Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Topic of the Day: “Woman Speaks Out After She Was Bullied for Wearing Minidress to Wedding”

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Hey, sorry no new letter today. With Jackson out of school for the summer, my work schedule and priorities have had to shift a bit, so expect to see more days over the next couple of months like today. I did want to turn your attention to this hot topic on the forums (I added this after I posted the weekly forum round-up yesterday so you may have missed it). Lots of interesting themes: policing of women’s bodies and attire; social contracts and conventions and culture; women’s cattiness toward each other; narcissism and using someone’s wedding and then the Internet to draw attention to one’s self (so novel, right?), etc. Also: the dress. Some think it’s cute and some think ugly AF. I think we can all agree though that that body is inspired.

47 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Portlandia July 7, 2016, 12:20 pm

    She can obviously wear anything that she wants. It’s a beautiful dress and she has an amazing body I am sure she works very hard for. Shame on the women who dared to put hands on her. That is never ok.

    That being said, she was going to a wedding. A wedding. Who in their right mind would think that this is an ok thing to wear to a wedding. She has other dresses that would have been more appropriate, her original post has pictures of other dresses she owns.
    She shouldn’t have been harassed, but she isn’t faultless.

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    • Amanda

      Amanda July 7, 2016, 12:51 pm

      “She shouldn’t have been harassed, but she isn’t faultless.”

      This is veering way, way, WAY to close to the “she was asking for it” logic.

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      • avatar

        Portlandia July 8, 2016, 2:30 pm

        So we are allowed to dress however we want in any situation? I’m sorry but no, If I wore that dress to my work (law firm) I would be asked to go home for the day because it wouldn’t be appropriate for that setting.
        She’s an adult, she made this choice. That being said one should have ever laid hands on her.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 7, 2016, 1:01 pm

      I fail to see how wearing a short, tight dress is any more inappropriate than wearing jeans and baseball caps to a wedding. Were they ridiculed too?

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark July 7, 2016, 3:09 pm

        1) Hoax. Total hoax. Just wait….
        .
        2) Hideous design. Ghastly print. Did the machine break down and randomly vomit wretched dye colors everywhere. Classless. Tasteless.
        .
        Tacky to wear this. If I showed up at a semi-stranger’s wedding in skin tight bike shorts and a two sizes too small matching lycra v-neck… People would justifiably be appalled! And right in their presumptuous assumptions that I was (rather desperately!) trolling for drunken BI dick…

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom July 7, 2016, 5:14 pm

        Exactly!

        Also, I like that you point out that men can’t wear whatever they want. Men have standards too.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph July 8, 2016, 7:21 am

        Arguably where formal wear is concerned, Men have higher standards than women.
        I can get away with a fancier or less fancy dress. I can wear slacks and a nice top. I can go sleeveless or strapless if it’s hot, wear a sweater if it’s cold, wear high heels or low heels or even some cute flats. When my shoes get uncomfortable, I can kick them off. But my husband is pretty much stuck in a jacket and tie and dress shoes.
        Sometimes I envy the simplicity, sometimes I’m glad to have options.

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      • avatar

        snoopy128 July 8, 2016, 8:58 am

        But men don’t get harassed by other men or women, men don’t get their asses slapped or drinks spilled on them when they don’t conform to the standards.

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      • avatar

        snoopy128 July 8, 2016, 2:40 pm

        ***to the same amount*. This also may not hold true for some more marginalized groups of men.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant July 7, 2016, 12:29 pm

    I’ve posted pretty heavily in the forum, but to summarize:

    I understand why people think this inapproporiate. It is showing a lot of skin, and that signals sexiness.
    However, I think that our “social contract” or social rules about women’s skin and body ultimately is being driven by the fact we as a society sexualize women’s bodies. That just by existing and showing our bodies we are inherently sexual.

    By claiming their are times and places were women’s bodies are appropriate and inappropriate, we are policing women and making their bodies public property to control.

    I think this is sexist and damaging to all women. While this woman is an extreme case, I think most of us can recall a time where we were shamed or mocked, or otherwise subject to similar forces.

    I think the whole attitude and social norms is bunk, and I advocate for flouting it, and challenging it because I think it harms all of us.

    I also for many it’s an issue of respect, and respecting the bride and groom and their day, but to me, challenging the social structure enforcing these rules is bigger than that.
    I also don’t see how, so long as she’s behaving herself, how people seeing her legs or shoulders really distracts from anything, unless you’re looking for a reason to get distracted.

    These of course are my opinions, but I surprised myself at how passionate I am at supporting and defending all women’s clothing choices. It’s super important to me, I guess. Even though I don’t dress this way myself.

