‘Shake It Off’

By Amanda Tonoli

We’ve all done it — the incessant judging of Taylor Swift’s sick dance moves and that risqué cat costume that Becky wore for the third year in a row at that frat party on Halloween a few weeks ago. It is human nature to have thoughts and opinions in regards to those around us, but, I mean, why exactly do we feel so compelled to, as Taylor Swift aptly stated, “hate, hate, hate”?

Slut-shaming is just one of the more rampantly popular and more reprehensible versions of this hating. When we shame others, namely women, for their personal lives and the way they dress, we are committing the crime of slut-shaming.

Taylor Porada, a fourth-year student at YSU, said she feels very strongly on the issue. It is infuriating that a woman would be judged for acting in the same manner as a guy who doesn’t receive any judgment. She enforces that what a girl does with her time and her life is her own business, not something for others to comment on.

Dressing up to go out has a different standard depending on gender. Girls are faced with their clothing choices being a reflection of their characters, while the length or tightness of a guy’s shorts don’t equate to his promiscuity with the opposite sex. Girls’ short shorts and a crop top apparently say, “Come and get me.”

“[The way I dress] that’s my prerogative, not your chance to touch me,” Porada said. “Sometimes I like being dressed sexy.”

Not only are we spreading the wrong message, that girls who dress sexy are slutty, we are creating a culture of self-conscious females constantly questioning if their favorite thigh-high boots scream, “Please cat-call at me.”

In “We Need to Stop Judging Other Women for Their Halloween Costumes” from The Huffington Post, published on Oct. 30, Erin Spencer said that as we get older, we evolve into more self-doubting beings.

“Insecurities only get worse as we get older,” Spencer said. “High school Regina George and the Plastics are so much meaner somehow.”

It has always been said that the reason we badmouth others is because we are unhappy with ourselves. Spencer brings up a good point: people are getting meaner with their judgments about others. It’s because we are being bred to be hyperaware of our actions as women and, in turn, we are projecting it onto those around us.

Hannah Barnes, a coworker and friend of Porada, admits to being a judger herself. Looking at others she said she often thinks, “What the hell is that person wearing?” However, if that thought was being returned, she would think, “Who are you to judge me?”

“I think girls should be able to wear what they want, dance how they want, and … [sleep with] who they want. Mind your own business,” Barnes said. “Don’t judge anyone. If it doesn’t affect you, then it shouldn’t matter to you. That’s my philosophy.”

Because it is a natural human element to judge other people, I’m not saying turn off being human; I am saying, though, that control can be employed. Perhaps it’s time to tone down voicing such opinions. You never know how low someone else’s self-esteem is, and who are we to help lower it?