Hey Girls, Did You Know “Slut Shaming” is BULLYING? Go, Boobies, Go!

Hey girl cyber bulying meme
Hey girl cyber bullying meme female empowerment

I know it’s difficult not to judge when you were raised in a judgmental environment. But think about what you do to yourself, and to your gender. Think about why it offends you and whether the higher ground isn’t to simply live and let live.

I was disappointed to read about the recent trend called “Slut Shaming” in which women and girls cyber-bully other women and girls into what they consider “proper” dress, etiquette and behavior which they deem modest and appropriate.

Who decides what is “modest” or “appropriate” for another person?

Have you ever considered why you are offended by another woman’s dress? Why do you really care?

Slut-shaming says more about the type of person you are than the type of woman she is.

Oh I know plenty about slut shaming. I heard the word “whore” enough times from my own mother’s well meaning but shame-inducing pursed lips about women who dressed “promiscuously,” and even about me when I stepped outside those perceived boundaries of modesty. I still hear it spill from my own mouth sometimes.

But when I stop and consider why I’m thinking that way, it usually narrows down to one of two basic ego states: I’m either feeling sexually threatened (is she more attractive to my mate than I?); or I’m jealous (I have nice boobs, but I don’t feel like I can show mine that way!)

Isn’t it funny how we expect our society to evolve everything else except the role of women and sexuality? We expect to move beyond our biology with violence and superstition, yet we still cling to the belief that men are not responsible for controlling their urges at the site of female body parts. By contributing to this same slut-shaming mentality, women are just as responsible for perpetuating the myth that women who dress a certain way “ask for it.”

Traveling Marla Cleavage Stardust hardcover gift edition signed book contest female empowerment slut shaming bullying

Neil Gaiman offered to pretend to stare at my cleavage after I fussed over covering up, worrying my photo with him would look crass (since I’m pretty much always hanging out these days).

It’s basic, biological competition flipping a switch in the brain. You can hide behind religion or societal decency or whatever else you want to call it, but the reason another female’s sexuality angers us is simply because we see her as biological (sexual) competition.

Get. Over. It. EVOLVE, ladies, EVOLVE!

Enough with this flip-flopping of empowerment. Enough with women against women.  Who told you it was okay to make yourself feel better or more righteous by putting down another woman for being proud of her body? Sure some girls display various parts because they’re insecure, but others are celebrating a freedom that many women will never have.

If you want to keep your breasts tucked away and hidden, do it. If you want to show cleavage, do it. If you want to breast feed in public…do it.

Did you know that at certain times in our history showing an ANKLE was considered scandalous? Should you be slut-shamed because you show your ankles? Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? The parts of a female considered sexual or immodest are subject to change at the whim of small sections of society bullying and shaming others into what is “right” or “wrong” in terms of female behavior.

WOMEN, ISN’T IT TIME TO EVOLVE? I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted with all the things I have going on in my own life without obsessing over what another woman is wearing. Where is our sorority; our sisterhood? Where is the female fist-bump, chest-bump and high five? It seems we’re too busy snapping fingers, wagging tongues and creating new cyber-bullying memes to ever really find empowerment and equality.

Hey girl cyber bulying meme female empowerment

My breasts are nothing to be ashamed of, and how you react to them says more about you than me.

Why do we ever think we can be equal to men if we can’t even stop shaming and slandering our own gender? When is the last time you heard men shame one another over showing their six-pack abs, their happy trail or their chest hair? Even their sexual proliferation is a non-issue at worst, a compliment at best.

Let’s celebrate our bodies, learn to be more secure in ourselves and the ability of our partner to rise above those cave-man urges at the site of a WANTON ANKLE and be better than our historical counterparts.

A woman’s breasts are her own and no other person (male or female) has any business casting shame because her manner of dress is at a different comfort level than our own.

Although my own style was much more modest when I was younger, I spent a lot of years learning to not be ashamed of the body I was given, and that includes my ample breasts. I’ve watched small-breasted women enjoy the merits of the “little black dress” with their demure cleavage considered “classy” instead of slutty. As a larger-breasted woman, I know what it’s like to have that same style of dress cut to the same length look “tawdry” and “slutty” simply because there is more breast to display.

