Just when you thought girls could do anything

The front page of today’s Dominion Post carries the story of a Newlands college pupil who was told she “looked like a slut” for wearing her school skirt short by her school dean.

The verbal apology that was given notwithstanding, this incident is very disturbing. As a former girl who formerly wore very short skirts because I thought I looked cool, I would be grateful if young women were not subjected to moralistic abuse about their appearance. Uniform policing is an almighty waste of time; if you want to incite rebellion, attack young people about their clothing identity.

Speaking of high school injustices, check out this story about two young Melbourne women who were refused the right to go to their school ball because they were same-sex partners. Hasn’t the school heard of human rights? One of their dads has lodged a complaint with the Australian Equal Opportunity Commission.

But my pick of of the week has to be this young hero from Timaru. William Struthers won the Lions Club Young Speechmaker of the Year competition, and will get to go to the USA and Canada. His speech was about “women and why they should stay in the kitchen” because children need a loving and caring mother at home to raise them.

Thanks William Struthers for your profound analysis of women and what’s best for children. I am sure the girls in your class were thrilled to know their job is cooking and staying at home with the kids. Of course children need loving and caring parents at home with them but it’s not a gender specific role. Have fun being a young expert making speeches about women and being rewarded by the Lions.

Lastly, I found out today via facebook that the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at Victoria University is under threat (again). We have until tomorrow lunchtime to write something in support of this vital centre of analysis. Otherwise the stereotyping and the discrimination will not stop!

Send submissions in support to lilian.loftus@vuw.ac.nz

122 thoughts on “Just when you thought girls could do anything

  1. How about we advocate for a girl’s freedom to dress how she wants in her uniform and the Dean’s and Struther’s freedom of speech…

    Then we can all get over it…

  2. was told she “looked like a slut” for wearing her school skirt short

    Notice he didn’t actually call her a slut.
    I see a lot of young women who dress like hookers (completely indistinguishable) but it doesn’t mean they actually are.

  3. Lastly, I found out today via facebook that the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at Victoria University is under threat (again).

    Someone tell me what sort of job would a BA with a Womyn’s Studies major get? I don’t see the point in the state spending tens of thousands per annum on a Gender and Womyn’s Studies Department when that money could be used to get more doctors and nurses, which we actually need at the moment.

  4. john-ston – are you arguing that we need more doctors and nurses to patch up all the women who get beaten up by their husbands and boyfriends?

  5. Gee, john-ston, I sure hope you proclaim the same disdain for all non-practical-skill courses – because of course no one needs to be able to think critically in our modern world.

    Shunda, perhaps you could be clearer on what a woman has to be wearing to be “dressed like a hooker”. If you can do it without demeaning women acting as unashamed sexual beings, or without buying into anti-sex, anti-women, anti-sex-worker stereotypes you will win a small prize.

    Also, your comments sound like they were written by an asshat. I hope you rush to my defence if that comment gets moderated, because note I didn’t call you an asshat.

  6. john-ston – are you arguing that we need more doctors and nurses to patch up all the women who get beaten up by their husbands and boyfriends?

    No Sam, we need to recognise that the “girls can do anything” mantra hits a brick wall when a woman comes up against an angry, much larger, degenerate thug.

  7. QoT, I proclaim the same disdain for any course that cannot get the person that takes it a job in the end, whether it be some substandard course at an Institute, or whether it be a major in a University degree.

  8. No Sam, we need to recognise that the “girls can do anything” mantra hits a brick wall when a woman comes up against an angry, much larger, degenerate thug.

    Sorry, Shunda, was that meant to be “We should totally limit women’s opportunities because all men are larger and stronger than all women”? Because I fail to see where woman vs. larger opponent of either gender is any different from man vs. larger opponent of any gender.

  9. If you can do it without demeaning women acting as unashamed sexual beings, or without buying into anti-sex, anti-women, anti-sex-worker stereotypes you will win a small prize.

    You quite misunderstand me, you see, I believe that there is actually a difference between ‘sexy’ and ‘nasty’
    It is like the difference between healthy eating and being a gluttonous pig.

  10. “How about we advocate for a girl’s freedom to dress how she wants in her uniform and the Dean’s and Struther’s freedom of speech.”

    I’m quite happy to advocate for Struther’s freedom of speech, so long as he accepts my right to say he sounds like a dickhead.

    I’m not going to advocate for the Dean’s freedom of speech in this case, because they were, in this instance, doing a job in a workplace dealing with a person with significantly less power. I would expect the Dean to demonstrate more professional behaviour.

  11. @john-ston: So the only point of learning is to gain employment and contribute to GDP? What a horribly empty world we would live in. I suppose you also disdain any food that isn’t just a bland, nutritionally-adequate jello cube produced in the minimal time, because taking two hours to roast a chicken isn’t efficient?

