Slutty McSlut Sluts won’t find themselves husbands and then what will they do?

A Current Affair had a moral panic last night. Young women! Dressing like sluts! They won’t get husbands! Oh noes!

The segment is called “Girls on show”:

Aussie girls in their teens and on display. Young women exposing skin to get access to clubs and the growing trend that will shock parents.

(Note: there is no mention in the story of young women getting into clubs. The whole thing is “look at these sluts, they won’t find husbands dressed like that, but here’s close-up after close-up of their body parts for your perving pleasure”. And the reporter, Alison Piotrowski, mentions the “campaign to cover up” twice, without giving any info whatsoever about an actual campaign.)

You can see it on the ACA website. Be warned: it’s difficult to watch. Not because it’s shocking, but because it is so completely and utterly stupid.

The most disappointing part of the segment is Ita Buttrose. Oh Ita, when did you become June Dally-Watkins?:

Piotrowski: Ita says if young women are dressing like this to find a husband, then it just won’t work.

Buttrose: They might flirt with the tart, they might try have sex with the tart, but it’s often not the tart that they take home to meet their mother.

The faces of the young women are blurred, and the intro suggests they’re getting into clubs by showing some skin, so they’re underaged. How many 15, 16 and 17 year-olds do you reckon are looking for husbands? And I hardly think young women wear hotpants to meet the parents. Sure, as we get older we mock young people for many things – like their hair – but I’m pretty sure they understand situation-appropriate clothing.

But my favourite part of the segment is Charlotte Dawson unwittingly providing an excellent example of hypocrisy:

I hate to say it, but the girls actually selling themselves on the street are much more tastefully dressed than some of these young ladies.

Firstly, Ms Dawson, sex workers are not “selling themselves”. They sell a service, in the same way an osteopath sells a service, and a physiotherapist sells a service. Sex work is just one of the many professions in which you use your body for work. Much like an athlete. Or modelling, which is what Dawson did before hosting reality tv shows. If you actually bought someone when you bought sex, you’d get to keep them.

And secondly, young ladies? Oh, that’s right, because in 2012 a young woman’s only purpose is to act like a lady in order to trick a man into marrying her. Presumably, that man will be one of the many young men from the 1950s wandering around out there.

Oh, and thirdly, how are the outfits worn by the women in ACA’s moral panic any different to this dress you wore to the Logies last year, where – wardrobe malfunction my arse – you held your dress open to show your legs, while bending over to show your cleavage:

Charlotte Dawson at the 2011 Logies

Charlotte Dawson at the 2011 Logies. (Image: Getty Images, via Triple M)

Or this boobs-out promo photo? Or this promo photo in pants so tight you can’t sit down? Or when you went on national tv wearing only body paint and some feathers? People in glass houses shouldn’t get undressed with the lights on. Please note, I am not criticising Dawson for what’s she’s wearing. The photos are clearly a bit of fun, and I love a boobs-out photo as much as the next person. What I am criticising is the hypocrisy of her putting young women down for wearing the same clothes she wears.

Now, what other people do with their bodies is their business, and you know I don’t usually comment on this. But when you lecture young women about how the desire for fame makes them do silly things, and the only movement your face can do is blink, your message loses credibility. Do as I say, not as I do, right? [Update: I got into an argument on twitter with Dawson yesterday. Although ‘argument’ is the wrong word – she just repeatedly plugged her book and refused to address any of the criticism. But she did say that my comment about her face was easy and bitchy. And she’s right. It is those things. Her face is none of my business. But I think my point is still valid: if you’re going to lecture people about not doing silly things for fame, it’s more credible if you’re not doing silly things for fame.]

The thing is, their only “evidence” of Slutty McSlut Sluts is just a few groups of women, on what doesn’t even look like a cold night. The reporter, Alison Piotrowski – who, by the way, wears just a bowtie in a photo that makes her look topless for her work twitter account, so there’s some hypocrisy going on there, too – is in a light jacket. The other people on the street in the background are in light jackets. A lot of the “slutty” young women are in long sleeves or tights. It doesn’t look like a particularly cold night. And for all we know, the two girls in hotpants may have been on their way to a Lady Gaga-themed night. Hell, I went out the other night dressed as a vanity unit, and even if I wanted one, I certainly wouldn’t find a husband dressed like that.

Dawson then goes into “mothering, nurturing” mode, which the rest of us know as slut-shaming and victim-blaming mode:

You’d hope that the parents educate their daughters as to what the consequences of dressing up like this could be… Girls, have a great time, you know, dress how you want. Just be really really careful and know the risks you may take.

