
    I do wish people would respect other people especially women when they dress nice instead of telling how slutty or ugly they are
    <3
    http://reserveradefashion.blogspot.com

  • Fashion Limbo May 19, 2011, 9:47 am

    My darlings, thank you SO MUCH for commenting!!!

    @Hana when I read/hear about how a victim is blamed for rape it makes my blood boil…no one wants to be raped! no one agrees to it! I find it very interesting that all anti-rape campaigns are always focused on what you as a victim shouldn't do, as in don't take unlicensed taxi/cabs home, or don't dress this way, or beware you don't etc etc….however there is hardly any campaign telling rapists what will happen to them if they do it, it's not focused on the perpetrator but on the victim, so when the rape actually happens is almost like "so what did you do to get raped?" – crazy

    @Arash the word is worng in so many ways, but it's used so widely and with such ease that I think we all forget the weight it carries. That's the bit about the SlutWalk some disagree with, because they see it as glorifying the term. Some are calling to a certain re-claim of the word, to change it's derogatory meaning, but I'm not too sure about that.

    @Dusana, yes there is A LOT of topless women here in Spain haha, I was actualy quite surprised by it… but yes another example of women wearing nothing, and seriously, nobody cares. Fashion, clothing, is a big part of our lives. Some make bolder choices than others, and depending on who you are surrounded by or where you are, it can have different effects. But to suggest that it will lead to rape and that you cannot complain about that is crazy, right? Thanks so much for visiting and RT about this post xx

    @Angga I'm really sorry you got called names just because you look different. There are so many nasty individuals in this world, and it's shocking sometimes how we live in the 21st century but a lot of people act like cavemen/women. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences in my humble space xxxx

  • Bonnie May 19, 2011, 8:07 pm

    First of all, I love your fashion sense. If people want to call you a slut because of the way you dress, then they are just jealous of your amazing skilllllzzzz.
    Second of all, this is an awesome post because I think every girl can relate. I have been called a slut since high school because I dress the way I want to dress. Some days I will dress conservatively, and other days I will dress to bare as much skin as possible without being over-done. I mean, I have a hot body, so I am going to show it off, right?
    It has never bothered me when people call me a slut or a whore. I ignore them. As far as I'm concerned, they can suck it because I know that I am awesome.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  • Mordrian May 20, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Dont listen to those people! You can do whatever you want and i can promise you that you'll look amazing!

    Im a boy, and ive even been called a slut! Its weird, i know. But my friends that are girls use it as a term of indearment. . . . .i discourage that trate greatly

  • Fashion Limbo May 20, 2011, 4:14 pm

    oh Bonnie and Moedrian you made me smile SO MUCH with your comments, thanks for adding to the conversation xxxx

  • hurricanekerrie May 21, 2011, 6:38 pm

    That's such a cruel, hurtful word! I've never been called one (at least not to my face) but I feel emotional just reading this post.

    Self-expression should never be inhibited and that includes style and fashion. If people choose to use words to express their jealousy then that's their problem. You keep doing what you feel comfortable doing… :)

  • Eli May 21, 2011, 7:20 pm

    I think people just use that term too freely, it's meant to suppress and demean women. There's no other way around it. What's worse is that women use it for other women too! Until then, until that stops, we really cannot go further.

  • Erin May 24, 2011, 1:37 am

    Kudos for this post. This whole, "blame the rape victim" thing has got to end.

  • WendyB May 24, 2011, 4:58 am

    Funny, one of the only times I've been called a slut was on my blog. I had a good time with that comment: http://wendybrandes.com/blog/2009/05/wrinkly-slut-part-deux/

  • M @StyleSizzle May 26, 2011, 6:02 pm

    This is my first time visiting your blog but from the pics I see, you aren't dressing slutty at all! It's such a derogatory term that does nothing but hold people back and keep women as the "lesser sex" in society. I used to have my belly button pierced. I used to wear backless tops and sneak out of my parents house with a sweater on top. Was I slutty? No way! Just growing up and experimenting with fashion just like any girl does who loves fashion while growing up.

  • Best of Palm Beach May 26, 2011, 6:15 pm

    Great post! I mean I don't care if someone is an actual prostitute that does not give anyone the right to assault that person. So easy and ignorant for men to say "they were asking for it". Violence against women is illegal despite the circumstances. I wonder what male victims of violent crimes did "to ask for it". SMH.

    Anyway, you look super hot and I love the outfits! I cannot remember the actual instances I have been called a slut…but I am sure I have been called a slut and I am sure at times I acted slutty! C'est la vie!

    Veronica
    @bestofpbconsign

  • I.C.Fashion May 26, 2011, 6:26 pm

    I've never been called a slut, even when I chose to wear clear stripper shoes out dancing in my very early 20's and a very low cut top. Then again, I do live in LA, so dressing provocative is not so frowned upon.