  12. Sorry, Shunda, was that meant to be “We should totally limit women’s opportunities because all men are larger and stronger than all women”?

    Can you not read?
    Oh! I get it, I am making a good argument so you are simply moving to dismiss based on something I didn’t say!
    You’re goooooood.

  13. I believe that there is actually a difference between ’sexy’ and ‘nasty’

    Which is of course in no way influenced by patriarchy’s controlling and suppression of women’s sexuality – because you’re totally okay with a woman acting sexually in a societally-condoned way. Oh wait, that was my entire point!

    It is like the difference between healthy eating and being a gluttonous pig.

    From sex-hate to fat-hate in one stride. It’s understandable, we live in a world which demonises all things physical, but really, if you can’t see how you’re part of the dehumanising-the-socially-unacceptable with that comment nothing’s going to help you.

  14. Shunda, you’re the one saying we have to give up on the idea of “girls can do anything” based on your assumptions about comparative physical strength between the genders. There’s nothing there to twist into “something you didn’t say”. Because that’s what you said.

  15. “we need to recognise that the “girls can do anything” mantra hits a brick wall when a woman comes up against an angry, much larger, degenerate thug”

    well, if I come up against against an angry, much larger, degenerate thug my legal rights, freedoms and so forth will also be walked all over, but I don’t intend to stop claiming those rights, so what’s your point?

  16. So why do young women hook up with such degenerate misogynist pigs QoT?
    Why do these women lack the ability to discern between a good mate and a bad one to express their ‘sexual freedom’ with?

  17. QoT, the difference between me roasting a chicken and having courses that don’t provide their graduates employment is that me roasting a chicken doesn’t generally cost anyone else money. On the other hand, those graduates that have been through university on such courses are not only a cost in terms of their degree (student loans only cover about 20% of the costs of the course), but in terms of unemployment benefits because those people cannot get a job.

  18. QoT, as a man, I’m just wanting to give you some support here. Can’t really add much to anything you have commented, because your analysis is spot on.

    But to the men in response – jettison the stereotypes, and look at women as people rather than:

    a) Sex objects; or

    b) Vulnerable people who need men there to protect them.

    That would help. Women can dress however they fucking well like, and it is not up to us/me to dictate that to them.

    As for William Struthers – you are a misogynist creep. It is really sad to see young men growing up with these attitudes. I have to admit having a similar mindset in my early teens, but was fortunate enough to be challenged by a few feminist friends (much like you, QoT, who were prepared to engage with and challenge young men like I was then), and by my late teens had worked through it.

    I’ll never claim to fully understand the patriarchal oppression of women, because as a man I can’t, but I at least acknowledge it.

    For the men who don’t, open your eyes, and your ears, listen to what women are saying, keep your mouths closed about how women dress and look until you understand that is their right, and keep your willies in your trousers until you work out that “No” means No!

  19. ‘Looked like a slut’
    So what, get over it and stop being so precious.
    If the teacher had said ‘you are a slut’ then maybe some offense might have been intended, as it is the statement was about the attire not the contents therein.
    Offense is something that cannot be given, it can only be taken.

  20. Thanks toad.

    @Shunda: If you can provide a simple, objective list of criteria by which women can infallibly detect “bad men” from “good men” I can only assume you’re keeping it a secret to maximise profits when your instant bestseller comes out?

    Here’s the thing: in order to believe that women just “choose” to get into relationships with “bad men”, you must believe either that women are stupid, or that women wants to be abused. Both of these positions are misogynistic.

    Of course acknowledging that some men can be pillars of the community, from good families, great to their mates, and also rape, beat, and abuse the women and children in their lives, is apparently very difficult for a lot of people. Far easier to just lament that there’s nothing you can do because chicks dig jerks; it absolves people from taking actions that might cause them the slightest inconvenience.

  21. Offense is something that cannot be given, it can only be taken.

    I really object to that proposition, samiam. Saying that people “choose” to take offence to things, and that any statement exists in a vacuum of morality/respect/basic manners until some (hysterical/uppity/hypersensitive) person “chooses” to find it offensive takes all responsibility for offence from the person making the statement and puts it on the victim – the person who is being insulted, or demeaned, or oppresed by that statement.

    Telling a young woman she is “dressed like a slut” is intended to do nothing more than cause her shame and embarrassment and make it clear that she is to be shamed and embarrassed for acting in a way society deems inappropriate. Telling a young woman she is “dressed like a slut” is the first step towards telling her she “asked for” any attack, verbal or physical, that she is the victim of while dressed that way.

    It is offensive because it is the use of language to police other people’s behaviour. Nothing “precious” about it.

    Also, your comment sounded like it was written by a f*ckwit. No offence.

