No Short Shorts, More Social Discipline and Slut Shaming

This post comes via Just A Girl In Short Shorts.  Kristie Arnold was sentenced to three days in jail for having the temerity to wear shorts judge Janet Booth deemed to be inappropriate to court.

Too much leg.  Yes, the female body is to be covered and hidden from view unless permission has been given for it to be displayed.  This is slut shaming at its finest.  That this punishment is inflicted by a woman highlights the degree to which we have succumb to the idea that female bodies are always dirty.  The message is that if the body is on display it is always sexual, thus invalidating womens agency.  That a woman may choose to display her body for her own gratification is often overlooked in the desire to construct the body from the point of view of the patriarchal lens.   The understanding of the  body is not removed from discourse rather it is formed from it.  It is already understood before becoming realized in the corporeal sense.

The second aspect to consider when we view this incident is the class element at play.  Class is more than a designation it signifies a series of learned behaviours, as well as access to certain commodities.  A person of a middle or upper class background may exist with the understanding that certain clothing is appropriate for certain spaces, however those lessons are not necessarily transmitted to those of a different class location.  Arnold assumed that because her clothing was neat and clean that her attire was appropriate, yet without continual access to the privileges that class grants such ignorance of cultural norms is understandable.   Booth did not attempt to make a determination of why Arnold felt that her attire was appropriate, nor did she take the time to investigate whether or not she had the financial ability to purchase the kinds of clothing that she deemed to be acceptable.  Arnold was disciplined and stigmatized by both class and gender.

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