Hey girl cyber bullying meme female empowerment

I love being bundled up as much as I love spilling out. I’m still the same person either way: a devoted wife who has learned to celebrate her body and not be ashamed to bear it and bronze it sometimes.

I’ve dealt with levels of shame over my own breasts since they first began developing. Now I allow myself to celebrate the freedom to cover up or let the twins breathe. I like having the choice, and my breasts are nothing to be ashamed of showing. (Now my cankles ankles, on the other hand, you better hope I never unleash them on your man…)

I’m not asking you to make all cleavage-baring women your best friend. But I am asking you, woman to woman, to think about what’s prompting you to judge her, and see if you can’t rise above ego or biology to find a truer sense of sisterhood than we’re serving up to each other these days.

To that end, and in defense of a woman’s right to celebrate breasts everywhere, I have taken my cleavage from my occasional spotlight offline to this very public, very permanent arena of cyber space. Judge away. I will NOT be ashamed to put them on display.

Love, Marla

P.S. As usual, thanks to my online fitness community for stopping by to check my daily progress. Here is my daily update:

daily fitness slut shaming cyber bullying self image female empowerment

Cardio day!

34 Comments on “Hey Girls, Did You Know “Slut Shaming” is BULLYING? Go, Boobies, Go!

  1. A brilliant post and very true. I have massive body issues, but have good hell great breasts (in my modest opinion!) However whenever I go out in anything low cut I worry that people (other woman) will judge me.

    Something my mother once told me that I think is very apt – when a woman gets dressed up or goes for a night out, she gets dressed for the other woman not to impress the men. This could be a huge generalisation but in my experience woman can be bitchy and horrid and I think your post is spot on.

  2. I have an 18-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old daughter who are worlds apart in terms of the need for social stature. My 18 year old could care less and has always been her own person. She’s a modest dresser and comfortable in her own style. My 11-year-old, I worry about. Already fashion conscious and easily hurt if she thinks someone doesn’t like her. I often wonder how I could have two daughters in the same house who are so different?! Must be the pod people… 😉

    • Those dang pod people screw everything up!
      Yeah, as much as it’s “easy” to blame parents, there is so much influence from elsewhere. I think about my brother, sister and I. We are each different in significant ways. I know that I had much less influence from my dad’s side of the family since I was younger when he left and didn’t spend as much time with them after that.
      Also, don’t you think we’re in one of those fast-changing sections of history, so that instead of seeing differences between one generation and the next, we’re seeing differences, like in your daughter, of less than ten years of cultural influence on one child to the next?
      I dunno. Always speculating, and of course, I work for the pod people. 😀

      • Pod person or not, I think you’re right about the cultural influences from one generation to the next within a smaller time span. I think it’s just one of the many trends we’re seeing as part of an evolving “instant gratification” society. Feedback, reward, information, judgement, etc., are all accumulated so quickly now. I see an undercurrent of constant stress or tension in my younger kids (I also have two 13-year-old boys; we’re a blended family). It’s like they are always in overload. And we’re not a “plugged in” family, either. No Internet or computer at home. No cable TV, only a handful of stations from the airwaves. Yet they are plugged in everywhere else. I know I’m off subject here, but I think it all plays into our children’s inability to cope with those kinds of pressures in ways we never had to deal with. Definitely makes a parent’s job a lot tougher today. You know, as a parent of pod people…

  3. Awesome entry!!! I just finished writing a couple of entries on a similar subject. I am really happy you write about this as this is an issue about woman vs. woman. I mean we have enough things out there against us that we do not to add ourselves to that list. Awesome!

  4. Hooray for boobies! I actually used to play in a flag football league where the league winner was named that. No it wasn’t our team. 🙂

    • Ha. That’s awesome. They’re definitely something to celebrate. I’m a big fan of the breast cancer awareness campaigns that focus on the funny and catchy things like “Save the boobies” and things like that.