  22. @john-ston: So the only value of higher education is in the wages earned by the person getting the degree? And here I thought a population getting better education led to plenty of awesome benefits, for their communities and families – which in turn leads to higher wages for many others. But if it doesn’t immediately register in the GDP I suppose it must not exist.

  23. @samiam 8:31 PM

    ‘Looked like a slut’ is totally derogatory to all women.

    Tell me, samiam, what does a “slut” look like?

    Like a woman who wears short skirts, or exposes a lot of cleavage, perhaps?

    Why can’t we all, women or men, dress however we want to, without attracting disparaging comments?

    As for the term “slut”, it is a complete double standard. Single men who score a lot are admired and envied by their peers. Women who do the same are labeled with a disparaging term.

    Do you really think it is a good look for men to be praised for fulfilling themselves sexually, but for women to be denigrated by a disparaging term “slut” for doing the same?

  24. So why do young women hook up with such degenerate misogynist pigs QoT?
    Like a woman who wears short skirts, or exposes a lot of cleavage, perhaps?

  25. Toad your argument is simplistic in the extreme, it sounds very nice on paper but fails woefully in the real world.
    Fact: it is women, yes women! that most often use the word ‘slut’ to describe another individual.

  26. It may shock you, Shunda, to know that women can be affected by the messages and propaganda of our patriarchal society just as much as real people!

  27. Telling a young woman she is “dressed like a slut” is intended to do nothing more than cause her shame and embarrassment and make it clear that she is to be shamed and embarrassed for acting in a way society deems inappropriate.

    Your opinion is not logical if in fact she is acting inappropriately

    By your logic, if Toad flops his tallywhacker out in front of a bunch of 16 year old girls, there is nothing you can do about it, Toad would be just expressing his sexual freedom.
    So I ask again, is there such a thing as inappropriate female sexual behaviour?
    Or are you simply suffering from misandry?

  28. It may shock you, Shunda, to know that women can be affected by the messages and propaganda of our patriarchal society just as much as real people!

    I am sorry, for some reason I believed I was living in 2010, silly me, it tuns out to actually be 1951.

  29. Shunda, your definition of “acting inappropriately” is synonymous with “acting in a way read as sexual”. Which is my entire point.

    Toad probably wouldn’t do such a thing, and if he did in breach of laws around indecent exposure or in a manner intended to be threatening … yeah, not quite the same as “your skirt is above your knees!!!!! JEZEBEL!”

    Please, though, do tell us *your* definition of “inappropriate female sexual behaviour”. This should be so good. And by “good” I mean “textbook misogynist”.

  30. Please, though, do tell us *your* definition of “inappropriate female sexual behaviour”. This should be so good. And by “good” I mean “textbook misogynist”.

    Happy to oblige.

    Very recent this one.

    Last Saturday my wonderful independent ‘life partner’ (wife sounds sooooo misogynist) and our children went to a public fireworks display.
    We were sitting on a grassy bank with many other families and a group of young women aged 15-21.
    One of the women had a some baggy overalls on and had very neatly cut out a hole in the crotch near her vagina and a hole in the back for her bum.
    She was drawing a lot of attention because of her and her friends loud cursing and filthy talk, though nobody said anything. Then she started yelling things about her vagina at the top of her lungs and pulling the overalls to the side and showing some boys that turned up her crotch, in full sight of everybody there (and all the children).
    I thought her behaviour was ‘inappropriate’, but hey, I guess that’s just the misogyny talking.

  31. “Speaking of high school injustices, check out this story about two young Melbourne women who were refused the right to go to their school ball because they were same-sex partners. Hasn’t the school heard of human rights? One of their dads has lodged a complaint with the Australian Equal Opportunity Commission.”

    The school stated that the partner of the student was not allowed to go because the ball was for year 11 students and the partner was younger than year 11, not because the two students were of the same sex. The complaint was dismissed.

    Trevor.

  32. I am so sorry, Shunda, my life got in the way of focusing all my attention on a single internet argument. Now we’ve got your convenient anecdote (and assuming your word on this is to be trusted), care to explain *why* the young woman’s behaviour was “inappropriate”? Was her swearing unladylike, or maybe clothing which draws attention to areas of the anatomy considered sexual is the problem because women shouldn’t be openly sexual?

    Talking loudly, swearing, and “showing boys her crotch”, assuming they were consenting (and of course this was something Vulgar and Inappropriate, not “check out my new pants”) are all behaviours that have classic been viewed as uncouth, but hardly scandalous!!!!, when performed by young men.

    As for the “haha that settles that hysterical feminists!!!” on the Australia school ball case? Gosh, what’s this? Quotes from the school about wanting it to be a co-ed event and girls needing to socialise with boys? And she needed to bring a male guest or none at all? Boy, that’s an open and shut case right there!

