Sunday, February 19, 2012

Only Sluts Wear Togas


I recently had a fashion history class on Ancient Rome. When the average person thinks of Ancient Rome the image of a figure draped in a white toga comes to mind. In reality however togas were reserved for men – unless you were some variation of an unsavoury woman. Prostitutes and women caught in their adulterous she-devil ways were required to wear the male dominated toga. There is no such garment to be worn by adulterous men other than perhaps a fist bump from their friends. In Ancient Rome you knew a slut when you saw one.

This mentality has aged rather gracefully. A provocatively dressed woman will still be treated with nothing but the upmost respect right? A flash of thigh, a 6 inch heel, or a personal favourite silk tops without a bra, this is how you can tell a slut from a respectable woman. The difference between the kinds of woman you can bring home to mom and the kinds of woman you simply bring home and call a cab for in the morning.
The rhinestone mustache is the only thing keeping me from looking like a total floozie 

Men and women will both say that has changed; the SlutWalk organization that came into place after a police officer in Toronto said that woman should not dress like sluts to avoid being raped has raised a lot of awareness on the subject. The topic of slut shaming has become a global issue with protests popping up all over the globe.  As a woman who likes to go out and have a good time with a strong aversion to pants I can say without pause that if you have a neckline that plunges low enough to show a bellybutton your back in Ancient Rome in a heartbeat. The cliche saying  “I was looked at like a piece of meat” is fairly outdated. Meat isn’t objectified by what its marinated in, women are. You can be looked at as someone that should be paid for services, or someone not to make any contact with at all. 

Heather Campbell is not a slut. Just a 21 year old girl who likes to feel good about her appearance. I checked my phone to find a text from Campbell last summer. “I want to wear something slutty tonight can I borrow something”. I promptly packed a bag of options and presented them to her, she felt great. Confident and ferocious in a leopard miniskirt, she did not anticipate the backlash however. I have a reputation for dressing in a manner that has been described as 1990s red light district. Should I have warned her that dressing like that will make people treat you badly, or is it simply a "part of life", if you dress like a whore you asking for judgement? 
You cant be smart and dress like a whore unless your in a porno, and thats just acting  

One can only speculate the different reasons women dress provocatively, attention, free drinks , or shockingly enough because that is how they feel comfortable. In Ancient Rome it was by force that if you were a “bad girl” you had to dress the part. 2700 years later despite all the things women have proved they can accomplish it is still so common to make assumptions based on how we clothe ourselves. Actions do speak louder than words, but apparently scraps of fabric scream at you.