Women shouldn’t have to conform to modesty standards

By Hayley Devitt

With summer on the horizon, clothes are shrinking and judgment abounds.

While men are told only to keep a neat appearance, women and girls are urged to stay “modest,” as if their bodies are a source of shame and moral deterioration.

Some girls really are more comfortable covering up and others prefer not to; it doesn’t matter because we have choices. Not only is it bullshit, but modesty is just a vague idea that doesn’t hold up.

Arguments could be made for the appropriateness of clothing in regards to time and place. For example, Samantha Stuer, freshman journalism and English major, said, “There’s a limit between what you wear to school and what you wear when you go out.”

Maybe, but I see clothes as a form of expression and an interchangeable costume; we dress according to how we feel that day.

Unfortunately, in our culture, it is assumed showing skin or wearing tight, revealing clothing equals sexual availability and willingness. This proves problematic because the line between modesty and immodesty has no definite distinction.

“Everything is variable,” said Jose Hurtado, sophomore electrical engineering major. “What would be considered revealing to me might not be to somebody else. There’s not an exact scale you could go off of.”

Still, some take it upon themselves to police what is or isn’t proper dress for women.

Recently, I found a Pinterest page called “Guys on Modesty” which is mostly just pictures of cute dresses and vintage looks. However, I don’t agree with their stance on what women “ought” to wear. Certainly, men are allowed an opinion of what looks nice, but ultimately it is none of their business.

The attitudes expressed on this page are wrong on many levels, but one of “Guys on Modesty’s” e-cards reads, “Dear Girls, dressing immodestly is like rolling around in manure. Yes, you’ll get attention but mostly from pigs. Sincerely, real men.”

Disguised as a caring statement, this is an insult and another way of judging girls based on looks.

Last week at the University of Arizona, a classics and religious studies major held a public demonstration and said women who dress and act like “whores” deserve to be raped. According to him, “they’re pretty much asking for it.”

We hear it all the time: Since men are visually oriented, the responsibility is on women to not appear “provocative” enough that men would have no choice but to rape them.

First of all, nobody asks for rape. To say so is a contradiction and a delusion.

Second of all, no amount of visual blockage will keep sexual thoughts at bay, for men or women. That’s human nature and there’s nothing unholy about it.

Third, I don’t think men are all slobbering maniacs with inherently violent impulses they can’t control. Those that are should be held accountable for their actions.

Young people shouldn’t be tearing each other down like this. This summer I want everyone to relax, have fun and not worry about something as trivial as a moral dress code. Let’s cut the bullshit.