    And I’m sorry, but any thumbs-down you got in my absence probably wasn’t me. Since I was absent. But obviously I cared that much that I “ran away and hid” and just did passive-aggressive downvoting like a total girl.

  33. @ “My Info” – um, that was kinda incoherent. But one reason women may hook up with men who turn out to be abusive is that tragically we do not live in a world where abusive men walk around with “I BEAT UP PEOPLE” tattooed on their foreheads.

  34. Now we’ve got your convenient anecdote (and assuming your word on this is to be trusted), care to explain *why* the young woman’s behaviour was “inappropriate”? Was her swearing unladylike, or maybe clothing which draws attention to areas of the anatomy considered sexual is the problem because women shouldn’t be openly sexual?

    I have heard all I need to hear.
    I am afraid your standards of ‘tolerance’ are impossible for the majority to ever attain.
    I read an interesting article about how aspects the modern feminist movement have become exactly the thing they sought to cast out, effectively becoming female chauvinist pigs.
    I tend to think there is abundant evidence of that being true, a sad case of hatred breeding hatred.

    But I can not be right because I have a penis.

    oh loathsome penis! how long shall I bear this symbol of human oppression!! thank God my days are numbered and I shall die, but loe!, another will be born!!

  35. QoT, It’s not so much ‘choosing to take offense’ but more ‘choosing NOT to take offense’
    You can call me an F wit, it causes me no offense at all.
    If the world was full of people who chose not to be offended, i’d say the world would be a far happier place.
    Telling her she ‘looked like a slut’ was designed to grab her attention and make her possibly re-evaluate her attire. Just as her wearing her skirt ‘up a bit’ is designed to grab others attention. The school has uniforms precisely to homogenize the students and remove, as far as possible, the irrelevant distraction of the fashion show from an educational institution. She will have an entire adult life to look as sexy as possible, something I for one thoroughly enjoy. For now her job is to be at school learning, good on the school for having boundaries.
    I don’t know the actual circumstances of the comment, but I’m assuming she wasn’t paraded up front at assembly and told, in front of the school, that she looked slutty. That would be quite destructive to her ego.
    @ Toad, some of your stuff regarding… “Why can’t we all, women or men, dress however we want to” as addressed above, but I’ll add to that that we aren’t talking about men and women here, we are talking about boys and girls. There is a difference.
    The term ‘slut’ may once have been a misogynistic term, but these days I hear the term applied to both men and women, with exactly the same connotations. Heck some are proud of it!

  36. Shunda, I don’t believe I have ever made your assumed gender an issue … I think you’re wrong because I completely disagree with everything you’ve said and have explained why on each occasion. Sorry if that bothers you!

    I must also apologise for not determining my opinions and attitudes based on what “the majority” of people would find acceptable. Which shouldn’t really come as a surprise given everything I’ve said here about rejecting societal sex-policing.

  37. @Trevor29 10:43 PM

    It appears someone is telling porkies here, and I think it is pretty obvious who. The age issue appears to have been tacked on as an afterthought when the school realised they were knee-deep in the brown smelly stuff legally for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    And it is debunked by Hannah Williams’ claim that other students attended with younger partners and that wasn’t an issue.

  38. @samiam, assuming that people have the option to just “choose” not to take offence assumes that the only thing wrong with slurs, be they sexual, gendered, racial, classist, whatever, is that the person being attacked with that slur might have hurt feelings.

    Slurs have a lot more power than that, be they reinforcing to a person that they are non-privileged, or reinforcing to others who has the power in a situation, or triggering fear. Because as I have already said, “just” being told you “look” like a “slut” is not just being told you look like a slut. It’s a threat that reminds you we live in a world where if a woman who is sexually assaulted “looks” a certain way, it will be blamed on her.

    I can happily “choose” not to take offence at the words people cause me. But those words will still have an effect. Which is why they’re offensive.

  39. “…But I can not be right because I have a penis…”

    no no shunda….!…

    ..it isn’t because you ‘have’ one…

    …it is because you ‘are’ one….

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  40. @samiam 7:51 AM

    The term ’slut’ may once have been a misogynistic term, but these days I hear the term applied to both men and women, with exactly the same connotations. Heck some are proud of it!

    Yeah, I have heard it used by gay men with the connotations of pride to which you refer. That is an attempt to reclaim the word as their own, just as some African Americans have attempted to reclaim “nigger” with positive connotations. But if I as a white man wandered around Detroit or Washington DC or Harlem talking about “niggers” I suspect I would soon end up with a knife in my belly.

    In the context the school dean used ‘slut’, it is clearly being used as a mysogynist term of disparagement.

