Written by Ana Orlowsky, a senior at FGHS and Advocate writer. This is her last contribution to The Advocate
As women, we are taught to cover ourselves or to face a wave of shame from others and our own minds. All of us are beautifully created, unique women who are taught that showing what is classified as too much skin is disgraceful. This thinking was passed onto me and many other by our mothers, in my case my mother was also very religiously moral. Old women on the street leer at those who dare accept their bodies, while old men simply stare. How can we be comfortable in our own skin if an overwhelming sense of modesty has been drilled into girls since we were too young to understand what is meant? The inscription of modesty starts at a young age, hovering over us as we try to declare our bodies ours, it follows women as it morphs into a sense of shame and discomfort.
Growing up with older brothers meant wanting to copy their every move, even while wearing skirts or skorts. Clothing where it is not acceptable for a young girl to sit cross-legged, for the fear that people will see too much. Something scandalous that a five-year-old has no grasp of. The only thing they get is that they need to cover up so others, including family, are not offended by our young and undeveloped bodies. It is in this precious time of growth that parents form modesty in their daughters and sons, slowly telling them that their prepubescent bodies should never be seen, for the fear of the shame accompanying immodesty. Mothers keep their daughters in line with a disapproving glance in the morning, making them feel that the clothes they otherwise felt gorgeous in somehow have become a sign saying,”Judge Me.”
Others wonder why it is so hard to be body positive when we know those same people will give the same disapproving look, if we wear things that don’t hide away our gifted curves. Envy surrounds those who can walk around with their hard worked for curves on display with the same assured confidence others only feel when they can hide in the folds of clothing. Only their bodies should never be on display, a woman’s body that has been chipped from pure gold should be for the comfort of the woman who carries it. Women are afraid to show off their bodies, for the dread of the attention that will lap up their uncovered skin, pushing to the edge of uncomfortableness. These looks make women hide. These looks show them the reason modesty has been so ingrained into the average woman. Our bodies draw attention on a scale, judgment form the pricks and hunger from the unworthy. When societies modesty is telling us our bare skin is too tempting to be satisfied with that bare skin for ourselves. Therefore that feeling of shame over how others see our hidden gardens comes to bare its teeth as well. Women do not dress for others to appreciate, we dress to be comfortable, yet that simple goal becomes impossible in any season when eyes follow us wherever we go, staring to a point of discomfort. We hide behind our clothes because we know from experience that people will stare, people will judge us back into conformity, and people will think things that we have no control over. Every time a stray eye wanders too long, that woman notices, and it demolishes our struggle to remain confident in the clothes we are wearing. In a society just starting to make moves toward equality, shouldn’t men be held responsible for their pervy glances, not the girls just wanting to be comfortable beautiful? As a woman, I yearn for the days when I can wear whatever I please, without the overwhelming majority turning to judge my clothing choices.
We are not tempting fruits to be admired, we are strong independent women who deserve respect no matter what we wear. We don’t need your remarks when our thighs or boobs are showing. As our own person know we look good, leave us to determine what looks good on our wondrous bodies ourselves. No one needs your trailing eyes to follow us around as we complete our daily tasks. We should not feel ashamed of the thoughts spinning in other people’s minds. We should not be teaching our daughters to hide, but to teach our sons how to behave around women who are comfortable wearing any clothing. We should teach them there is a fine line between appreciative and creepy stares. We should be taking more baby steps towards a future where my daughter will not have to be trained in the art of modesty.