Message horny strangers

If you’re a teenage girl, you may have seen the photo of a message taped to a high school window making the rounds in your Facebook newsfeed recently.

It reads: “I don’t think my shoulder, belly-button, legs, or back are going to distract any male students or faculty.

This dress code is telling girls to cover up so that they don’t distract males because “boys will be boys.” It’s hot. We should stop teaching women to change so that they don’t have to fear men, and start teaching men to respect women.

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But in this case, I think that the comments beneath the picture are more important.

If you scroll through them, you’ll see a lot of people telling you that it’s your responsibility not to dress like a “slut,” “whore,” and a plethora of other words designed to make you feel like less of a person.

You’ll see comments telling you that in order for a boy to respect you, it’s your “job to give him something to respect.” First, I hope you know that progress is often surrounded by controversy.

All of the arguments breaking out over this photo are a sign that someone is challenging The Way It Has Always Been, which is a very good thing.

Next, I hope you will believe, despite these condescending and hateful remarks, that you are a human being worthy of respect.

What you wear has absolutely no bearing on your sexual activity, or lack thereof, which is really no one else’s business in the first place.

The other day while driving home from work, I saw a shirtless man who looked about my age—mid 20’s—mowing his lawn.

I did not roll down my window and cat call, or yell to him that I’d like a piece of that.

I did not scoff in disgust, thinking that his lack of shirt was an invitation for me to comment on his appearance in a derogatory way or to view him as someone with no self-respect.

He was a man mowing his lawn, sweating under the high afternoon sun, and dressed for the weather. We live in a culture that produces girls’ tops with narrower shoulder straps than boys’ tops, girls’ shorts that expose more leg than boys’ shorts, and then shames girls for wearing the clothes that are sold to them.

We live in a culture that tells boys it’s OK to shed clothing in the heat in order to be more comfortable, but tells girls that their comfort is secondary to how others perceive them.

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