  41. Women can dress however they fucking well like, and it is not up to us/me to dictate that to them.

    Toad, this was in the context of a school, and most schools in New Zealand have a uniform along with rules as to how it is to be worn. This girl clearly broke those rules, and while the response might not have been all that ideal, nevertheless, it was well within the rights of the Dean to say that you shouldn’t be wearing the skirt so high.

    Single men who score a lot are admired and envied by their peers.

    They are also referred to as manwhores and other unsavoury terms, so admiration isn’t always the case.

  42. “reinforcing to others who has the power in a situation”
    And by not taking offense you then immediately emasculate that persons play on power. So by not taking offense I reinforce that I hold the power in this situation and your bullets just bounce off me.
    That’s true power.

  43. @john-ston 8:42 AM

    And what to you think is the purpose of the rule requiring “…girls’ skirts to touch the ground when they kneel”, john-ston?

    Sure, most schools have uniform rules, but what does this particular one achieve? Isn’t it to police the sexuality and self-expression of young women? Or is it just mindless authoritarianism for authoritarianism’s sake?

    Or maybe I’ve missed something.

  44. i used to be a total slut….

    telling five different women on five consecutive nights that i was only in sydney for one night…

    ..was perhaps a reasonably epic example of slutdom…

    ..(and in hindsight..they all deserved to be treated better than that..

    ..i guess..?..)

    ..and all i can really say in my defence is that i wd arrive laden with cocaine/champagne/hashish…

    …and assorted other goodies…

    ..and a reasonably good time seems to have been had by all..

    (..but i did feel a tad shabby after the events…

    ..thru my unenlightened-fog/haze…it somehow didn’t seem ‘quite right’)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  45. i found monogamy at the end of the eighties…

    ..and ended my slutty-ways/days…

    (but ‘short skirts’..?..hmmm!…)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  46. no..that’s an example of male slutdom….

    and hey..!..it’s all in the eyes of the beholder…

    ..and i dunno about ‘proud’..

    ..but i’d be lying if i said i didn’t have fun/fond memories…

    ..and it’s all really a matter of personal-choice…eh..?

    …not something to be dictated to any gender by any stripe of woswer…

    ..(hey shunda..!..looking at you..!..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  47. …not something to be dictated to any gender by any stripe of woswer…

    ..(hey shunda..!..looking at you..!..)

    Don’t bother, your sexual behaviour is none of my business.

    But if you were wearing overalls with the crotch and ass cut out of them and talking about your dick before exposing your groin to all and sundry at a family event it may become my business.

    QoT and Toad have made it quite clear that they believe that there is no such thing as inappropriate sexual expression, I think they are totally deluded, and I would hazard a bet that the majority would agree.

  48. “Someone tell me what sort of job would a BA with a Womyn’s Studies major get?”

    I just happened to read a bio for somebody who worked for the World Bank, International Financial Corporation and Westpac as a gender specialist – sounded fairly well remunerated too.

  49. disturbing imagery there..!…shunda….!

    btw..this whole thread about round and round in circles/nothing…driven by you..

    ..is a classic example of your distracting/time-wasting method..

    ..that so annoys…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  50. i don’t see them as that…

    i see them as a vehicle for promoting positive change…

    ..and as a ‘real’-media…

    ..as a counter to the whitewashed drivel/ignorances our mainstream media feeds us…

    (and ‘drivel/ignorances’ pretty much sums up yr short-skirt concerns..eh..?..)

    ..phil(whoar.co.nz)

  51. @Shunda barunda 10:41 AM

    But if you were wearing overalls with the crotch and ass cut out of them and talking about your dick before exposing your groin to all and sundry at a family event it may become my business. QoT and Toad have made it quite clear that they believe that there is no such thing as inappropriate sexual expression…

    That’s not what I said, Shunda. The example you cited, as well as your earlier example of a woman exposing and talking about her genitals in public, are not only inappropriate but crass and boorish. So is any sexual act done to or in front of someone else without their consent.

    You are confusing how people choose to look (which should be the individual’s decision alone) with what people do with/to others (which most definitely should not be).

  52. That sounds reasonable phil, I retract my ‘wasting time’ statement.

    So lets get back on topic.
    Is there any such thing as inappropriate female sexual behaviour?

    You see, if we can establish what is and isn’t appropriate, we can then have an intelligent debate on appropriate sexual expression in a learning institution.

  53. you seem to have a bit of a problem with the joys of diversity there…shunda…

    can you not grasp the fact that one persons’ ‘inapppropriate’..

    ..is anothers’ delight..?

    and..who are we to judge..?

    ..eh..?

    so really..by definition..any discussion of this non-topic…wd be highly un-‘intelligent’..

    eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  54. That’s not what I said, Shunda. The example you cited, as well as your earlier example of a woman exposing and talking about her genitals in public, are not only inappropriate but crash and boorish.