    As for the dress, it’s fine. The pattern is kind of weird.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark July 7, 2016, 3:18 pm

      Where your argument loses me is simply in the fact that at social events men show FAR, FAR LESS skin. Now is men everywhere were parading around half naked in spandex at weddings and nobody batted an eye, I’d buy your sexism argument. But as this is simply NOT the case — your thesis seems a hollow construct.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 7, 2016, 3:29 pm

        My reply back to you is that men wear far less skin because men’s bodies aren’t objectified the way women’s are – at least in the hetero world (which admittedly I am framing most of my perspective in. Regardless, it is the dominant culture in our society). So, women have this dual standard of – your body is sexy and you should show it off so we can enjoy it, but not in all these particular instances when it suddenly becomes obscene so hide it away you harlot. There’s no direct comparison for men, because men’s bodies aren’t treated as sex objects. And that’s the rub.

        If a man were to show up in spandex at a wedding, I would say that’s inappropriate not because he’s being too sexy, but because he’s wearing athletic gear, and this is a formal (or formalish) event.

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      • avatar

        Ron July 7, 2016, 4:00 pm

        Men’s bodies are almost equally objectified by women. That is the other half of what drives the dating world. Hot guys and hot women are typically found dating each other. Exceptions in both directions, but that’s the general trend.

        If anybody is objectifying this woman’s body, she is doing it to herself. As a fitness instructor, it likely is part of her sales approach.

        Clothes are generally divided into uniforms, costumes, and scruffs. There is a general ‘uniform’ deemed generally acceptable for most business and social events. I admit the parameters are a lot narrower for men, giving women more of a chance to choose wrongly and not match the nuance of the situation. Clearly, however, this woman has chosen to wear a costume, so it is fair for the rest of us to assume that she chose the costume for a reason. She is deliberately showing off her body in a departure-from-wedding-social-norms manner.

        BGM is correct that she is doing this for business/PR reasons. She wanted all the attention she has gotten. She is not a poor victim who misjudged the social situation and innocently chose the wrong uniform for the occasion. She intended to shock.

        The reaction from the group of drunken women was wrong and uncalled for, but this blogger was hoping for a negative reaction, which would allow her to write an opinion piece, play victim/hero, and generally draw attention to herself and her business.

        While women’s studies departments push the objectification of women’s bodies meme today, the truth is that women are probably less objectified today than at any time since at least WW II, having far more choices in life, being able to get by in life far more on brains and education than on physical appearance, and more than ever, having the ability to choose their mates based upon looks and emotional compatibility.

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse July 8, 2016, 2:33 pm

        Are you serious, Ron? Men’s bodies are equally as objectified as women’s?
        Please stop mansplaining to women how women are/are not objectified by society at large because you know some women who talk about men’s bodies in front of you.

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      • avatar

        Ron July 7, 2016, 4:01 pm

        P.S. If a lot of the guests have switched from their formal uniforms for the ceremony into tees and jeans for the reception, then the reception isn’t at all formal.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros July 7, 2016, 7:10 pm

        But it all goes back to the idea that society tells women that they should look sexy (which is perceived as showing more skin), so clothes are made short and tight, celebrities (who are considered attractive and as ideals) wear those things, women are also made fun of for wearing stuff that is “prudish” or whatever. So, women wear stuff that shows less skin because that is reinforced as attractive. Men aren’t expected to look sexy. Sexy for a man is considered way different (for example, wearing suits or whatever type of guy someone likes) anyway. Telling women over and over that they need to show skin if they want to get a guy or that they need to look like celebrities, but then when they do, telling them they look whorish is really annoying.

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      • avatar

        Ron July 7, 2016, 9:30 pm

        I think telling women that they need to show a lot of skin to get a guy is more the sort of advice coming from their girl pals than from men. Ditto for perfume and lots of makeup. Men certainly won’t look away from an attractive woman showing skin, but in many ways today’s clothing is designed to enhance rather than hide appeal. It covers a lot of flaws in all of us and presents cleaner lines, at least for just about anybody over the age of 25-30. Well dressed, even quite conservatively well dressed, and well groomed reasonably fit and attractive persons of either sex are attractive, especially when their personality enhances their appearance.

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      • avatar

        Ron July 7, 2016, 9:34 pm

        P.S. Celebrities dress and act outlandishly to attract lots of attention. That’s what the woman in this article is doing. It is all PR to enhance their celebrity. They literally are endeavoring to be famous for being famous, so there is almost no media coverage which is unwanted media coverage and being a personal high-drama soap opera is the goal. But, this isn’t real and you emulate it at your own peril.