Is she talking about sexual assault? Because we’ve had that discussion many times: outfits don’t cause rape, rapists cause rape. Or is it still about husbands? Because, young women, you must remember that every single moment you are in public, every single outfit you wear, must be geared towards getting a husband. Even if you’re underaged.

103 responses to “Slutty McSlut Sluts won’t find themselves husbands and then what will they do?

  1. Teenage girls need to read this. It’s outrageous that high profile media shows like ACA get away with that sort of reporting. I’ll be forwarding this to my teenage daughters, their friends, their mums and their schools. Oh and you looked fantastic as a vanity unit.

  2. A comprehensive takedown of sadly typical MSM hysterical hypocrisy. Made my morning. Thanks.

  3. Pity ACA didn’t see the real story here: obviously, the girls are dressing like sluts to trick men into sleeping with them, so they can deliberately get pregnant and shame the man into marrying them.
    REAL fifties values!

  4. Darren Ferrari

    What I found particularly funny was the way that ACA was so shocked by the things this group of women wore that they had to show it in pretty-much every ad break over the weekend. I guess they had to make sure enough blokes were able to get a perv.

  5. Oh how equally depressing/enraging that even in this day and age, young women are being lectured by the mainsteam media into believing that how they present themselves to the world all serves one purpose; to catch themselves a husband. And if they don’t then look out girlies! Boys might want to shag you but they won’t respect you and bad things might happen and you’ll have no one to blame but your-skimpily-dressed-selves. I confess that I’ve been out of an evening and observed that young women’s fashion today seem a lot more sexualised that I remember from when I was young (early 90s), but attributed that back to how the mainstream media perpetuates overly sexy beauty ideals these days. And that I’m getting old.

    • And that the fashion is different. When I was a teenager, grunge was in: jeans, flannies, cons. To make the look sexy, you ripped the jeans just below your butt cheek. A few years ago the look was boho, so young women were wearing long flowing dresses with denim waistcoats. Next year it’ll be something different and they wouldn’t be seen dead in those fabulous giant sparkly undies.

  6. So sad that the story is never about how wrong it is that our society gladly validates the actions of the men that assault women (by words or actions) by telling the woman that she had whatever abuse coming, purely because society has been (as yet) unsuccessful in robbing said woman of the self-confidence necessary to wear short-shorts (or have hairy armpits, or dress as a vanity unit)? I would also argue that showing a bit of leg or bum is not a particularly new trend, but as you said, nothing like a bit of moral panic to brighten up a slow news week…

    • Miniskirts have been a regular part of fashion for half a century, so you’d think the MSM would be used to them by now.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if they used their power for good, not evil, and started addressing those attitudes?

  7. In the 60’s and 70’s it was see through blouses,mini skirts and hot pants….people were outraged then and I am sure someone said those young ladies would never get a husband…..hmm seems I lucked out then…twice! Really girls will dress is what they think is the current style…..oldies will object and be horrified and the generation gap will be the same…..if you are the one objecting…then chances are you just became your mother 🙂

  8. I loved the way Dawson stated that magazines with photos of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian were to blame. Would they be the same magazines published by a media organisation affiliated to Channel Nine?

  9. I watched this segment last night in a daze as I waited for the Olympics to come back on, and entertained the idea that it might be a piece of alternate-timeline sci-fi wherein the women’s rights movement never happened, women had no right to an education, property or the vote and their best hope for a bearable life was to find a husband. Kind of like something Margaret Atwood might have written. It really was surreal.

    Then I worked up the energy to find the remote and turn it off.

  10. By the way I like the latest New Idea ad.It tells the opposite story by way of the influence on churchy girls and how a taste of what the rest of the world does to them.The matriarchs are torn with revulsion,as girls discover their feminine selves.

  11. Michael Boswell

    I agree and disagree ,,,, ACA is right ,,, we need more modesty in our clothing but I have two problems with the segment. Why should that message be focused on young women – we all need to dress modestly. Secondly, no one asked any of the young women why they are dressed like that? I use to drive cabs in Perth and picked up many young women barely dressed in the middle of a cold winter, I asked them why not rug up and many expressed their frustration of the either the non-existant or very expensive night club cloak room. They simple got too hot (not related to dress) dancing the night away. And they did not feel they could leave their coates on chairs around the night club.

    • I have to disagree with your first point about modesty. I think people should dress how they want to, particularly in their own time. But I agree with your other point about not having anywhere to put your jacket while dancing. And if you’re only going to be outside briefly – before you get your beer/drug cloak on – why take a jacket that you’ll only lose? The other thing we forget is that young people don’t tend to feel the cold like older people do. You always see teenagers in shorts and t-shirts in winter.