    That’s not what QoT said! She had no problem with that behaviour and suggested I had the problem.

    So is any sexual act done to or in front of someone else without their consent.

    I agree with you, and apologise for assuming you held a more extremist position.

    You are confusing how people choose to look (which should be the individual’s decision alone) with what people do with/to others (which most definitely should not be).

    Ok Toad, I would put it like this; there is a difference between ‘sexy’ and ‘nasty’.
    And attire that is appropriate in one place may not be in another, the “togs togs togs..undies!!” advert displays this nicely.
    So it is entirely appropriate that a school that has a dress code can determine the purpose of said code.

  55. you seem to have a bit of a problem with the joys of diversity there…shunda…

    can you not grasp the fact that one persons’ ‘inapppropriate’..

    ..is anothers’ delight..?

    and..who are we to judge..?

    Phil, I am a heterosexual male, I find females attractive, I don’t recoil in horror when I see a woman dressed in sexy clothing.

    The young woman with the crotch-less overalls was not ugly in the least, but I still found her behaviour inappropriate in the setting we were in.
    Likewise a school with a uniform policy may be simply seeking to avoid distraction in an environment that is about learning.
    It is quite possible the skirt was inappropriately short.

  56. “So it is entirely appropriate that a school that has a dress code can determine the purpose of said code.”

    Sure, but you can enforce a dress code without belittling somebody or making moralistic judgments about their infringements of it.

  57. It doesn’t mean the principal hates women though does it, which is what this is all about. I don’t find short skirts offensive, but I can still see the wisdom in having an appropriate length at a school.

  58. Didn’t anyone here go to school? Schools as I remember them were totally inconsistent in their application of rules. I flicked through the Newlands College’s own website. There are photos of girls in short shorts and short skirts. If you think rules are applied fairly at schools you have to be naive, or had a unusual experience of school – or maybe you just didn’t notice at the time.

    Students who are academically or sportingly gifted get to dress how they like and are displayed on the school website with their skirts well above the knee (I suppose they might be politely told to comply with guidelines). Students who wear the same clothes but misbehave – especially those from some ethnic minorities – get told they look like sluts.

  59. shunda…i really couldn’t care what type of ‘male’ you are..

    ..you missed the whole point of my comment..

    ..which was ‘diversity’/tolerance…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  60. @Joe Buchanan 11:56 AM

    Indeed, Joe. I recall that I got away with having long hair, wearing an earring, and wearing sneakers, all of which were against the school rules, as well as consistent prankish misbehaviour at school because I was a straight A student (and in the case of the prankish misbehaviour was usually clever enough about its execution to not get caught).

    Others who were not got caned or suspended.

  61. “It doesn’t mean the principal hates women though does it”

    Oh for heaven’s sake. Nobody asserted that.

  62. shunda@kiwiblog:

    # Shunda barunda (1,368) Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Catherine Delahunty is outraged that a Principal told a student “she looked like a slut” for wearing a very short school skirt.
    I asked the question on frog blog whether a ‘slut’ actually exists and if so how would one identify one.
    It would appear that some people strongly believe that there is no such thing as inappropriate female sexual behaviour, anything goes and so long as a woman is doing it, nobody is allowed to criticise.
    I had no idea that people were this deluded

  63. Good to see we have nailed Shunda down to a definition of inappropriateness. The reason we did this, of course, is to compare that with the school kid with her skirt.

    So Shunda. Does the skirt too short meet your definition, that is, the holes in crotch, etc?

    Or do you want to revise your definition? Anecdotes make pretty crap definitions, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you do. See, all you’ve shown is that there IS some behaviour which may be considered inappropriate, not actually defined the boundaries of anything.

  64. “It doesn’t mean the principal hates women though does it”

    Oh for heaven’s sake. Nobody asserted that.

    Nobody? Here is the definition of the word being bandied about on this thread:

    Misogyny (pronounced /mɪˈsɒdʒɪni/) is the hatred of women. Misogyny comes from Greek misogunia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny

    I agree it is a complete non issue though, hardly the “very disturbing” issue Catherine made it out to be, if it was a female principal that dropped the “s” bomb we would never have even heard about it.

  65. AAARGH, are you being deliberately thick Shunda? Look, I looked through the website – there are photos of students in short skirts, with or without stockings. There’s a photo of students pulling up a boat in short shorts. The point is: This is acceptable – no-one thinks a student wearing togs at the beach is engaging in inappropriate sexual expression. No-one thinks a netball skirt is inappropriate sexual expression. No-one cares if students wear a short or low cut cocktail dresses to the school ball (they even call this “formal wear”). No-one tells THEM they look like sluts.

