IN DEFENSE OF CLEAVAGE

We were watching Saturday Night Live. Amy Schumer comes out to open the show and she's wearing a dress that shows off half her boobs. I may have said "that's a bold choice" out loud. Then at the end of the show Nicki Minaj comes out to join the crowd and she's wearing a dress that showed off way more than half of her boobs and Michael and I both raised our eyebrows. Then, this reaction made me a little mad at myself. When did I become so prudish and judgmental? I am not prudish. I am not judgmental. I was just raised with the idea that there are parts of a woman that should not be revealed in public. Excess cleavage was one of those parts. It's hard to shake off years of training dictating how a woman should be dressed. 

In the 1830s, people were arrested for performing the cancan. When I say people, I mean women. The dance was a bit scandalous. Underthings where revealed while lifting skirts up and high kicking. Woman were scorned for showing an ankle. Heaven forbid showing a whole leg. Since the beginning we, meaning us girls, have been taught to cover up. Those before us bound their breasts, wore multiple layers of underthings, cinched their waists with corsets and sat demurely in the corner where a woman belonged. Or where the men felt the woman belonged. This leaves me scratching my head at how this all came about. Early homo sapiens didn't fret over clothes and men and women worked together as a team to survive. Gathering enough food and fending off sabertooth tiger attacks just seemed to be a bit more important than the length of a loincloth. Somewhere along the line a man got hit in the head with a coconut or a rock and declared that God spoke to him to say that women and men were not equal. Men are by far stronger and better. Since that happened, women have been punished for being woman. Everything about our bodies is shameful. 

But then women won the right to vote. Bras were burned in the 60s and we passed reproductive rights laws. Women are CEOs of major companies. We've gained back most of that equality we had back in those early days of man. We tell our daughters, sisters nieces, stranger's girls that they can do anything a boy can do. You can play baseball. You can fight fires. Equal rights and blah blah blah. Yet we are still restricting ourselves with the clothes we choose to wear. Then Halloween rolls around and every costume for a woman on the sales rack is titled "sexy" fill in the blank. When we are at our Halloween parties and we see a woman show up wearing one of these sexy costumes, we pretend to sneeze the word "slut". I want to make it very clear that I have a serious problem with commercial costumes and this idea that everything marketed to a woman has to be sexy, but it's because Rick Grimes is not a sexy female Halloween costume. It's dumb. Adding the word "sexy" to every thing on the planet to sell a costume is dumb and the expectation that if you are a female your costume has to be "sexy" is also dumb. 

Slut is a word that we need to stop using. Period. It is an outdated demeaning word that has no value in this day and age. We are working so hard for that equality thing and when we see a woman wearing a tight dress and showing off her boobs our brains immediately say "slut" even when we know this word does not apply. It's easier to turn lack of confidence into something hateful towards a person who does not lack confidence. The only reason I'm not trying to squish my body into a Nicki Minaj style dress is because I lack the confidence to wear it. I am uncomfortable when fabric is actually in contact with my skin or I feel exposed. Though the other day I did glance down and notice that the blouse I was wearing made me look like I was having a good boob day.

It has become such a ridiculous contradiction. On one hand we are screaming about equality and telling our girls to be confident and when they express their confidence, we make it negative. That short skirt she's wearing is making boys look. I'm sorry, but when's the last time you were in a young person's clothing store like RU21? ALL THEY SELL ARE SHORT SKIRTS. Hey, don't dress that way, but all we're going to sell are clothes that will make you dress that way. No wonder we are all so mentally screwed up and have issues. 

How about the next time you have the urge to mutter "slut" under your breath, instead you just say "I wish I were that brave" or "I wish I had that kind of confidence". No, seriously. I really wish I had the body confidence of Nicki Minaj.