A grammatically inept Direct Message (DM) was the first time I encountered fully fledged slut-shaming; I received it directly after posting a picture of me in the fatal combination of a low-cut top and a pushup bra. After reading it, it took me a few weeks to wear anything but baggy t-shirts and sweatshirts in an effort to desexualize myself.
A hateful DM quickly turned into a rude awakening. From then on, comments I had previously viewed as harmless gained importance. I realized that my wardrobe impacted my reputation—people gathered that my revealing clothing meant that I was, for lack of a better word, a loose woman.
“Your shorts are too short” took on a whole new meaning. Similar comments surfaced more and more frequently, to the point where attempting to dress myself felt like a mission predestined for failure. My clothes now caught attention from not only from horny pubescent boys, but judgmental women of all ages, sizes, and races. It seemed as if the one thing that the world could unanimously agree on was the fact that Katy Siler was showing far too much cleavage. I know it sounds arrogant to say that everybody was talking about my clothing, or lack thereof, but it’s hard to ignore when people have started referring to you solely as “girl with boobs.”
It sounds unrealistic that in liberal 2019 people could guiltlessly comment on the amount of skin that I was showing. I had a hard time believing it at first, too. It’s almost as if all of the Saturday specials we watched on Disney Channel about acceptance and diversity had no impact on this generation. By this point, I made it a point not to change my wardrobe. Gloria Steinem, Malala Yousafzai, and Angela Davis hadn’t fought their epic feminist battles just for me to submit to an outdated patriarchal value.
I saw no end in sight to these subtle slut-shames. Somehow, as a society, modesty is still viewed as a priority. The female body is so deeply sexualized that even straight women can’t refrain from commenting on another girl’s outfit simply because of a plunging neckline. As a budding feminist, I have yet to come up with a solution to the deep rooted misogynistic views of women’s modesty. The best I can do is call for others to help; question your own views on what others wear instead of questioning why they wear it.