  5. Yet another symptom of how girls start early with “buddy bashing” and find themselves, 50+ years later sitting around in their “gossip groups.” After being raised by a man & raising men, I can absolutely attest this is the least attractive thing of all to men – and the reason they will group off to themselves (go on long hunting trips, whatever it takes, etc.) to avoid having to hear it.

    • I always love when I run into a woman who seems to be as accepting and non-judgmental as she is appealing physically. I always wonder who raises those women and wish they would write a book on how to raise one.

  6. I love this entry! There’s just too much girl on girl hate in this world and it really has to stop. Go boobies, go!

    {p.s. That photo with Neil Gaiman is priceless!}

  7. An excellent post and life-affirming discussion. We need to be kinder to each other and gentler with ourselves. I always go back to Anais Nin: It’s all right for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all.”

    • Thanks. I am so sorry, because I was going back through here and saw that I accidentally put a reply to another poster as a reply to you. Sorry about that.

      I like that quote and I’ve been thinking a lot about that kinder, gentler need as I tend to be quite unforgiving when I don’t do things right. If we can’t treat ourselves with kindness, I suppose it makes it harder to treat each other that way.

      • Well said, my friend. I am most critical of “me” and fail to recognize that I am the only one who can forgive myself. It is my responsibility – no one can take my place.

  8. I thought the celebrate our bodies was “celebrate our boobies!” Haha maybe they should be… I have to admit- I still find myself a little self conscious if I’m showing a little too much. I know it’s nothing to be ashamed of I guess it’s just they way we are thought to feel you know?

    • Hahaha. You have beautiful boobies to celebrate, Briana. For all my bravado, I fight self consciousness also. But I figure I’m lucky to still have breasts with the rates of breast cancer as they are, and when they’re down to my knees I’d like to look back and know how much I celebrated them when they still had some kind of pep, hahaha.

  9. There is no way on heaven or earth that I’m getting myself into the middle of this discussion!…That being said, I will make the all too familiar “them” observation that you ladies really want your cake and eat it too!! Men are hardwired for sex! Combine that with our hundreds of years of male dominated social evolution, and it takes conscious effort to NOT “oggle cleavage. If a woman is attracted to the man who’s oggling her, no problem, right? (Be honest) it’s just the rest of us “creeps” (I.e. those to whom you do not find a similar attraction) who bear the brunt of this “caveman syndrome”!!
    Hey! Your right, sis…it does feel good to get some of these thoughts off your chest! (No pun intended)

    • Ha – you stepped barefoot into the cowshit, brother!
      I do understand the argument you’re making about women wanting only appealing men to ogle them. I know this is true of me.
      I think this is an interesting statement, because a male friend of mine recently said he loves it when women find him hot. And he meant it – as many women as possible to find him attractive.

      I thought that was really interesting and probably goes toward a lot of things we set up in childhood about gender roles.

      I also think that women are equally hardwired for sex but that we are socially taught to wrap it up in romance and wedding rings.

      I dunno. Lots to think about and as always my posts are just launching points for these kinds of discussions. My opinion is no different from anybody else’s asshole.

      • Yea sis, I think we both agree that we understand WHY as think and act the way we do most of the time; I just can’t figure out why, since we know, we have so much trouble changing that behavior in ourselves!! CRAZY!!
        Love you sis!

    • I agree 100%. I have caught myself thinking or saying things about other women that I have to stop and ask myself “would I say that if she were a man?”
      Someone on my facebook profile commented about this post on there and said that a current example of celebrity shaming is Taylor Swift. I’m not a big Taylor Swift fan, but they had a point. I guess another celebrity has recently been bashing Taylor about being a slut because she has had so many boyfriends. But any male celebrity is just still “searching” for the right one, or hasn’t settled down yet or waved off in general acceptance of typical male behavior.