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  • avatar

    Cheesecaker2911 July 7, 2016, 1:31 pm

    I think she wanted to call attention to herself. I also think the women who bullied her were out of line.

    While I think she’s gorgeous and has a great body, I also think the dress is hideous, and doesn’t really flatter her. That’s beyond the point though.

    I’ve seen people wear way more inappropriate things to weddings (Gypsy Wedding TV show guests, for example) and she didn’t deserve to be attacked. I wouldn’t have said anything, and really, this dress probably wouldn’t have even turned my head at a wedding. Cute shoes though.

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  • avatar

    saneinca July 7, 2016, 2:37 pm

    Does she really have a great body ? It looks too muscled to me but everyone has their own standard of beauty. She should not have worn that dress to a wedding ( to a party or a date night it is fine) She wanted attention but she got the wrong type of attention. If someone attacked her for real, then they are out of line too.

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    • avatar

      Ron July 7, 2016, 4:03 pm

      I would have said more skinny than muscled. In any case, not my type, in more ways than that one.

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      • avatar

        Ron July 7, 2016, 4:05 pm

        P.S. again,
        A wedding reception is pretty much a party, with more alcohol than your average party. If a lot of guests were in tees and jeans, it wasn’t at all a formal event.

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      • avatar

        saneinca July 7, 2016, 5:01 pm

        I agree but the ceremony could be religious in which case it is not just a regular party.

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      • avatar

        saneinca July 7, 2016, 5:11 pm

        Ron, look at the hand she popped on her waist. That hand shows a lot of muscle. Also her legs sport a bunch muscles. I am not a fan of lots of muscles on women or men. Bodybuilders are not attractive to me 🙂

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom July 7, 2016, 5:19 pm

        They’ve never appealed to me either.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant July 7, 2016, 6:20 pm

      @Ron and et al. Are you seriously trying to tell me our culture is all good on women’s bodies when this thread has digressed into whether or not this woman actually has a good body?

      H’okay, noted.

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      • avatar

        saneinca July 7, 2016, 6:55 pm

        To be fair I also mentioned men’s bodies.

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      • avatar

        saneinca July 7, 2016, 7:02 pm

        And I am only commenting on someone saying she had a great body. And there were some comments on body envy. Which to me are moot.

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      • avatar

        Ron July 7, 2016, 9:20 pm

        Huh? There was commenting, I responded. Is our culture ‘all good’ on womens’ bodies. No, it isn’t. It’s also not great on men’s bodies. There is a lot of fat shaming on all sides. You don’t think women (and men) comment on men’s bodies? What rock have you been living under?

        What I said was that we are living in an historic golden era for women’s rights, opportunity, and equality. We aren’t all the way to where we want to be, but the progress is undeniable, making it a bit silly to obsess over the objectification of women’s bodies — especially when this article (which I agree with BGM that the author really fished to create) is about other women’s reaction to one woman’s choice of attire. There are no men at all involved in this tale.

        I know a lot of women who are quite comfortable talking about men’s bodies in the presence of men, so appreciating an attractive person is not limited to one sex. Neither is fat shaming. The exercise/distance running culture is in, especially with the young and you only have to go to a letter from about a week ago to find a lot of the women on this forum commenting negatively about the LW’s body and exercise/diet habits. Most of those comments came from women, btw.

        So, no things aren’t perfect today, but if you think men see you as an object rather than as a complete person, then I have to say either you are associating with the wrong men or the problem is largely between your own ears.

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      • avatar

        Savannah July 8, 2016, 8:28 am

        well you know us women. You clearly know what its like being in a woman’s body, growing up with male gaze and all. We are just so silly all the time, worrying about insignificant things like objectification, sexual harassment and all that. I’m so happy we made it even this far! You are right, we should just stop our belly aching now and be glad that we feel safe like some of the time. Tell us more about our own lived experiences, I’m sure you have tons of first hand knowledge.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark July 8, 2016, 9:39 am

        Get off the fucking cross honey. Sonebody else needs the fucking wood…

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark July 8, 2016, 9:49 am

        Sorry. But this whole entire thread is all about some woman dressing HERSELF badly and inappropriately. Then other women ALLEGEDLY (still so NOT fucking buying it by the way!) acting like deranged vapid mean women about it… And yet — somehow — the real villians of the piece are us wretched men and their horrible male gaze.. WhatTHEFUCKever…

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse July 8, 2016, 2:36 pm

        Yes, please enlighten us with your perception of how women’s and girl’s bodies are treated in this day and age, @Ron.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark July 9, 2016, 12:13 am

        gee, ever wonder why so few men bother to comment here? god, it’s all just a huge mystery… really. i can’t imagine why?