    Reading about your experiences being called a slut, literally made me say "Wow. Really?" In none of those instances were you exhibiting "slutty" behavior. Saddening.

    I have 2 views on the slut thing: I do believe a woman has a right to dress how she pleases, however there is a level of decorum and a fine line of "this is sexy" and "this is just wrong". I think people instinctively know within themselves when something is not OK. Some choose to ignore that voice for unknown reasons and proceed with bad taste, but Hey! Who are we to judge?

    Secondly, I don't take issue with the word slut. It's way overused & inapropriately thrown out there at the slightest instance of a woman being sexy & comfortable with her sexuality. I LOVE Dr. Betty Dodson's and Carlin Ross' video "How Do We End Slut Shaming?"

    If for all the reasons you were called a slut, I would be a big ol' whore. LOL!!!

    Seriously people, ENOUGH with the bashing and start uplifting!

    Irene of I.C.Fashion
    http://twitter.com/#!/ICFashionToo

    Link
    Dr. Betty Dodson's and Carlin Ross' video "How Do We End Slut Shaming?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOR_zM61ODg&feature;=channel_video_title

  • Little Rus May 26, 2011, 7:14 pm

    Ooooohh, I just want to give you a hug! My God, some people have been so rude to you! I was never called that name (I'd probably die on a spot…) nor I would ever use it towards any other woman because I just think it must never be used. I agree with you – everyone is free to express herself the way she sees herself and her world. This is how new styles and fashions are born. And you are beautiful, so it's not you, it's somebody's poor upbringing and bad manners!

    x

  • Gabrielle May 26, 2011, 7:14 pm

    excellent read!

    xx
    ilikeitfast.blogspot.com

  • Brookelyn May 27, 2011, 5:36 pm

    Great post. I think that part of the reason so many women get called sluts by men is because other women call them sluts, which makes men think its ok for them to do the same! Kind of like bitch, too!

  • made-to-travel.com May 29, 2011, 12:40 am

    Uhg I hate this word!!! HATE! It is so full of malice and yes I've been called a slut b/c my skirt is too high or b/c of judgments on my fishnets in high school and college. I once heard that "hurt people hurt people" and I think that is true.

  • the Citizen Rosebud May 29, 2011, 6:54 pm

    I'm never been called a slut, and those in my circle do NOT bandy that word around- it's a ridiculous term frankly, and it sucks that it got used on you by family members. I'm sure they did it perversely out of concern but I tell you, a belly piercing and an anklet do not a slut make.

    When I was 18, I lived in San Francisco, a pretty sexually charged place at the time, and was lucky to realize that by dressing to embrace my body, not hide my body was a political act- I wore skin tight clothing but showed no skin. One doesn't need to be provocative to glory in one's own physicality. I hope you are allowed this experience without the tarnish of being called something you are not- a slut.

  • Sarah {Raving Fashionista} June 4, 2011, 8:35 pm

    It’s absolutely maddening to me when I hear anyone (usually a male) say anything along the lines of “she deserved it look how she dressed.” That’s disgusting, pigheaded and moronic. (Can you tell it infuriates me? ha) A woman never deserves to be a victim of any type of sexual violence, and especially not for how she dresses. And who is to be the judge of what is “slutty” and what isn’t? Granted walking around in your bra and knickers may seem like an obvious situation, but really even that isn’t really any different from walking around in a bathing suit. Excellent post, and I thank For Those About To Shop for sending me your way.

  • Plop June 18, 2011, 5:15 pm

    I have, but mostly because i refused to talk to a guy in the street, or answered to a guy.
    Free = slut ?
    My guy friends find that if a girl dress in a sexy way (clothing suiting her, in fact. No need to be actually sexy), they have the right to go talk to her and ask her if SHE’S single, all the time !
    Seriously. girls can put on a dress and walk in the street without being a slut !

  • Appreciative Glance November 1, 2011, 8:08 pm

    Viva La Slutty – but with elegance. Frankly I think the word slut refers to a behavior rather than an appearance. And lets face it some men do like their women a little on the daring side. Timid women are borrrrrrrrrring. Some though are intimidated, and not always for the same reasons I do think.

    However, there is a difference between elegant slutty and trashy slutty. Elegance is always sexy and trashy is just, well trashy – no taste or sense of style. So, it all comes down to fashion sense. Some women can pull off stunningly sexy and some can’t. When a woman gets called a slut because of the way she dresses it is either because other women are jealous or the outfit crosses the line between sexy style and sexy tasteless. And some people are just wound too tight on sexuality.

    And because a woman dresses provocatively NEVER justifies rape – NEVER. All of the excuses that are offered to justify it are just that – attempts to justify something which cannot be legitimately excused.