In My Opinion, Outfit Shaming Is For The Sore Minded

I picked up my phone recently and out of boredom, scrolled through the digital wonderland that is Instagram. In my explore feed was a picture of a woman in a stereotypical ‘Instagram model’ pose while wearing a short red dress and taking a mirror selfie: stomach sucked in with her lips in a pout, a come hither expression on her face, her arms stylishly pushing together her breasts, her butt pushed out. Tens of thousands of likes and thousands of comments. I lay down to read. You know one of those articles or Instagram posts you know will set the comments on fire? Well, this was one of those posts, and for one those posts, the impending chaos has to be digested patiently.

I started to read, paragraphs upon paragraphs of strangers calling her a slut and prophesying that her future children would be ashamed of her. Users stepping in to defend her bodily autonomy. More users decrying the ‘disgusting generation of whores’. People writing what can only be called op-ed pieces about her outfit (seriously, what worry-free lives do these people lead that they can do this?). Eventually, the comment section argument went from people insulting the woman to commenters insulting each other and each others’ families at which point I left, 15 minutes of my precious life spent. The day before there was another comment section fight beneath the picture of ┬ácelebrity mom who posted a picture of herself wearing ripped jeans and a crop top with thigh-high boots. The argument wasn’t whether what she was wearing was indecent in itself, but if it was particularly sinful for a mother. As usual, few minds were changed and a mountain of creatively-crafted insults were dished.

These things are simply a reflection of the unbelievable culture of outfit-shaming in our society. Let’s be real, humans are quite nosy by nature and terribly opinionated. One of our strongest opinions is about dressing. We pride ourselves on ‘decent’ and ‘modest’ dressing practices (if only our hearts were quite as decent and modest). This has made the passing of harsh and unsolicited opinions about peoples’ choice of attire (particularly that of women) almost a sport in itself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying aspects of this phenomenon is it’s constantly changing goal post and . At some point it was trousers, then make up, then attachments, then heels. With every passing year, we review and reform what constitutes decent and indecent dressing. What however isn’t reformed are our sharp tongues and cruel bullying of everyone who doesn’t conform to the new standards. Humans are dynamic and when you mix our natural tendency to be opinionated with fashion and women’s bodily autonomy, its bound to be a but of a mess.

To be honest, some of us will never see eye to eye on the subject, but what we can agree on is that we need to treat each other better. You don’t approve of what the other lady is wearing? First ask yourself if your approval is even relevant to her. If it isn’t, keep your opinions to yourself. If your approval is relevant (or you just HAVE to say something), remind yourself that calling her a slut or giving her the stink eye is not the way to go about it. If women unanimously agreed to stop being horrible to one another, this world would be an awesome place to live.

Let us end the outfit-shaming, end the bullying and end the hate, it is a complete waste of time.

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