      • Michael Boswell

        Firstly, I’m not advocating we return some form of common decency laws. Moral and social pressure should be used to enforce public modesty. Yes, there is a time to faunt it but there is also a time for modesty. What was wrong with ACA’s approach is that it isolated one group, young women who attend night clubs. It then issued negative judgements without seeking to understand. ACA engaged mouth before its ears!

        Generally, we will have to agree to disagree. Whether we like it or not, humans are social creatures. We judge each other by how the other presents themself in this or that context. That includes the clothes we wear. This will happen whether we like it or not.

        However, the models of modesty current in our society are patriarchal. Modesty for some Islamic Christian sects seems to be based suspressing sexual appeal. It seem strange to me that ACA was expecting the same of these young women. They were almost promoting the rapist lie that “she gave me permission by the way she dressed”.

        Modesty can be a little more sensial than some Islamic and Christian sects would like it to be. I appreciate the well presented female form but I do not want it in my face!

        • I didn’t say we don’t judge each other. I said that being dressed modestly doesn’t ensure other people will judge you based on your intellect.

          The problem with saying that you don’t want to have to look at immodestly-dressed bodies is that you’re saying your opinion is more important than theirs. If you don’t like looking at bodies in certain situations, then don’t look.

          • Michael Boswell

            Reverting to relativism can prove almost anything. However, There are social standards that are not embedded in law. ACA played inappropriately on those standards. Young people like to push those standards. That pushing ensures that the weak ones fall and the strong stay. Many of my friends with daughters who pushed the standards of my time are now those standards greatest defenders. They say to the under 18 teenage daughters, “your not going to leave this house dressed like that”. They then turn to me and say, “stop laughing!”

          • It’s an interesting topic for me, as I’m instinctively inclined to agree with you on the idea that people should dress how they want. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder whether that’s arisen as part of the general transition from a society bonded (in good ways and bad) by shared institutions (often informal) to one that is comprised of atomised individuals, where nobody can tell another what to do/wear/say unless it is directly harming them, but at the same time (and from the same reasoning) nobody is obligated to help others or consider anything but ‘what’s in it for me’.

            I’ve found Alasdair MacIntyre’s work ‘After Virtue’, and Charles Taylor’s famous essay ‘Atomism’ fairly convincing on the idea that unless we want to sink to the lowest depths of neoliberalism, we might actually need to rebuild shared cultural institutions, even if it means we have to put up with the occasional absurdity (or, more the point, fight homophobia and sexism on their merits, rather than retreating to a neutral ‘everyone can do their own thing’ mentality). Taylor’s probably the more accessible of the two – partly because it’s much shorter and doesn’t try to do a demolition job of pretty much all moral philosophy post-Aristotle, and partly because Taylor is arguing from a fairly mainstream left-liberal perspective, whereas Macintyre is quite expressly Catholic and Marxist in his perspective, but they’re both worth a read.

      • “I think people should dress how they want to, particularly in their own time.”

        If you do not support public nudity, you still have a personal standard for dress that you want to impose on other people. It is just a matter of where you are drawing your line.

        On a related note, it bothers me that female nipples are considered indecent but male nipples are not.

  12. Hilarious about the Charlotte Dawson comment considering in her up coming “memoirs” she likens herself to a blow up doll, complete with a front cover which imitates the classic blow up doll mouth pose… Does that comment by Charlotte come under the definition of looks shaming?

  13. Who the hell are Channel 9 to be lecturing people about class? They’re promoting Big Brother for fuck sake.

  14. You pinged it good. Thanks. I’m just glad I didn’t watch the segment – I would have imploded.

  15. Thanks for reminding me why I never watch commercial television. Who is Charlotte Dawson anyway?

  16. Anonymous too

    Michael please explain why ‘we’ need more modesty.
    I mean generally.And not some sort of personal morals you are trying to force on others,but ‘why’ exactly will modesty make the world a better place.
    I would say priests dress modestly.Wouldn’t you?

    • Careful there. I think it’s important to remember that most priests aren’t involved in assaulting children and/or covering it up. But the question is a good one. Michael?

    • Michael Boswell

      The way you present yourself gives permission to treat your in that way. Modestly ensures that they judge your intellect.

      Sexually inappropriate clergy is an entirely different issue. I do not want to fall into the trap in blaming the victim. The rapist who say ‘she asked for it because of the way she dressed’ is rationalising evil. Nothing justifies his actions!

