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ISSUE 118 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/18/2005

‘Short Skirt’ article misses point

By Andrea Woudenberg
Executive Editor
and Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 18, 2005

Last week’s Manitou Messenger included an article criticizing “Short Skirt Day,” held in honor of the opening night of “The Vagina Monologues.” As a “Monologues” cast member, I joined the ranks of women who bared their legs. We did so as a group, in solidarity. All members of the cast and crew walked around with pride.

Obviously, not everyone was supportive of our tribute to the “Monologues.” To quote the “My Short Skirt” monologue, “My short skirt is not begging for it. It does not want you to rip it off or pull it down.”

The authors of the critical article wrote, “[during] a week that sought to stop violence against women, it seems incongruous … to advocate women wearing clothes that … promote adverse images of [themselves].”

They continued: “Blaming the victim for an attack by claiming she was ‘asking for it’ … has some amount of currency.”

It’s hard to believe that these self-proclaimed feminists actually believe that tripe. Yes, women get attacked and raped, but accepting the excuse that a survivor was “asking for it” merely reinforces that stereotype.

Not only does that belief restrict a woman’s freedom, it also gives men a negative image. Men don’t automatically turn into rapists just because a woman wears a short skirt. Give them some credit, too!

As the “My Short Skirt” monologue states, “My short skirt is not an invitation, a provocation, an indication, that I want it, or give it, or that I hook … My short skirt is my defiance.”

When women started wearing miniskirts in the 1960s, it was to join in the sexual revolution, to prove that women were finally in control of their own sexuality.

To say that we are “objectifying” ourselves, as the authors did, is proving that we still haven’t gotten past the views of ourselves or of other women as objects, simply because of our shortened hemlines.

Short skirts are our “defiance,” a slap in the face to a still-puritanical society that labels women “streetwalkers,” as the authors did, for – gasp – showing off their legs.

One final quote from the monologue: “My short skirt is a liberations flag in the women’s army. I declare these streets, any streets, my vagina’s country.”

Yes, it’s unfortunate that “Short Skirt Day” got more notice from the student body than other, more intellectual V-Week events.

However, it was excellent publicity that got people talking. I personally plan on having more “Short Skirt Days” of my own in the future. And to the authors, I have one last thing to say: “My short skirt, believe it or not, has nothing to do with you.”

Andrea Woudenberg ‘05

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