The age of the ‘tart’: Are you a prude or provocative?

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Hmm…we do live in a confusing age, don’t we? A time when everyone judges everyone else, when no item of clothing is acceptable in today’s society, when a person can hardly ever put a picture on one of these grand social-networking sites without provoking unsavoury comments from someone, somewhere, and it’s really starting to irritate me.

The people who post pictures of themselves on awful Facebook groups such as ‘The most beautiful teen’ concern me the most, because they must be so insecure with themselves they have to post the ‘best’ photos of them with their make-up done up to the nines, or boys with their shirts off (some with their grannies so people like them better) to goodness knows how many strangers just to make them feel good about themselves when someone comments. We live in an age when this kind of thing is socially acceptable. Anyone who has seen the film ‘Social Network’ will remember how much trouble Mark Zuckerburg got in when he made the site comparing girls by looks, and now Facebook (that’s ironic!) has exactly the same thing and hardly anyone bats an eyelid?

The worst thing about groups like these are the comments: chastising girls for showing a bit of flesh, and verbally abusing those who don’t. You literally cannot win! No wonder so many girls choose to starve themselves to be thin, or spend hours under sunbeds to look prettier when they are judged so much by how they look, what they do and what they wear. It’s amazing how much hatred can be spread to one person for one picture, and that thought is a rather unsettling one. People shout abuse at the girls that post certain pictures of themselves on the internet and they feel that they’re a better person because of the way they dress. Well, they’re not. Personally, I’ve started living my life under the philosophy that no matter what someone wears or how they look, I’ll try not to judge them on that, but on their personalities.

So what if someone wears a bikini around town or a polar-neck jumper? Who are we to question why they choose to dress like this? Because, really, it is those who judge that lead these people to dress the way they do, by making them feel so uncomfortable with their own skin, or the opposite, by making them feel so much hatred for themselves they choose to act out by wearing little, or outrageous clothing to get attention. Why can’t we just let a person express who they are by the way they dress and embrace it?
I recently read an article in the Daily Mail (no, I don’t buy it, I’m almost ashamed to say my grandparents do, but this article did catch my eye) about Cheltenham Ladies College, and the dress code they have put in place for 2012. Things such as no skin-tight clothing, no make-up, no shorts or skirts more than an inch above the knee made me feel compassion to the students. By such strict regulations surely these girls are going to want to act out in other ways later on? Anarchy giving them the sense of freedom they never had? ‘Scouting for Girls have a song ‘Posh Girls’ which says ‘Posh girls have good manners but they go like the clubbers ‘cause they never got to hang around with boys in school’ and ‘Cheltenham Ladies’ is a clear advocate of such behaviour.

People need to stop being so self-important and let people live their lives as they want. If a boy wants to dress like a girl, why stop him? Why can’t a girl show as much or little skin as she wants? Individuality is an important thing, and why are there people trying to prevent this?

So, next time I see someone labelled as a ‘tart’ and worse, or someone dressed in an ‘odd’ way (but what is normal?) I’ll say hello and treat them like the human being they are.

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