      • I see the point you’re making, but being dressed modestly does not ensure you are judged on your intellect.

        • Michael Boswell

          Regrettably, your right but would you be involved with someone who did do the sensial job of engaging your intellect? (or pretended to) I doubt it!

      • Anonymous too

        “The way you present yourself gives permission to treat your in that way. Modestly ensures that they judge your intellect.”

        You what?
        You must be naked Michael,or you would not have countered the above with this;
        “The rapist who say ‘she asked for it because of the way she dressed’ is rationalising evil.”

        Because the first statement and the second cannot both be true under your logic.
        The first reason priests were mentioned is the ‘modesty broadside’ you fired.Molested victims were anywhere between naked to fully clothed.
        The other reason I referred to priests is because whenever I smell a religious agenda,
        (Sexually inappropriate clergy_evil_modesty is good)
        Michael, duplicity rears it’s ugly head.
        And if the courts were to ever ‘license’ your logic,even the guilty priests would use it as a defence.
        Back on topic,how would modesty make the world a better place?
        I don’t think you can get more covered than down town Taliban.
        How’s it working out for girls and women in that society?

        And Michael can you seriously prove,cite any examples to support; dress code = respect for intellect?
        I doubt any horny male is likely to chat about rocket science over any other topic,purely based on the fact his audience is decked out in a ‘smart’ business suit.In the same way as naturists could be assumed to only ever talk smut.
        *** *** ***
        And at News4N, I am aware not all priests are guilty of either deed or cover up,but ignorance is no excuse either.
        Have you (has anyone) heard of any Catholic Priests who have spoken up for a Royal Commission into church paedophilia?

        • Michael Boswell

          First, why must I be naked to say the things I am saying?
          Secondly, you and Newswithnipples first mentioned priests in connection this issue. I made, what I believe to be, the connection.
          Thirdly, I suggest you read my long comment attached to my original post. I discuss the nature of some conceptions of modesty.
          Fourthly, I wonder what you would consider sufficient evidence about the connection between modesty and respect of intellect. ACA made negative generalisations about young women, I suggest you don’t make generalisation about males.
          Finally, I know Catholics, including priests, who would welcome a Royal Commission in Sexually Abusive Clergy. Usually the press ignores their comment. The press needs conflict and people agreeing are not in conflict. My own church, the Uniting Church, is one of the world leaders in preventing sexual abuse. It structures have been duplicated in other protestant denominations. I know in the Anglican Church is debating how you give absolution to a perpetrator of abuse. Over theological reason, only Perth and Sydney are resisting the resolution.

          • Well at least now that you have fessed up about your religious agenda,we can see where the moralising comes from.
            I put that agenda in the same place as ACA’s.
            At one extreme end.
            Their’s being about media relevance,yours about jockeying for your churches self created moral agenda.Neither will make the world a better place.
            Neither brings any proof to the table.
            Neither has answered the question.On that score ACA is in front simply because they are not here,you are Michael.
            You no doubt deny women free choice too,based on your churches views,and that’s OK,but just like moralising for YOUR dress codes is unacceptable and will never be implemented,forced or voluntarily,neither will a ban on women’s full suite of choices, come to fruition.We are a free secular society.
            It’s really quite amazing how consistent the Christian lobby is at denying their faith until exposed.

            • Anonymous too, I must ask that you show respect for Michael Boswell’s beliefs, just as I expect him to show respect for yours. He wasn’t hiding his faith, he was responding to your question. If he had started his comment with “I’m a Christian and this is what I think”, then you’d criticise him for that, too.

              • Michael Boswell

                Don’t worry I got broad enough shoulders …

                I would never start any comment “I am a Christian …” It a religious right and fundamentalist trick to argue that others are not Christians. It is also a way to stop theological debate.

            • Michael Boswell

              Yes, my Christianity does influence my political opinions. It has led me to oppose the objectification of women; something I have had to struggle with. However, I am not part of any so called Christian lobby and have been critical of groups like the Australian Christian Lobby. For religious reasons, I support the inclusion of same sex attractive people into Church leadership and onto the marriage registry.

              Like same sex marriage, modesty has its defenders who are both secular and religious. One secular example is The Australia Institute’s report against the sexualisation of children. However, by modesty I do not mean the desexualisation of women which is, I believe, is practice by some Islamic and Christian sects. I also oppose any legal measures enforcing modesty. However, I do support laws against public nudity. In 1996, I could not find a pub in Kalgoorlie, WA, without a barmaid exposing her breasts. Within a year, the atheistic WA Minister for Liquor and Gaming, Kay Hallaghan, anned topless barmaids.