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse July 9, 2016, 10:38 am

        Mark, I would never tell you what your experience as a young man or a gay man was.
        Ron is basically mansplaining women’s bodies and issues to a bunch of mostly women. I’m sure he means well, but you can’t tell women how they’ve been objectified or treated or taught about their bodies and not expect some ruffling of feathers.

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      • avatar

        Kate July 8, 2016, 5:01 pm

        I know, I was just lmao at a bunch of normal schmoes critiquing an athlete’s body. Please.

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      • avatar

        saneinca July 9, 2016, 12:57 pm

        Kate, I may be a normal schmoe and a woman but I really don’t like her body. And like me there are lots people who think overly muscled/ steroid fueled figures are not attractive.

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  • Monkeysmommy

    Monkeysmommy July 7, 2016, 4:32 pm

    The dress is inappropriate for a number of places . Honestly, I can’t see anyone other than a 21 year old club hoper or a prostitute wearing this, but that is just my opinion.
    This is likely going to catch me heat, but… I do think very short and very tight has an unspoken age limit. I am 34, and I wouldn’t go there.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy July 7, 2016, 6:31 pm

      Apparently, this woman is 31, though I think she looks about ten years older than that.

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      • Monkeysmommy

        Monkeysmommy July 7, 2016, 7:29 pm

        Oh… uh… I did not realize that, I also was thinking about a decade older…

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      • avatar

        MissDre July 8, 2016, 9:43 am

        Yikes, yeah she does look way older. Probably has to do with all the tanning she does.

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      • avatar

        Cheesecaker2911 July 8, 2016, 1:54 pm

        She’s only 31? !?1?!?

        What?!?!?! Yeah. she looks WAAAAY older.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy July 8, 2016, 2:01 pm

        I thought she was mid-40s.

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  • avatar

    Laurel July 7, 2016, 5:37 pm

    Tend to agree with @ktfran and @ele4phant, except I do think there’s sort of a grey area with weddings…like, you are very specifically being invited into the couples’ cultural/religious world for a wedding. A wedding is, by default, about the couples’ personal values, whether or not you agree with them. So the way I look at it, you either decide to wear what’s appropriate for that specific event for that specific couple, or decide not to go if you’re not comfortable.

    So if they’re having a super formal wedding…you wear something super formal, even though you might not choose to have a formal wedding yourself. If they’re having a religious ceremony, and that calls for a specific kind of dress…you wear that. I get the point about calling out structural/society wide double standards and injustices — I guess I’m just not sold on doing that AT someone’s wedding.

    In this situation, she only wore the dress to the reception (which sounded really casual…) so I don’t really get what the big deal is.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 8, 2016, 8:08 am

      This! I try to dress appropriately for an event because I prefer to blend in. Often, I error on the side of dressing up too much.

      There is no indication of what kind of clothing was expected at this wedding, as evidenced by the varying types of clothes worn by different people. I highly doubt this woman wore that dress to a wedding to make a statement some kind of statement. I know people who wear “sexy” clothing on the regular. These women are late 30s, maybe early 40s, with children and husbands. It’s their norm to dress like that. And they look good. They’re confident. I’d venture a guess that this is her norm too and she didn’t think about it. It’s not my norm. But it really is others.

      The “wedding statement” if you will came after because people showed horrid behavior to her.

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  • avatar

    Miss Anne Thrope July 10, 2016, 5:55 pm

    So to be a little bit of a devil’s advocate here, I ready all the comments here before reading the woman’s post. Here’s my question:

    Why did she assume they were being antagonistic because of her dress? Unless I missed something, I didn’t see anything where any of the women actually told her the dress was inappropriate. Was it inappropriate for a woman to slap her ass? Yes. But I’d it outside the realm of possibility that this group of women were drunk and playing a game of truth or dare? She could have been the target less because of her dress, but more because no one knew her and she was standing alone. She didn’t write about any any specific comments she overheard, so I think it’s plausible that she was self conscious about her dress already, and therefore assumed she was being talked about. Personally, I’m also a little skeptical of her pro-women claim (as opposed internet fame like the Chewbacca-mask woman) based on the fact the hashtag she wants her movement to go by starts with her name and not an easier, #killthemwithkidness or something of that nature.

    Regardless, it was enjoyable to read ask the different takes on social norms and wedding attire.

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    • avatar

      Ron July 11, 2016, 9:30 am

      YOu are perceptive. LW is a fame-seeking fraud, although the truth does seep through her letter. The drunken women did not throw their drinks on her or pour them on her, LW says a little spilled on her arm and the other woman did not apologize. Other woman probably did not even know she spilled a little on her. If these women were really angry about her dress, then for certain a significant quantity of drink would have been aimed directly at the dress.

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