Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle, and Opinions on Everything and Nothing.

SOAP BOX: How Women Talk About Other Women

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I had a discussion with an acquaintance recently, that went completely pear shaped. I’ll call my companion “Sally.” She’s definitely further to the right than I both politically and socially; dressing very conservatively, eschewing makeup, talking frequently about her church. No biggie, we normally get along well together. Our chat took place a couple weeks ago, but I can’t shake it. So let’s discuss…

I was reading the following piece in The Week (my favorite news magazine):

The Big Breasts Ban


A high school senior in Washington state was denied entry to her prom because her breasts are too big. Central Kitsap High School’s dress code permits strapless dresses, but Brittany Minder says school officials told her she couldn’t enter unless she covered her abundant cleavage. Minder wrapped herself in a shawl, but left the prom after an hour. “It was tough being there after all that happened,” she said. “I was self-conscious.”

I was indignant for young Brittany, and read the article aloud. The response was (paraphrasing, it’s been a couple weeks), “Of course they did. Or they’d have had to deal with her having sex in the bathroom later.”

When I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked Sally what in the world she meant. Her paraphrased response, “If girls dress like that they’re looking for a certain kind of attention, and they’ll act on it.”

At that point I began to have trouble hearing her over the sirens going off in my head. I stated that this was one very short step from the old “well if she hadn’t dressed that way… she has no one but herself to blame…” attitude toward rape victims. This Sally denied emphatically, while restating her belief that girls who wear low cut tops or short skirts, are “looking for a certain kind of attention,” and are going to be, or cause, trouble.

My, that slope looks awfully slippery!

I told Sally that she was wrong, I was extremely disappointed in her, and I changed the subject. Well handled? NOPE. In my defense I submit again, it was hard to concentrate with the claxons and flares going off.

Brittany Minder in her prom dress.

Brittany Minder in her prom dress.

The exchange distressed me. Are we still tearing down other women, rather than supporting them?

A few points:

  1. Brittany happens to be busty. Are we now stigmatizing women for their physical attributes? (Naive question, the answer is, and always has always been, yes). Would the same dress on a less well endowed classmate have been acceptable?
  2. Brittany is in high school. Research shows at this age cognitive development is not complete, there is a poor understanding of consequences. Reasoning and judgement are still being acquired through brain maturation, coupled with life experience. She’s still just growing up and trying to figure things out. Was this dress ridiculously revealing? I don’t thing so. But even if it was, she’s finding her boundaries and what’s comfortable for her. She’s a kid. No need to run out and buy her a red light.
  3. In my opinion, Brittany’s dress was both adorable and appropriate. Could we see cleavage? Yep. But this young lady probably has cleavage in a crew neck t-shirt! It’s how she’s built.
  4. Perhaps Sally simply lacks empathy, and is unable to understand, being smaller chested herself, how difficult it can be to dress a bodacious bod. To quote Brittany’s dad, “A girl like Brittany should not have to go to a dance in a burlap sack because she’s large busted. It’s ridiculous.”
  5. Say she WAS wearing something racy. Let’s think, for just a minute, what role models the media has for this generation of female children.
Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Rihanna

Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Rihanna

This topic may have struck home for me, in part, because I’ve been listening to coverage of the trial for the attackers of a young woman who was raped on her school campus  during a homecoming dance in Richmond, California. Regardless, It is not acceptable to condemn others because they make different choices than we do. It is contemptible to dismiss a person’s rights, or even their feelings, because they don’t look or act as we do. And it is appalling to imply that a girl is undeserving of respect, solely because her cleavage is visible.

So what do you guys think? Should Brittany have been singled out and made to cover up her “natural resources?” Was I out of line for calling Sally on her comments?

Author: GlitterThistle

I’m a pragmatic romantic who finds myself decorating things, places, friends and inevitably myself. I love color, texture, and shiny things. I’m a talker. I’ve been an avid traveler and the giver of travel, dating, and fashion advice to my circle of friends for 2 decades. My goals are conversation, creativity, connectedness, exploration, and finding beauty to appreciate. Posts go up a couple times a week. Drop by, leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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