            • Michael Boswell

              As reading, I felt like I need to reply to some other things you said. Please pray tell who ‘the Christian lobby’ is? If you think that is the “Australian Christian Lobby” or the Fred Nile’s latest group “Australian Christians” I suggest you read a little wider. I also ask you to attempt to fit my views into theirs.

              I wonder if you have read my original post. In it I said

              ‘I agree and disagree ,,,, ACA is right ,,, we need more modesty in our clothing but I have two problems with the segment. Why should that message be focused on young women – we all need to dress modestly.’

              In response to Newswithnipple’s response I wrote

              ‘What was wrong with ACA’s approach is that it isolated one group, young women who attend night clubs. It then issued negative judgements without seeking to understand.’

              If you are wondering what there was to understand, I suggest you read my original posts.

              As for your freedom: at no point have I argued that there should be legal regulation of what you wear in public (except if that is nothing). I would oppose such laws. I however have argued that civil society should positively advocate for modesty without isolating a particular group (like young women going to night clubs). Within limits, you are free to wear what you want. However, I am free to criticise your choices either by my actions or my words. And since the internet is a writing form of mass communication I am using words to advocate for modesty!

              Finally, unless some new material is inserted into these post, I will not be replying further. I feel the arguments are going in circles.

  17. Reformed glittery pants wearer

    As a young woman who has been there and done that, I’ve got to say that “image” is everything for many women, we just present different “images” at different times. What is decent/indecent and who judges decency/indecency? Who made ACA the fun police? Instead of this popcorn reporting perhaps they should exert their energy on real issues such as the homeless, the neglected elderly, teenage drug addiction or abuse, just to select a few concerns.

  18. Reformed glittery pants wearer

    Thanks newswithnipples. My fiance liked my glittery pants.

  19. Reformed glittery pants wearer

    LIES 🙂 I think the whole husband issue lurks deep in certain woman’s psyches. To marry or not to marry. To be worried about other’s not fitting into the neat square shape. Each to their own. Anyone who has ever experienced the nightclubbing scene knows the idea is not to attract a husband although that is lovely if it does happen. The idea is to have fun and to look good while doing that.

  20. I agree with the perv factor. ACA always seem to find an excuse to show women’s bodies, whether it be some super new bra, death defying gut sucker undegarments, shown on fine female forms. Just another chance to show tits and bums at 6:30. I’m a bit tired of it. I don’t care what others wear, no consequence to me.

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if they changed the script and did a story that was positive about women? Jrn, welcome to the News with Nipples.

    • My sound advice?
      Don’t watch Puberty Blues.

      You said;
      “I don’t care what others wear, no consequence to me.”
      And yet it seems you ‘just’ might.
      Not caring,is changing channels,switching off or ignoring.

      Perving -as you call it,is innate.
      (So is wanting to be ‘perved’ at.
      Going beyond is another matter.
      As is unwanted pervery.
      Everyone is a voyeur,everyone.
      If you don’t believe that,visit a shopping centre sometime.
      (Or a wedding reception when the p*ss kicks in.)
      You can then voyeur the voyeurs.
      Dads perving on other dads daughters.
      Women perving on tradies,other womens BFs/husbands etc.

      Watch the eyes,the hands,the body language etc.

  21. Just saw the Twitter crap going on with Charlotte Dawson she appears to be more affronted that you “attacked” her looks rather than the other issues. More on the looks shaming and Charlotte Dawson – apparently it is only OK if you are getting paid for it.

    • Yeah, I’ve been called a cunt and a “blight on feminism” by a few of her idiotic followers. Such charmers. Dawson didn’t address a single point I made, just repeatedly plugged her book.

      The comment I made about her face wasn’t nice. I ummed and ahhed about putting it in because it’s none of my business, but I felt it was a valid point: if you’re going to lecture young women about doing silly things to chase fame and you inject poison into your face, it’s hard to take that lecture seriously.

  22. What I got out of that story is that the young women of today seem to be embracing their curves and owning their sexuality.

    It’s not my cup of tea but my ass wouldn’t look that good in hot pants (trust me I tried). If that was Kylie on her way to a nightclub no one would complain

    • The girls did seem to be laughing at the “fuddy duddy” reporter, particularly when she put her scarf on one of them to cover her up.

      Am I a perv, welcome to the News with Nipples.

  23. Now you have lost me. That is just bitchy.

  24. And sorry but may I also suggest to Michael that it is possible to appreciate a woman both for her beauty in whatever she is wearing and for her intellect at the same time.

