Welcome to High School — Where Wearing A Kilt Means Being a “Slut”

emma jane photo

By Emma Jane
JOURNEY Magazine Ptbo Co-Op Student

 

“Whether it’s what we post on social media, what we wear, or how we express our sexuality, women are always under pressure and criticized.”

I remember getting ready in the morning for my first day of high school, apprehensive about my outfit choice of all things. Just days before, one of my girlfriends, who was in Grade 10 at the time, had warned me not to wear the kilt on the first day. The school uniform didn’t consist of much, and the kilt was the much more flattering item for my body, giving me the confidence that I needed to face my big day.

Ignoring the advice my friend had given me, I arrived to my first day of Grade 9 with straightened hair and a neatly rolled kilt on my waist. That day, I was surprised to learn about the kilt rule . . . Girls who wore the kilt on the first day were immediately judged as “sluts”.

The kilt rule was only the beginning of an uncomfortable amount of slut shaming I would witness throughout my early teen years.

What was even more shocking to me was that it wasn’t only boys spreading these rumours, but some girls were participating as well. The kilt rule was only the beginning of an uncomfortable amount of slut shaming I would witness throughout my early teen years.  A Tina Fey line from the movie Mean Girls came to mind as I entered a world of girl hate and judgement I had not yet known, “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores”.  

mean girls

I am now in my final year of high school, and have a better understanding of slut-shaming, especially between women.

Slut-shaming is built on the oppression and objectification of women. Women are judged for what they wear, if they choose to have sex and what they post on social media. They’re constantly under pressure and scrutiny to dress or behave a certain way in order to earn the respect of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. Boys are usually granted this approval without conforming or sacrificing their comfort.

Some women feel confident and empowered by wearing clothes that cover them up, while others feel comfortable wearing clothes that show more skin. Both are valid and acceptable. Women should be encouraged to express themselves and embrace their sexuality and style.

By slut-shaming women, men are also taught that they are not responsible for their actions or behaviour. This is dangerous in more ways than one, as it further perpetuates rape culture and victim-blaming.

The implication that a women’s self respect depends on how conservative she is with her body is inherently flawed with the notion that her body is an object.

slut-shaming-900x506The implication that a women’s self respect depends on how conservative she is with her body is inherently flawed with the notion that her body is an object. It is harmful to young women’s self esteem when they are told they must cover up if they wish to be valued for more than their bodies in society.

My choice to wear the kilt on that first day of Grade 9 would shape how I now continue to be myself, without trying to please other’s and despite the fear of judgment. It was the first time I had to decide between trying to conform to society’s standards of women or doing what makes me feel confident and happy. My choice was more meaningful than I thought, as I realize that I, along with many other women, face a similar decision every day.

Whether it’s what we post on social media, what we wear, or how we express our sexuality, women are always under pressure and criticized. There would be much less hatred and jealousy in the world if more women recognized the power they have in their own lives to be themselves. They wouldn’t try to put down or take it away from other empowered women. Rather than slut-shaming and hating, they would celebrate the strength it takes to be confident in their choices as a woman.

So, I encourage all the women out there to ignore the hate and wear the kilt in their lives, whatever that means to them.

emma jane photo

 

Emma Jane, 18, is a St. Peter Secondary School (Peterborough, Ontario) student working this semester on a co-op placement with JOURNEY Magazine Ptbo. She will be attending Carleton University in Ottawa in September to study Journalism. Her passions include creative writing, reading, and human/animal rights, especially elephants

2 replies

  1. A voice that is a gift to JourneyPTBO, Carlton University, and anyone lucky enough to stumble onto any piece of Ms. Jane’s work. I’m immensely proud to call myself a friend of such a talented creator with such a bright future, and full of excitement for more to come. Great job Emma

    Liked by 1 person

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