    I’m sure there were girls at school in my day who wore short skirts because they were Cyndi Lauper fans or whatever. Or just because they liked sun on their legs. Or who found high cut shorts comfortable for running in or something. I can’t really remember and actually it didn’t occur to me that this had anything to do with sexual expression.

    The problem is that one student gets picked out and a teacher infers a sexual attitude from her clothing. Trying to look cool isn’t the same as trying to look slutty, and the teacher had no place to suggest it was. It is the teacher who is sexualising the issue not the student. School students get sexualised enough in this society without teachers echoing it.

  66. “if it was a female principal that dropped the “s” bomb we would never have even heard about it.”

    1. It was the dean, not the principal.
    2. The dean was female.
    3. Maybe I’ve missed it, but I can’t see anyone saying the dean was misogynist on this thread. The term ‘slut’ was described as misogynist.

  67. It was a woman?
    Oh this is gold! So Catherine is upset that a woman is trying to modify a dysfunctional (by her own mothers admission) students behaviour.

    “Mr Pegram said Amethyst had had “ongoing problems” with her uniform” and: “There had been issues over Amethyst’s attendance and attitude toward teachers and she was involved in a physical altercation with a male pupil last week.”
    Hardly sounds like it’s all the deans fault to me.

  68. gee..shunda..!..nearly at ninety comments…

    …out of/about nothing..

    ..(is that your best effort yet…?)

    ..your best dissembling…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  69. “Shunda I don’t understand why it is more ok for a woman to call someone a slut but less so for a man?”

    Because Shunda thinks this is a appropriate way for a female teaching professional to try to modify a dysfunctional student’s behaviour.

    Presumably if I tell Shunda he writes like a dumb homo (I’d guess that in youth culture calling a male a homo is similar to calling a female a slut – they are put-downs based on perceived sexual misbehaviour) he’ll take notice of me and give my ideas serious consideration.

  70. “So Catherine is upset that a woman is trying to modify a dysfunctional (by her own mothers admission) students behaviour.”

    OK Shunda, I give up, you win.

    I admit you have far more ability than me to introduce red herrings and assert things about people’s motives that have no basis in the available evidence.

    You have also done a great job of shifting the subject of the debate whenever your arguments fail, and demand others produce evidence (not to mention the basic facts of the event under discussion, which it appears to have taken you all this time to catch up with) to back their views while presenting none yourself.

    I’m sure you’ve frequently ‘won’ debates by shouting the same thing over and over until everyone else has gone away and you are welcome to ‘victory’ in this discussion.

    Satisfied?

  71. Sure, most schools have uniform rules, but what does this particular one achieve? Isn’t it to police the sexuality and self-expression of young women? Or is it just mindless authoritarianism for authoritarianism’s sake?

    Toad, such a rule is to help keep order in a school environment. Let us be honest, when you have an environment with hundreds of males who can only think with their willies, then you want a rule in place to ensure that you can help focus everyone’s effort on learning and not on getting laid.

  72. “There comes a point when a man (woman) must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his own conscience. “-Hartley Shawcross

  73. Aaargh again. It’s not the male school students who can only think with their willies, it’s the contributors to this discussion (and the teacher) who can only see a schoolgirl’s preference for a short skirt in terms of sexual expression.

  74. @Shunda, waaaaaaaay upthread:

    You have an amazing capacity for reading things in my comments which I have neither said nor implied. This conversation has never been about what *I* may or may not consider “inappropriate” behaviour (particularly given that the entire basis of my comments is questioning what the definition of “inappropriate” is drawn from, i.e. “women being sexual is bad”) – you’re the one who has failed to establish that your definition isn’t rooted in those things.

    You’re also the only person who has made this about “it’s okay/not okay if it’s done by a man/woman” – except for the point I made which you’ve yet to refute, which is that a young man standing around grabbing his crotch and swearing loudly is simply not treated as equivalent to a young woman doing the same. If you’ve any argument to make that society actually doesn’t police women using sexuality in a way not applied to [at least heterosexual] men, by all means, make it.

    But please, stop with the goalpost-shifting, it’s just embarrassing.

  75. But please, stop with the goalpost-shifting, it’s just embarrassing.

    There’s some text book projection right there!
    It is such a confusing world that leftish feministish people live in.

  76. “Shunda I don’t understand why it is more ok for a woman to call someone a slut but less so for a man?”

    Because Shunda thinks this is a appropriate way for a female teaching professional to try to modify a dysfunctional student’s behaviour.

    Nobody called her a ‘slut’.
    Stop trying to shift the goal posts.

  77. Shunda, if you’d care to point out any actual instances of me goalpost-shifting in this convo,feel free.

    Because from my perspective it goes something like:

    QoT et al: “Judging women negatively for expressing themselves as sexual beings is misogynist.”

