Fashionably Unequal: How Fashion Treats Women Differently
Christina Charie ’25
Two-inch inseams. Bodycon dresses. Cheeky bikini bottoms. The list is incessant. The fashion industry continually projects these trends on women once the temperatures rise. While no one should be ashamed of showing their shoulders, the fashion industry leaves women with few options. A pair of women’s bermuda shorts is a distant memory from years ago. However, dress codes and conservative mindsets blame women for their buying habits when it is not necessarily a choice.
Men do not have the same advertising pressures. A crew neck shirt with basketball shorts is perfectly acceptable to society for men. Meanwhile, women squeeze into ribbed baby tees and bike shorts, and shopping becomes impossible when juggling dress code restrictions, proper fit, and trends. Why do women have to wear ridiculously uncomfortable clothing to be considered fashion-forward?
Ultimately, the fashion industry is sexualizing women. While an excessive emphasis on modesty can cause body image issues, the other extreme is also abhorrent. Sheer mesh dresses seen on supermodels present women as objects to be desired. The clothes distract from the intellectual and emotional value women have to offer while holding dangerous perceptions of the ideal female physique. With more women at the forefront of industries such as law and science, the fashion world remains in the past.
The same principle extends into the cosmetic industry. Acne needs concealer. Wrinkles need creams. Lips need filler. There is no limit to the resources women need to put into appearances. Women are no longer objects for others to admire. It is time for the fashion industry to support women, rather than tearing them apart.
Promiscuity in Rap
Sienna Strickland ’22
It is growing increasingly impossible to turn on the radio, browse TikTok, or scroll through Youtube’s trending music section without encountering sexually suggestive or vulgar content. Promiscuity in music, particularly mainstream music, is not new; sexually suggestive songs have been around since humans have. However, during a month in which we reflect on women’s achievements and social progress, it is important to ask ourselves if the overwhelming prominence of sexual themes in modern, mainstream music made by women is a step in the right direction. On one hand, women making music about their own bodies and promiscuity is a self-reclaiming of their own sexual agency, co-opting the trend of males being exclusively allowed to rap or sing about women’s sexual appeal. However, there are more dimensions to this question than liberation achieved through a normalization of both genders expressing and exploring sexuality in their music.
The practice is anti-feminist if it is forcefully reducing female artists to this “hot-selling” subject matter, excluding them from exploring others, and reducing them to their anatomy as well as what they do with it. Hearing messaging that women are primarily valued for their overt hyper-sexual appearances, attractiveness to men, or sexual skills can be negative for girls bourgeoning body images. Also, the music industry is full of old-money, ancient, out-of-touch men in suits dictating what these women talk about. The autonomy women have gained to openly express their sexualities is a positive, but when they are coerced by market incentives and contractual obligations to express themselves sexually, exactly how much agency they really have in this transaction gets called into question.
Women are certainly sexual beings, but they are also much more than that. During this women’s month, we must consider what true “liberation” of women is. It is not only an unabated expression of their sexual selves (that have historically been demonized), but also an exploration of other aspects of womanhood, femininity, and female creativity that are not produced for the monetary or sexual gratification of men, but for the genuine self-expression of women.