Why Shaming Women Over What They Wear is Never Okay

The Internet is at it again: shaming women who wear revealing – or, in the case of its latest victim, Ciara, cleavage-baring – garbs.

The singer-dancer sang the national anthem before Monday night's college football championship game, and her outfit, not her performance, got a lot of people talking – in a bad way.

The shaming began with veteran sports journalist Bonnie Bernstein, who tweeted that the star should “cover up” because “kids are watching.” Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock also chimed in, calling Ciara's dress, a long silver gown hiding her legs with a cape that even hid the star's arms, “inappropriate.” Soon Twitter was abuzz, attacking yet another woman of color for showing – even if barely – some skin.

Dragging women through the mud for donning revealing clothes isn’t exclusive to celebrities. Here are just five ways we – yes, even Latinas – shame mujeres for their "provacative" choice of garments.

MORE: What Rape Culture Looks Like in the Latino Community

1. Slut-Shaming

Slut-shaming is when someone criticizes a woman for her real or presumed sexual activity. Chicas who dress in form-fitting dresses, low-cut tops and short skirts are discerned as hypersexual and are shamed for having a sexual life – whether they do or not. Not only is someone's clothes an ineffective way to determine their sexuality, slut-shaming anyone, regardless of how many partners they’ve had, is just wrong.

2. Harassment

First: Women experience street harassment regardless of what they’re wearing – that’s a fact. And when muchachas don revealing ‘fits, the harassment is often accompanied by slut-shaming, with strangers even approaching women to throw them change or yell, “how much do you cost?”

3. Victim-Blaming

Shaming women who wear revealing clothes also manifests in victim-blaming language like, “she wants to get raped” “she’s provoking men dressed like” and “she asked for it.”  

4. Incompetence

Women who dress “provocatively” are also considered “dumb bimbos,” regardless of their talent and educational background. And this stereotype even seeps into the workplace, with “attractive women” experiencing a “beauty bias,” or appearance-based discrimination, that makes it difficult for them to get jobs. Even more, those women who do get the positions are often condemned for using their bodies to get to the top, as if a preference for low-cut dresses means you’re unable to read, write or rank at the top of your graduating class. 

5. Unfit Mom/Role Model

Madres sporting crop-tops and curve-hugging jeans as they hold their child’s hand while crossing the street are often considered “unfit” parents, or, as Whitlock called Ciara for wearing her gown in front of children, “inappropriate.” This doesn’t just happen to moms, either. Any mujer who prefers the sexy look over the modest one is seen as unequipped to be a role model, regardless if that’s a role they want to play or not.