    You seem to be suggesting that it is still a woman’s fault that most men can’t multi task

  25. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I shared it. Like your page, love the teensy smile I can see on the bottom left, look forward to more posts.

  26. Perhaps the only thing worse than panels discussing legislation on women’s health issues being made up almost entirely of men

    is this kind of faux-concern-moral-panic perpetrated by women about other women. Especially, as you point out, /young/ women.

    Another day, another reason to despair…

  27. What a lot of angry hateful comments. I fear for young women in today’s society who blindly go waving some stupid feminist ideal without putting themselves in harms way & when some (god forbid) caring person speaks out gets appearance shamed and abused.? Fuck feminism. It died for me today sorry Razer, sorry Mia, Clemintine. This shit is not right.

    • Feminism “died” for you simply because you disagree with one feminist? Wow, that’s a pretty flimsy belief structure you’ve got there. Or could it be that, since you’ve used your work email address, you’re not a feminist at all and you’re a middle-aged man who is often in the media for making racist comments and saying that women make up rape stories?

      My point about Dawson – and I think I’ve made this VERY clear – is that she’s lecturing young women about what they wear, while wearing the same clothes herself. It isn’t appearance shaming. I didn’t say she shouldn’t wear those clothes. I said it’s hypocritical. Yes, the comment about her face was narky. Since she often says that about her face, I didn’t think it was such an issue. My point is that it is very hard to take the “don’t do silly things for fame” line from someone who, in my opinion, is doing something silly for fame.

      As for “putting themselves in harm’s way”, I can only assume you’re suggesting that young women put themselves in danger by wearing revealing clothes. While this may seem like common sense, it is not supported by ANY evidence. Stranger rape/sexual assault is rare. I was talking to a detective the other day and he said – and this IS supported by the evidence – that the most effective thing a woman can do to avoid being assaulted is to never have a boyfriend, because the vast majority of assaults are by boyfriends and ex-boyfriends. Followed by work colleagues. So, by all means, tell yourself that not wearing a short skirt will make women safe, but do it knowing that it’s bullshit. When we tell women that if they don’t wear little outfits and don’t get drunk they’ll be safe, we’re telling them a lie. And that is why I have a problem with it. Your “common sense” notion about safety is more dangerous. We should not be putting all of our assault prevention efforts into telling women lies. We should be putting those efforts into telling people not to assault others. And, Mr Work Email Address, you are a BIG part of that problem.

  28. But… What if the young ladies don’t want a husband, and are actually looking for a wife? *gasp*
    Putting all the other atrocities aside, this is yet another shameless plug for “hetero-normality”.

  29. I am so glad that I did not watch ACA – I avoid it at all costs. This discussion is really interesting. As a feminist I believe that women (or everyone) should make their own choices of what to wear. We should embrace who we are and stuff everyone who judges us for what we look like.
    I also know as a realist that the world isn’t like that. We are bombarded with images of what a ‘beautiful’ woman looks like yet I know it isn’t reality. I see gorgeous teenage girls, who are not one of the 8% perfect, trying to fit the model, walling around self consciously tugging at skirts, hobbling and wobbling in heels way too high – even models fall when walking in those shoes – and I despair that we are still telling our teenage girls to look good for others.
    And then as a mother of two young women – one just a teenager and the other a few years away, I panic as I watch the media images and my daughters fascination with those portraited. I remember wanting to fit in as well but now I worry about what my daughters wear when they go to school, meet friends or have parties.
    Because I know if anything happens – they will be blamed. The world continues to judge girls and women – not for our achievements but for what we wear and what we don’t do.
    So thanks for the interesting discussion.

    • This is why we need to keep challenging our culture. We need to keep loudly pointing it out, until the message gets through, that it is not ok to tell women what they can and cannot wear, and it’s not ok to be telling teenagers that their most important function is to look hot so other people have something good to look at.

      Being a teenager is when you start trying out different “yous” and one of these is Sexy You. How can it not be? Our culture constantly tells people that being young – or looking young – is the sexiest thing they can do. And, of course, teenagers are sexual and there’s nothing wrong with that, because it’s a good, healthy thing. They can legally have (het) sex from 16, but then some adults get into these moral panics when they think young people might actually be having sex. And dressing in a way that makes us think that they’re indicating to each other that they’d like to have sex. We know that just because we’re wearing a short skirt or pair of heels, it doesn’t mean we want to have sex. It just means we’re wearing a short skirt or a pair of heels. Yet a lot of people are blind to this reality in others.