  10. I was teased by my family for being “flat chested” (which I wasn’t…only compared to the other D-cups in the house). When I got out of the house, it was not unusual to see me at Goth clubs wearing little more than a thong, push-up bra, and boots. So, yeah, there were a few years there when I really let it hang out, but I can definitely say that it really was entirely for me (my motives for doing it). That said, though, there came a point in time that I had to sort of confront the obvious (which I’d been fighting against, because, on my own, just considering myself, I was having a great time): men’s reaction to me was entirely different, and by different, I mean shallow, petty, and stupid. Jeans and a t-shirt, if they talk to you, they might even talk to your face. Show some skin and 1) they’re absolutely talking to you, whether you want them to or not, and 2) the words coming out of their mouths are stupid. Also, bonus: 3) they do not want to hear anything remotely intelligent coming out of yours, because, I suppose, it ruins it for them.

    So, I have to say that, if I find myself not approving of how a woman is dressed, it’s really never because I think she should feel ashamed. I do, though, think of all the ways she’s being demeaned by the men looking at her, whether she likes it or not. And that really just makes me sad. I *do* believe that we should be able to do whatever the hell we want with our bodies without fear or shame. That’s a given. But I can’t forget that we ladies don’t live in a vacuum, and if we’re not being judged by each other, we’re being judged by *them.* And when it comes to something like cleavage, that judgment is never good. I know it’s hard for some men to understand why women aren’t just thrilled at having their breasts oogled over lunch (and then when we’re not, they might say “Well, if you didn’t want us to stare, don’t put them out there!”). Anyway…point is: to me, as much as we’d like it to be, this isn’t an issue just between women. We can’t judge each other badly or well by how we dress in our own little closed society. That said, though, there is a difference between “I have big tits and, hey, this is just how this shirt looks on me” and the staggering herds of young women you can catch any weekend night, any time of year, in miniskirts and stilettos hooting down E. Carson on the Southside. The former isn’t an issue; the latter is only in the context and, hey, they’re making us *all* look like idiots. If we lived in a world where I thought for one second these women were going into those bars and clubs operating on the same level as the guys going in, it’s be a very different story. We’re just not there yet. And it’s totally not fair that we can’t enjoy our bodies and our sexuality in the same way without the constant baggage and stigmas that aren’t emanating from our selves but from the men whose gaze we’re all filtered through.

    Thanks, Marla. Now I’ depressed. 😉

    • Aww, don’t be depressed, although it is such a hard topic, isn’t it? I love men and I love to ogle a guy with his shirt off and I practically drool over a good happy trail, but I have been trained to do it with discretion, because to do so in a manner that is similar to a stereotypical male interaction (catcalls, staring at his buttonfly instead of his face) still is a mark against me and my inability to stay within acceptable female non-slut behavior.

      I go back and forth on the attention I receive when my cleavage is revealed. the above photo, for example, is something I’ve done, because I love the look of a different striking bra and cleavage showing on an unbuttoned shirt. I guess I feel the answer to the filtered gazes of men and their ogling is more exposure instead of less. I think the more things are hidden, the more emphasis they’re given, which is why men no longer ogle over ankles (except perhaps in certain Middle Eastern countries where an ankle is still apparently cause for certain uncontrolled male episodes).

      There are times that I wish women could go shirtless in this country all the time. I really feel if men looked at all kinds of boobs, braless, all the time, they would just lost their mystique. And of course I feel this way tenfold about breastfeeding in public. I think it’s so taboo for the exact same reason that women can’t go shirtless. It would take away the sexuality of the breasts and make them just another part of skin.

      I dunno. More questions than answers as usual. I could never be an advice columnist. Hahaha.

  11. I agree, with you ladies, a woman should never be ashamed of who she is physically or mentally, my daughter (19) struggles with this and i always reminder her to be proud of who she is and those who dont like or understand her just dont know her. so Bravo to you Marla!! I actually just did a painting on this subject called Unity.

  12. You nailed it with your photo caption… “I love being bundled up as much as I love spilling out. I’m still the same person either way: a devoted wife who has learned to celebrate her body and not be ashamed to bear it and bronze it sometimes.” Go, Marla!

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