    Shunda: “It’s not an issue because she SHOULDN’T have looked like a slut! Wait, I mean it’s not an issues because she wasn’t actually CALLED a slut! It’s about the rules! No, it’s about men not being allowed to do things! Wait, it’s about women being able to do whatever they want! Misandrist! It’s about the rules, but not if they’re wearing opaque stockings! Crotchless pants are the same as short skirts! Wait, I meant it was about swearing and being sexually explicit in public! Umm, YOU THINK WOMEN CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT AND MEN ARE THE ENEMY!!! Haha got you gonna narc on Kiwiblog about it!” *runs away*

  78. Bit slow off the mark aren’t you Shunda? I had my first 3 hours ago! It is Friday night, after all.

    Things to do, women to subjugate!

    Sorry, just joking!

  79. Speaking of Friday night, don’t you find it ironic that the feminist movement has delivered knuckle dragging misogynist males exactly what they wanted? namely an abundance of scantily clad young women?

  80. @Shunda: many feminists including myself would argue that that phenomenon isn’t about feminism but backlash against feminism.

    Anecdata: in my first year at uni I was invited to a threesome. On declining, I was told I couldn’t be a “real” feminist if I was so “uptight” about sex.

    The point being, we’ve taken sexual “liberation” [see also The Pill] and turned it into another tool to use against women – “you should express your sexual “freedom” by continuing to be defined by your sexual attractiveness and sexual utility to men”.

  81. @ Shunda barunda 9:06 PM

    Shunda, that comment feeds directly into supporting the male rape culture that women are “gagging for it” because they are “dressed like sluts”.

    Responsible men should be challenging out sons (and our peers) about that attitude, not excusing it.

    “Think with the big head, fuck with the little head” should be the message, not the converse which you comments seem to suggest!

  82. @QoT 9:11 PM

    …in my first year at uni I was invited to a threesome. On declining, I was told I couldn’t be a “real” feminist if I was so “uptight” about sex.

    Should I presume that at least one of the intended participants in the threesome was a man? And should I presume that it was the/a man who said you couldn’t be a “real feminist” if you were uptight about sex?

    FFS, couple, threesome, foursome, or moresome – “No” means No, and should be respected for what it means, without pressure or put-downs.

  83. The point being, we’ve taken sexual “liberation” [see also The Pill] and turned it into another tool to use against women – “you should express your sexual “freedom” by continuing to be defined by your sexual attractiveness and sexual utility to men”.

    I am not sure what you are trying to say, are you arguing against promiscuity?

  84. FFS, couple, threesome, foursome, or moresome – “No” means No, and should be respected for what it means, without pressure or put-downs.

    Whoop!! We just found some common ground!
    The beer is working!!

  85. I am not sure what you are trying to say, are you arguing against promiscuity?

    Not at all – the problem is when promiscuity or any behaviour is conflated with “liberation”- see my anecdote above. If a woman [or man] wants to have however many sexual partners, serious, casual, whatever, that’s their choice.

    But then you get things like Girls Gone Wild videos, where it’s clearly not about women enjoying themselves for themselves – it’s being flirty, getting pissed, going into wet t-shirt competitions and making out with other conventionally-attractive women because that is how you get male attention, and male attention is what women are told they have to strive for.

    So sexual “liberation” just gets focused through a lens of “men are the centre of the universe, you need male attention to be secure in society, heterosexuality is your only option”, and women are trapped in a paradox whereby they have to “have a sense of humour” and “be fun” and “not be uptight” while simultaneously “not being sluts” and eventually settling down to be good monogamous wives.

  86. Ok QoT, I can see your position a bit clearer now, and I actually agree with some of what you are saying.
    But I think you also need to accept that some women (and men) do want a monogamous relationship and that is an equally valid expression of their sexuality.

  87. Of course, Shunda, and some don’t. And whatever they do sexually, as long as it isn’t coercive (either blatantly or subtly) of anyone else, should be nobody’s business other than that of those involved.

  88. No worries, Shunda, it was a fairly heated debate. No “story”, however, beyond the usual crap that turns a mild-mannered girl into an unapologetic raving feminist.

    I have no issues with monogamy on its own, as I have no issue with polyamory, kink, whatever dynamic floats the boat of the people involved. But monogamous heterosexual relationships are also pushed as an ideal, a “norm”, a goal for every little girl to aspire to.

    @toad, you’re correct that in that instance it was a guy doing the “you’re not really liberated” line. But I have had similar experiences with women, because we’re all surrounded by that set of backlash ideas.

  89. 2010 and the debate still rages inside the patriarchal frame which benefits neither men nor women, nor the planet in the long term – and I am not claiming to be free of all kinds of prejudices and inconsistencies. But I wrote the blog to highlight how little things have changed for young women and how rewarding the young man who made the speech on “a woman’s place” seems extremely bizarre.

Comments are closed.