      I don’t have kids so my opinion on raising teenagers doesn’t carry much weight. But I can say that my friends and I did these things – and more – and we turned out just fine. Most people do these things and they turn out just fine. You probably did them too. That you’re thinking about all of these things, about the influence of the mainstream media, about what you were like at their age, and about how it’s just so unfair that the world judges them on their looks, makes me think that you’re a parent I’d like to have.

      My father once told me that the younger fathers in his office all went to him for advice about raising teenagers (I was a horrible teenager), and he said that all you can do is hope that you’ve done a good enough job in the years before they become teens to trust that they’ll not do anything too stupid. That they’ll be responsible when it counts. (He also said that nature makes teenagers revolting so you don’t miss them too much when they leave, but I’m pretty sure that’s a line from Hey Dad.) If you can’t be silly and irresponsible when you’re a teenager, when can you be?

      Caroline, thank you for commenting, and welcome to the News with Nipples.

      (I reckon a lot of those girls are tugging at their skirts because disposable fashion never really fits properly. You can have all the confidence in the world, but clothing that doesn’t sit right means you’ll be adjusting it all night.)

  30. definitely agree with the ill fitting crap clothing and that it is part of the tugging!!
    I like your dad – and yes it about giving your children confidence so when they are in a tricky situation they know how to stand up for themselves! still its scary out there and I just cross my fingers we have done enough to see our girls through the crazy stuff of teenage hood (I survived!!)

    keep up the great work on marking out the righteous in the right place – that is out of decent people’s lives

  31. Something else that’s been bothering me about Buttrose and Dawson and ACA criticising these young women for what they’re wearing, is that the young women are fashionable. They are all wearing the season’s ‘look’. And who decides the look? The fashion industry. Department stores. Old people.

  32. To me, it’s hideous the way alot of teenage girls dress when partying. Mostly because of those fucken horrible shoes they wear which preclude them from walking properly and dresses so short even dancing has to be carefully choreographed so they’re not flashing their knickers. But I have a 17 year old who dresses just that way when she parties. Her reaction to the ads for ACA? She pissed herself laughing.

    • Ha! Good for her.

      The thing about the clothes that has been bothering me is all the young women in the segment are fashionably dressed. They’re all wearing The Look. And who decides what The Look will be each season? Adults.

      Sandra, welcome to the News with Nipples.

  33. I think this is the first time ever that I actually know something about something that happened on channel 9! I avoid it like the pox, but one of the downsides of having a passing interest in the olympics is catching some of their inane advertising…sigh.

    I didn’t see the show (burnt stick, anyone?) but blind freddy can see that the hundreds of comments on hundreds of blogs, irrespective of their angle does nothing but ensure this tripe will continue to be produced.

    Media analysts base ratings on numbers of people who watch, not whether those numbers liked the content or not. How many people were prompted to watch the show, having missed it originally based on blogger outrage? Bit of an own goal I’d say.

    I agree with the sentiment of every article I’ve read on this site, I love that you have the passion and the commitment to raise issues around victim blaming and the truth about abuse being perpetrated by those we know and love, and not some malevolent stranger. I think your idea for an anti-rape campaign that starts with “Hey Guys! When you go out tonight, don’t rape anyone!” is both brialliantly simple and incredibly insightful.

    But… using the lowest of the lowest common denominator to illustrate your argument (followed by a twitter spat with a b grade celeb, no less!) trivialises the message somewhat. C’mon, creating mock moral outrage about about ACA’s mock moral panic? To paraphrase the words of a writer I admire and respect “…if you’re going to lecture people about the quality of their reporting, it’s more credible if you’re producing quality reporting.”

    Sorry couldn’t resist 🙂

    • Ha! Point taken. Except the bit about mock outrage. I’m not outraged or mock outraged. I’m pointing out how stupid the whole thing was, which is a little different.

      The twitter thing was pretty tedious. But I think there’s a lot of value in just pointing this stuff out over and over again, so the message has more of a chance to be heard. And arguing with Dawson on twitter, well, I was never going to change her mind. Never going to make her realise she was being a hypocrite. But maybe some of her followers came and read the post and thought, hmm, she’s got a point.

      • You are right, of course. You have certainly made me think hmm, she’s got a point many times! Jokes aside, I really appreciate your writing and your insights. As a non-academic, I’m not sure I really even understand what “feminism” is – it seems to be many things to many people. Your particular brand of common sense with a dash of cynicism feels “right” to me without being “righteous” and for the first time, as just an average male in society I think I’m starting to understand why what you have to say is so important and I even feel included… so thanks!

        • There are many different ‘streams’ within feminism, just like there are different ‘streams’ within, say, economics. I am a (small-l) liberal feminist. Basically, I believe that men and women deserve the same rights and opportunities. It’s as simple as that.

