Okay friends, it’s that time of the week again! Time for your very own Carroll News Managing Editor to get on her soapbox! This weeks issue? Judging women based on their clothing. So, let’s strap in!
The summer after my freshman year of college, I worked at a museum in my hometown. The museum was a “Creation Museum,” which means that they believe in a literal account of history as it was written down in the Bible. In other words, the people that I worked with believed that the Earth was 6000 years old and that large scale evolution, like human evolving from ape, does not exist.
Disclaimer before I continue. I am in no way voicing my opinion on evolution. I did not know that the museum was creationist when I accepted the job, and I in no way disagree with evolution. Evolution is not what this column is about. End disclaimer.
While at the museum, I was a tour guide and a camp counselor. The reason that the job appealed to me so much was that I would have the opportunity every day to teach people something, which seemed like a pretty good fit to this education major.
Anyways, another huge part of the job was working outside on the grounds, where we had a large playground with a two story slide and a zipline. I did this in the middle of an Ohio summer, complete with 90 degree days, 110 percent humidity and hoisting adults onto a zipline.
In the beginning of the year, they did not have a staff shirt for me because they were still being made. So, I asked my supervisor what I should wear in order to comply with company standards. She told me that the v-neck T-shirt and athletic shorts that I was wearing were fine.
Flash forward two weeks, when I am wearing the exact same thing that was approved on my first day of work. My manager pulls me aside.
“We have been getting complaints about your shirts. We don’t think that it is appropriate for a woman to dress like this. We need you to cover up. Women should look reserved and show less skin so that boys don’t get tempted,” he said.
I stood there in shock. Here was a man, who was my boss for less than three weeks, telling me to cover up in an outfit that was approved by his boss.
I felt ashamed. I felt ashamed of the way I looked and the attention that I apparently attracted from the men that I worked with. I felt ashamed of my body. I felt ashamed that somehow I wasn’t being a good worker because I was showing too much skin.
However, that shame soon turned to anger as I walked out on to the grounds only an hour later and saw that same manager standing with a group of my fellow male coworkers working with their shirts off.
So my shorts and T-shirt, which would have passed a high school dress code test, were too revealing, yet a group of men with their shirts off were not.
I would later find out that the secretary, an older woman, had asked my manager to talk to me because she didn’t like the way my coworkers were looking at me.
Here is where the issue lies. Why did he feel the need to talk to me about covering up instead of talking to the men I was working with to stop looking at me like that? Why was I the problem?
I know I just wrote another column on something similar to this, but judging girls and women based on what they are wearing is not at all okay. When a woman is assaulted, she is always asked what she was wearing, as if what she was wearing somehow shows that she asked for it. Because a short skirt immediately screams “assault me, I want it.”
I was not assaulted, but I was judged for what I was wearing because I am a woman. I was told I did not represent the female gender well because I was showing too much cleavage.
This has got to end. Women are so much more than a body. They have a mind, a soul, a spirit. They are funny, intelligent, creative, kind and powerful. All of these incredible aspects of life just happen to be locked inside a body that will age and sag. But everything else stays.
It doesn’t matter what a girl is or is not wearing. So we should stop thinking that it does.