  34. GorgeousDahling

    Surely (apart from Dawsons obvious hypocrisy) the key issue here is objectification? Media objectifying young women who have grown up with constant media feed images of objectified young women? The snake with its tail in its mouth.
    Yes there’s the issue of sexual identity and expression – but how one chooses to explore that is largely based on cultural experience no? Judging is one thing, critically questioning is another entirely. Sadly, if one wants critical analysis, one definitely does not turn to ACA. At least it gives the rest of us the excuse to do it for them. Thanks NWN!

  35. GorgeousDahling

    Aww thanks NWN… grammatical error n all! For the record, would like to fix spelling mistake….media FED – not FEED! gosh darn it – I detest sloppy writing, especially from myself!

  36. GorgeousDahling

    PS. You may or may not know (because you have the good sense to generally avoid there’s a predictable defense line set up for Dawson quoting your blog commentary as inciting “some people to aggressively target Charlotte on Twitter” (
    Now I couldn’t leave a comment on Mamamia- and probably just as well cause I’m kinda cross – so I’ll just do it here cause I’m on a roll…where is the EVIDENCE that your post incited these remarks on Twitter? Were the Twitterers (? I dunno – I don’t use Twitter) merely umm SPEAKING THEIR OWN MINDS? Sorry but I think if you’re gonna put yourself out there in social media – expect some flack – especially if you’re going to prance around telling other women what to wear. I couldn’t find one commentator here with the name of anyone on the Twitter screen shot in Mamamia’s post…
    And of course, Mamamia missed the point (which I maintain is about media and objectification)….
    PPS. Happy Birthday! ; )
    PPPS. FAB idea for a party!!
    Here’s to flesh eating…

    • Yeah, I got a little bit of traffic from them (and I mean only a little) and checked it out. They’ve attributed a picture to me that has never appeared on my site, and yes, completely missed the point. What was that bit about how slut-shaming isn’t about sex? Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

      And you’re right – none of those people on twitter comment here. And they’ve oddly attributed a photo to me that I’ve never seen before. AND THOSE TWEETS WERE TWEETED THE DAY BEFORE I PUBLISHED MY POST, SO I HARDLY INCITED THEM. EEEEEDIOTS.

      • There wasn’t an email address so I tweeted at the writer, Lucy Ormonde, pointing out that those tweets were published a day before I wrote the post. She apologised for implying that I incited those tweets, and fixed her post. My work here is done.

  37. GorgeousDahling

    Yay! Justice is served.

  38. I swear the older generation are [word deleted], it’s fairly obvious they haven’t left the 50’s but they’re talking as if we should act like we’re back in the 20’s and having lessons on how to be a ‘lady’ and the correct way to find a husband. If I want to show off my legs then I’ll show off my legs, I don’t go to a party looking for a fucking husband. Most of these girls wear those clothes because it makes them feel good and it may attract a good lay. Who cares? A current affair does! LOOK OUT MUM AND DAD IM A FILTHY COCAIN SNORTING WHORE BAG WITH MY SHORT SKIRT! Don’t try and act like you weren’t screwing some guy in private in the back of your car when you were 16. AND I DON’T WANT A HUSBAND, I DON’T WANT TO HAVE KIDS, I CAN’T COOK AND IF SOMEONE TELLS ME TO CLEAN UP THEIR MESS I’LL RIP THEIR FUCKING NIPPLES OFF (UNLESS I’M AT WORK CAUSE THEN THAT’S KIND OF MANDATORY)
    OK I may have gone a little crazy there I’m just mad 😛

    • ‘LOOK OUT MUM AND DAD I’M A FILTHY COCAINE SNORTING WHORE BAG WITH MY SHORT SKIRT’ would be great on a t-shirt. Or maybe as a sign SlutWalk.

      Claire, welcome to the News with Nipples. (I’ve deleted a word from your comment because I don’t think it’s a term we should use to disparage others. I was pulled up for using the word lame and since then I’ve tried to avoid using ableist language. I don’t always succeed, mind you, but I try.)

  39. You’ve nailed it. Thanks so much for putting this article up.

  40. did you see the latest one? now they’re criticising women for drinking more than four drinks because they “think they’re men” and “think it will impress men”
    maybe they’re drinking to forget the stupidity of a current affair. i know i am.

    • I know when I drink, it’s certainly because I think I’m a man.

      I didn’t watch it, but I had several people warn me about it. There’s only so much stupid I can watch for a blog post.

      Jess, welcome to the News with Nipples.

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